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How to maintain flows in New Mexico’s rivers was the topic of a March 15 workshop hosted by the Utton Transboundary Resources Center. The purpose of the daylong workshop was to inform a wide range of policy-makers, agency managers and stakeholders of current directions being taken in environmental flow management in the Southwest.
The discussion was led by a distinguished group of scientists, environmental flow practitioners and local, public and private stakeholders and attracted about 120 participants. Professor Reed Benson gave the opening remarks and Professor Denise Fort moderated one of the panels.
The presentations and panels gave a factual overview of current science and policy of environmental flows, showed what neighboring states are doing, provided an overview of the on-going programs in New Mexico and ascertained the state of the science and existing data in New Mexico.
Presenters came from Colorado and Wyoming and Mary Kelly, a lawyer with Environmental Defense made a presentation about a program in Texas. Attendees included representatives from five state government agencies, pueblos, acequias, agricultural producers, conservation groups, key federal agencies, private consulting firms and universities. An hour-long closing discussion seemed to open frank and productive dialogue among participants.
A workshop goal was to use state-of-the-art science to initiate a study of altered river flows and define the flow needs of New Mexico’s rivers. A number of the attendees (from hydrology, ecology, biology, geomorphology disciplines) volunteered to work with a technical team, led by Shann Stringer of Tetra Tech on that study.