Middle Rio Grande Flow Restoration
The Rio Grande silvery minnow and the Southwestern willow flycatcher are both listed species under the Federal Endangered Species Act, and even after more than a decade of efforts to address their declines in New Mexico, the species – and especially the minnow – are still at risk from river depletions and loss of flows.
The Middle Rio Grande Flow Restoration Project partners with the New Mexico state office of the National Audubon Society to implement a first of its kind project that includes a unique partnership with Native American Pueblos and water agencies to convey and deliver much needed flows to chronically depleted areas of the Middle Rio Grande River in New Mexico. The project is a new strategy and pathway to lease, donate, and deliver water where it’s needed to benefit the river and protect and restore habitats for imperiled species.
This project demonstrates a collaborative multi-party approach that focuses on voluntary water transactions and solutions, using water owned by Pueblos and private entities to help sustain river habitat and function. Given the critical importance of water flows and riparian habitats in the arid southwest, and growing interest in the Rio Grande basin, project partners expect this pilot to set a precedent that over time can deliver more water, more partnerships and better solutions to balance water use needs for humans and the environment.
* Project supports voluntary transactions to change, reduce or stop water use – either temporarily or permanently – to protect or restore water for environmental benefit