Plan for Middle Rio Grande released

Expanding programs such as the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program

By Dave Simon

The Rio Grande is one of the world’s great rivers. Over 1,800 miles in length, the Rio Grande is the fifth-longest river in North America. More than 500 miles of the Rio Grande form the heart of New Mexico—the state’s primary drainage feature and most valuable natural and cultural resource.

Copper Flat Mine: It's the water

The mine will take an inordinate amount of water (perhaps a third of all groundwater used in the county) and not return any to the aquifer because of pollution.
Copper Flat Mine tempts residents with job promises but would rob county of a resource already in short supply.

Letter: Better way to address fracking

Dear Sierran Editor:

By all accounts that I’ve read, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) deserves
its destructive reputation and community outrage. Local elected officials must have the land-use regulatory tools and the political willpower to protect their communities. But these Community Rights Ordinances are not the solution, and so I must disagree with the piece about community rights and fracking in the July/August/September issue.

State water plan being updated

NM basins BW.jpg

By Sig Silber, Northern New Mexico Group Water Chair

In 2003 the first New Mexico State Water Plan was adopted. It is the intent of the Legislature that the Interstate Stream Commission, in collaboration with the Office of the State Engineer and the water trust board, prepare and implement a comprehensive state water plan. The state water plan shall be a strategic management tool.

The details of the water-planning statute can be viewed at

  • click here

  • Sierra Club Reaches Legal Settlement Obligating Utility PNM, San Juan Coal Company to Clean Up Water Pollution from Coal Facilities

    Coal Waste

    Sierra Club Calls on PNM to Move New Mexico Beyond Coal to Clean Energy

    Albuquerque, NM -- Today the Sierra Club reached a legal settlement obligating the utility Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) and San Juan Coal Company (a subsidiary of BHP Billiton, Ltd.) to stop ground and surface water contamination that the group alleges comes from toxic coal ash waste and other sources at the San Juan Coal Mine and San Juan Generating Station coal-fired power plant. The settlement obligates the companies to build structures including a “slurry wall” and a recovery trench to prevent contaminants from traveling toward the San Juan River, pumping the pollution instead into a lined storage pond.

    Flow Restored to the Santa Fe River

    Santa Fe River - JB

    By John Buchser, Chapter Chair and River Commission member, a.k.a. River Angel

    Years of work by river commissioners and Santa Fe City staff was rewarded on February 29 by unanimous approval of a river flow bill by the City Council. The bill allows for 'pass-through' of flows through the two reservoirs above Santa Fe of up to 1000 acre-feet of water in a year-round scheme designed to mirror natural flows.

    Santa Fe River Is Not A River Without Water

    Santa Fe River Mural

    Published February 19 in the Santa Fe New Mexican

    On February 29, Santa Fe City Council voted unanimously to support up to 1000 Acre-Feet/year to flow in the Santa Fe River. The City of Santa Fe has reached a major milestone in its 400 year history - water once again in the River!

    Having served on the River Commission for two terms, John Buchser happily accepted the new title 'river angel' from councilor Bushee.

    On Wednesday, February 29, at 7pm, the Santa Fe City Council is considering a river flow ordinance. This law would allow year-round flow past our reservoirs into the Santa Fe River. The River through Santa Fe is why our City has existed 400 years. A river does not exist as a living river without water. You can do two things to show support for water in the river.

    • Write or call your councilors and let them know you support flow in the river, and why. The e-mail and phone number for each councilor is shown at the end of this webpage.
    • Come to the council meeting on the last day of February and tell the council in person why you support flow in the river.

    Water-saving successes in El Paso and Santa Fe

    Rainwater Harvesting System (photo by Janet Thew)

    By Mike Weinberg, Chapter Water Chair

    We all by now have heard that worldwide shortages of fresh water are expected in the coming decades due to increased demand from an ever-growing global population and anticipated drying of the earth’s climate.

    Development of new water supplies and better management of existing sources will be necessary in order to meet the challenges that lie ahead. We can all help by conserving this precious resource.

    How might climate change affect New Mexico?

    By Mona Blaber

    Every study released lately seems to have worse news about climate change, but it’s hard to translate the figures and statistics into any kind of idea of how life will change in New Mexico, or any region, in the coming decades. I asked University of New Mexico Earth and Planetary Sciences professor David Gutzler, who has researched climate variability in the West, about what these predictions mean for us.

    Ten Gallons per Day

    Pecos Falls

    Louise Pape, Vice Chair of the Sustainable Santa Fe Commission and Sierra Club member, has created a website that explains how to reduce personal water consumption to ten gallons per day. Check it out.

    Ten Gallons a Day by Louise Pape

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