Dog park muddy as ditch flows late in season

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- The forecast calls for triple-digit temperatures most of this week, but the cold, wet weather of earlier this year is still having an effect in parts of town. At the multi-use pasture and dog park at Rancho San Rafael Park, the grass is muddy and the walking path has been rutted up.

"We have, you know, normal amounts of water, which means we have enough water to flood irrigate the pasture," said Colleen Wallace Barnum, Washoe County Parks Superintendent.

Water flows from the Highland Ditch (which flows from the Truckee River) to the pasture and floods it. In recent years, the flow of water has been shut off earlier for conservation. This year, it is still on and flowing quickly.

"Yeah, there is definitely a lot more water flowing through," said Brianne Ruddy, a dog owner. "They like playing in the water, especially on hot days like this."

While most dogs like the water, it can be a problem for dog owners who either have to navigate through the dry spots or deal with a muddy pup.

"The last time I was here, a year ago or so it was all dry, but it is wet now. It is hard to find a dry spot to walk when you are out in that green area there," said Tristan Martin, a dog owner.

"Yes, it is a little mucky and in normal water years that is typical," said Barnam.

The problem is not permanent. In a few weeks the water will be shut off and the field will be allowed to dry. After that, the road will be refinished.

"We'll top dress it and grade it out and make it look nice again right before balloon races," said Barnam.

The too-wet pasture is exactly the opposite of the problem experienced two summers ago. In June of 2015, the pasture was close for being too dry.