Monday, March 28, 2011

Bike Ride: Las Cruces Flood Control Dam

The beginning of the ride, with Beez in the distance

Even though I understand the need for flood control in a place that can get a lot of its annual rainfall in two or three good storms, I am still fascinated by the fact that a great big earthen dam stretches across the desert city of Las Cruces. 

I checked out some of its statistics, found in this report

  • The dam can hold back 12,500 acre feet of water (one acre-foot being the amount required to cover one acre to a depth of one foot)
  • It's three miles long and up to 67 feet high
  • The crest of the dam is 20 feet wide and used by walkers, joggers, and bike riders

It's an interesting ride. Looking up toward the mountains, you see desert scenes. 

In the other direction, it's all urban with distant views of more mountains. That's Picacho Peak on the left. Our house in nestled in the rural area of the fertile river valley at its foot. 


becky said...

Now that looks like my kind of ride- fairly flat! I am no good w/ the hills, at least on a bike!
Have you ever seen water @ the Dam?

clairz said...

No, Becky, I haven't seen any water at the dam yet, but there was a time in the past when I was unable to get from one side of the city to the other after what seemed to be a pretty normal rainfall. A few arroyos still cut right across streets and they become impassable (to the wise). That fast-flowing and shallow-seeming water can be very powerful and can pick up whole cars and carry them away.

It looks like they are constructing the arroyos now so they flow under or past any roads. There is a huge one up near where house-building has almost reached the foot of the mountains--it must be half a mile across. It has been known to fill up with water while safely diverting it down to the river, and that's a sight I'd like to see. My goodness, we could use some rain!

Linda said...

Hard to imagine such an effect of rain when all is so dry. Hope you get some (gentle) rain soon.

JC said...

As always, I love seeing your photos.

(I'm back from my mini vacation but having photo editing problems so no blog so far.)

Sandy ~~~ said...

Interesting...I love to ride my new "comfort" bike because it is so much cushier than my mountain bike. I hope I can ride my comfort bike on the dirt roads around Corona and in the forest. I guess I will have to look out for stickery things huh?

clairz said...

Sandy, we did get into some stickers when we came off the dam. We scraped them off the bike tires with the soles of our shoes, because we sure didn't want to bring them back home for the dogs to step on. The ones they call "goat heads" are horrible!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Hi Clair -- You live in a beautiful place! The first time we traveled to NM, I didn't want to leave. We stayed much longer than we'd originally planned (in our RV). I recognize some of the landmarks. (Scrolled around a little bit -- and I'll be back!)

Anyway you have a wonderful place to retire. Thanks for sharing. Glad I found you.