ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The wall of water expected to push through the Albuquerque metro area last overnight turned out to be much slower and was a lot tamer than expected.
And for that some are crediting an endangered species: the Rio Grande silvery minnow.
The federal Bureau of Reclamation was really concerned Friday afternoon as it saw an intense flow of water coming off the San Felipe arroyo, one of the bigger tributaries of the Rio Grande not far upstream from Albuquerque.
But by the time the water hit the metro area late Friday and early Saturday its intensity was just about cut in half. With a flow up to 9,000 cubic feet per second forecast, only around 5,000 cfs was measure at Isleta dam below Albuquerque.
Over the last few years work to save the silvery minnow has built new side channels and habitats north of Albuquerque specifically for the minnow
The water still rose significantly in the Rio Grande, but the BOR believes the new habitat projects helped slow a lot of the extra flow.
"The habitat restoration projects definitely weren't built for flood control, but they do lower the bank line to reconnect it with the river," Mary Carlson of the BOR told KRQE news. "The river was bank-to-bank at points, but nothing ever got anywhere near the levees.
"So the river was safe and it performed well."
The high water kept flowing through Bosque Farms, Los Lunas and Belen Saturday headed eventually to Elephant Butte Lake.
Albuquerque police and fire closed the bosque due to the flood threat but reopened it Saturday morning.
The BOR is monitoring the Rio Grande this weekend as there's still a chance for more flow surges from storms.
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