Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Leslie Creek NWR Sets a Flooding All –Time Record
Southwest Region, July 10, 2013
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Leslie Creek, just downstream from USGS Gauging Station, July 10
Leslie Creek, just downstream from USGS Gauging Station, July 10 - Photo Credit: USFWS-C.D. Lohrengel

Leslie Creek National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) has been suffering from the drought that has been affecting southeastern Arizona and the majority of the southwest for the last several years, with the peak of that suffering occurring in November of 2012, when the creek went dry. In December, ground water levels began to rise and the creek began flowing.  Outside of a flood event in 2010, this was the first time waterthat this had happened since the fall of 2009. This flow continued until February, when the creek once again stopped flowing. At the onset of the summer monsoons Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge received little rain, with the ranches upstream fairing no better.

However, three weeks into the monsoon season that all changed. Within a week, Leslie Creek on the refuge flooded three times and then a fourth time in early August. One of those floods set an all-time record for depth at 9.27 feet, measured at the USGS gauging station located on the refuge, the previous record was 8.54 feet set in 1984. The excess of water in the creek this year has allowed the refuge to reintroduce Chiricahua leopard frogs and Yaqui topminnow back onto the refuge. The watershed as a whole has benefitted from this year’s monsoons with ranches upstream able to fill their cattle tanks, some of which had been dry for three years.

Contact Info: Christopher Lohrengel, 520-364-2104 x.106, chris_lohrengel@fws.gov
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