order to increase water availability for municipalities and agriculture,
new water projects have been proposed in New Mexico. Planned
water projects will create new, major water diversions from the
Rio Grande. Do you support or oppose water projects that divert
more water from the river to municipalities? What recommendations
would you make for water allocation and/or conservation?
you support emergency actions, such as decreasing the amount of
water diverted from the Rio Grande, to protect the remaining wild
population of the endangered Silvery Minnow in the Rio Grande?
How do you propose to manage water resources for both human and
Rivers listed the Rio Grande as one of the most endangered rivers
of 2000. Historically, the Rio Grande dried only in times of
extreme drought. Even then, pools of water still existed, supporting
native fish, birds and other wildlife. The unaltered river was
wide and braided, unlike the present channel created by levees
and jetty jacks. Currently, massive water diversions create large
dry stretches in the Rio Grande in times of low rainfall.
low water flow in the Rio Grande has been devastating to the endangered
Silvery Minnow. With 95 percent of the remaining wild population
stranded in a small stretch of the river, a continued drought
without supplemental water may result in a dry river and extinction
of the minnow.
of water for irrigation and municipal use claim nearly 95 percent
of the Rio Grande’s average annual flow. In fact, claims to the
Rio Grande’s flow exceed the actual supply. As currently proposed,
the City of Albuquerque's planned water project will create major
new diversions from the Rio Grande. The City’s proposal will
divert an additional 48,600 acre-feet of water from the Rio Grande.
Many organizations recommend pursuing a more sustainable water
future, rather than further depletion of the over-taxed Rio Grande.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has recommended that approximately
750,000 acres of BLM land be designated as National Wilderness
Area. However, some experts believe that more than three times
that amount should be protected under wilderness designation.
What policy recommendations would you make regarding management
of BLM lands in New Mexico?
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is an alliance of conservation groups
dedicated to saving New Mexico's wildest places. Field studies
conducted by members of the Coalition identified some 2.5 million
acres of public lands in New Mexico -- including 1.6 million acres
of BLM land -- that should be preserved as wilderness. This proposal
stands in stark contrast to BLM's recommendation of just 761,000
acres, which was proposed under the leadership of Interior Secretary
From high plains grasslands to needle-sharp mountain peaks, New Mexico's
BLM wildlands contain a wealth of treasures: Anasazi ruins, ancient
petroglyphs, dinosaur tracks and rich plant and animal life. These
lands have remained wild despite several centuries of settlement
because they are rugged and remote and have little or no conventional
economic value. Many believe that their highest value today lies
in wilderness protection, which supports plants and animals, clean
watersheds, and the tourism industry, New Mexico's largest employer.
new unplanned development in New Mexico continues at unprecedented
rates, many communities are harmed by degraded air and water quality,
a loss of open spaces, and increased taxes needed to cover costs
of new schools and utilities. What actions will you take to manage
development in New Mexico has increased dramatically in the past
several years. In the ten years between 1982 and 1992, 16,630
acres of privately owned land was developed. In the following
five years almost five times that amount, 70,000 acres, was developed.
Since 1997, more and more construction has occurred on previously
undeveloped, open lands. New Mexico must decide how to handle
the increase in new development and population growth.
many New Mexico communities are left with the bill for new water
and utility lines, schools, and roads once a new development is
complete. Unplanned development can also result in increased
air and water pollution, traffic congestion, and a loss of important
open space. Growth, however, does not have to result in the destruction
of environmental and community health. Both state and local government
play an essential role in controlling undesirable environmental
and cultural degradation. Policy makers can implement controls
on how and where new development occurs as well as plan for equitable
changes in high growth areas.
2000-2021, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund
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