Elephant Butte Reservoir is a reservoir on the Rio Grande in the U.S. state of New Mexico, north of Truth or Consequences. This reservoir is the 84th largest man-made lake in the United States and the largest in New Mexico by total surface area. It is the only place in New Mexico where one can find pelicans perched on or alongside the lake. There are also temporary US Coast Guard bases stationed at Elephant Butte. It is impounded by Elephant Butte Dam and is the largest reservoir in New Mexico by peak volume. The reservoir is also part of the largest state park in New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake State Park. The reservoir is part of the Rio Grande Project, a project to provide power and irrigation to south-central New Mexico and west Texas. It was filled starting between 1915 and 1916. The reservoir can hold of water from a drainage of 28,900 square miles (74,850 km²). It provides irrigation to 178,000 acres (720 km²) of land. The name "Elephant Butte" refers to a volcanic core similar to Devils Tower in Wyoming. It is now an island in the lake. The butte was said to have the shape of an elephant lying on its side. Fishing is a popular recreational activity on the reservoir, which contains striped bass, white bass, largemouth bass, crappie, walleye and catfish. In 2014 a bachelor party stumbled across a stegomastodon skull in excellent condition just below the surface of the sand at Elephant Butte Reservoir. The skull is on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.
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Elephant Butte Reservoir
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