Audubon New Mexico’s (ANM) strength lies in collaboration by partnering with our chapters across the state as well as many other conservation and community groups and decision-makers. The gifts of time, expertise, and dedication are required for conservation—especially when it comes to water in our state. There’s nothing fast about the flow of our freshwater conservation successes because the challenges are often as perplexing as solving a Rubik’s Cube. Protecting our rivers and dedicating nature’s share of water for birds, wildlife and the habitat they depend on is not easy or quick work, as we have come to realize with the Gila River. However, we know it can be done!
As we focus on the people dedicated to protecting the Gila River, we also recognize the accomplishment of the release of our new report: AN AFFORDABLE & SECURE FUTURE WATER SUPPLY FOR THE CITY OF DEMING, a local water conservation and efficiency alternative to importing water from the Gila River. The report details the importance of affordable water conservation and efficiency solutions to help Deming, Southwest New Mexico’s largest community, meet future water needs, save tens of millions of dollars in capital improvements and protect the state’s crown jewel, the Gila River. It was through partnerships, like those with Western Resource Advocates, led by Jorge Figueroa, and recently retired Beth Bardwell (ANM’s former Conservation Director), that ANM was able to create this critically important and comprehensive report.
Because of collaborative partnerships with Terry Timme, President of the Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society (SWNMA), Sara Boyett, ANM Board of Directors Member, the tireless work of the SWNMA, along with the Gila Conservation Coalition, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, and many others, the Gila River yet flows free because of its long-involved protectors. We extend a big bow of gratitude for our supporters —specifically, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (NM), Ft. Sill Apache (formerly known as the Chiricahua-Warm Springs Apache) Tribal Chairman Jeff Haozous, Bishop Oscar Cantú head of the Las Cruces Catholic Diocese, and the thousands of others that stand alongside us.
We thank Beth, Jorge, Sara, Terry, SWNMA, partners and supporters for their steadfast dedication to the long-standing protection of the Gila River and their efforts to ensure the river remains intact and healthy for the birds and wildlife that depend on it.
While the final decision and future of the Gila River is still up in the air as we await a set date for the NEPA process, we ask for your partnership in supporting this water alternative report and attend NEPA scoping meetings when they occur.
ANM invites you to be a part of the NEPA process. It will be an opportunity to voice your support for the proposed water conservation alternatives and to oppose the costly and damaging diversion. The NEPA process is a unique platform that allows us, and the public, to bring forward a voice for the Gila River and Gila Wilderness. Stay tuned!
There’s no doubt that our rivers benefit from the dedicated people who love the natural world and want to protect our state’s wildlife and their habitats for future generations to enjoy.
It is the people who have made Audubon New Mexico’s freshwater strategy the force it is today!
To read the press release about the water alternative report, click here.