The Pecos River (/ˈpkəs/ PAY-kəs[4]) (Spanish: Río Pecos) originates in north-central New Mexico and flows into Texas, emptying into the Rio Grande. Its headwaters are on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in Mora County north of Pecos, New Mexico, at an elevation of over 12,000 feet (3,700 m).[5] The river flows for 926 miles (1,490 km) before reaching the Rio Grande near Del Rio. Its drainage basin encompasses about 44,300 square miles (115,000 km2).[2]

Pecos River
Río Pecos
Río Natagés
Map of the Pecos River watershed.
CountryUnited States
StateTexas, New Mexico
Physical characteristics
SourcePecos Falls
 • location29 mi (47 km) north of Pecos, New Mexico
 • coordinates35°58′34″N 105°33′29″W / 35.97611°N 105.55806°W / 35.97611; -105.55806[1]
 • elevation11,759 ft (3,584 m)
MouthRio Grande
 • location
Seminole Canyon, Val Verde County, 37 mi (60 km) northwest of Del Rio, Texas
 • coordinates
29°41′59″N 101°22′17″W / 29.69972°N 101.37139°W / 29.69972; -101.37139[1]
 • elevation
1,115 ft (340 m)
Length926 mi (1,490 km)[2]
Basin size44,402 sq mi (115,000 km2)[2]
 • locationIBWC station 08-4474.10 near Langtry, Texas[3]
 • average265 cu ft/s (7.5 m3/s)[3]
 • minimum42 cu ft/s (1.2 m3/s)
 • maximum152,910 cu ft/s (4,330 m3/s)
TypeWild, Recreational
DesignatedJune 6, 1990

The name "Pecos" derives from the Keresan (Native American language) term for the Pecos Pueblo, [p'æyok'ona].[6] The river was also historically referred to as the Río Natagés for the Mescalero people.[7]

History edit

The river was the eastern territory of the Faraon (‘Pharaoh’) Apache Indians, a tribe of Apache, probably closely related to the Mescalero Apache, if not part of them. Their divisions were Ancavistis, Jacomis, Orejones, Carlanes, and Cuampes, but of these the Carlanes at least belonged to the Jicarillas. The river later played a large role in the exploration of Texas by the Spanish. In the latter half of the 19th century, "West of the Pecos" was a reference to the rugged desolation of the Wild West. New Mexico and Texas disputed water rights to the river until the U.S. government settled the dispute in 1949 with the Pecos River Compact.[8] The Pecos River Settlement Agreement was signed between New Mexico and Texas in 2003.[9]

Dams edit

Multiple dams have been built along the Pecos River. Santa Rosa Lake is 117 miles/188 km east of Albuquerque.[10] Sumner Lake, formed by the 1939 Sumner Dam, is located between Santa Rosa and Fort Sumner, NM.[11] Two dams are located north of Carlsbad, New Mexico, at Avalon Dam and Brantley Dam, to help irrigate about 25,000 acres (10,000 ha) as part of the Carlsbad reclamation project (established in 1906). Texas has also dammed the river at the Red Bluff Dam in the western part of that state to form the Red Bluff Reservoir. The portion of the reservoir that extends into New Mexico forms the lowest point in that state.

Wild and Scenic river edit

On June 6, 1990, 20.5 miles (33 km) of the Pecos River—from its headwaters to the townsite of Tererro—received National Wild and Scenic River designation. It includes 13.5 miles (22 km) designated "wild" and 7 miles (11 km) designated "recreational".[12]

Pecos River Flume edit

Pecos River Flume

The Pecos River Flume is an aqueduct carrying irrigation water over the Pecos River. Construction took place from 1889 to 1890 and was part of the Pecos River Reclamation Project. It was originally constructed of wood and spanned 145 feet (44 m). It carried water at a depth of 8 feet (2.4 m). In 1902, a flood destroyed the flume and it was subsequently rebuilt using concrete. In 1902, it was identified as the largest concrete aqueduct in the world.[13][14]

The flume and its surrounding area have been reclaimed by the city of Carlsbad and transformed into a tourist attraction, with park improvements along the river and spotlights to give a spectacular nightly view.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Pecos River
  2. ^ a b c Largest Rivers of the United States, USGS
  3. ^ a b "Water Bulletin Number 75: Flow of the Rio Grande and Related Data; From Elephant Butte Dam, New Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico". International Boundary and Water Commission. 2005. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  4. ^ "How to Pronounce: P Cities". 23 September 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Office of the State Engineer :: Interstate Stream Commission :: Basins and Programs :: Pecos River Basin". Archived from the original on 2005-11-14.
  6. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 375. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  7. ^ [bare URL image file]
  8. ^ "Pecos River Compact".
  9. ^ Pecos River Settlement Agreement
  10. ^ "EMNRD".
  11. ^ "EMNRD".
  12. ^ Pecos Wild and Scenic River, New Mexico Archived 2010-06-10 at the Wayback Machine - National Wild and Scenic Rivers System
  13. ^ Phil T. Archuletta; Sharyl S. Holden (June 2003). Traveling New Mexico: a guide to the historical and state park markers. Sunstone Press. pp. 116–. ISBN 978-0-86534-400-6. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  14. ^ American Concrete Institute (2002). Concrete international. Design & construction. The Institute. Retrieved 3 December 2011.

External links edit