As we reflect on Thanksgiving, Audubon New Mexico would like to express our deepest gratitude for our Audubon family, which includes our Native American friends and partners. A united family from Southern to Northern New Mexico, across the Central Flyway, and throughout the country. An Audubon family dedicated to the conservation of our birds and our sacred land. A family that consists of chapter members, WRAN members, partners, supporters, donors, volunteers, staff and educators. We are proud to be a part of a family that is truly steadfast in our commitment to protect birds and people.
We are grateful to be a part of a family that works daily to protect the Americas’ precious biodiversity. Here at Audubon New Mexico (ANM), we loudly applaud the diligence of our family with their exerted efforts to save our rivers and birds. Projects like, “Minute 319” where across borders, historic binational water management and delta restoration has benefitted the Colorado River and nature. Another project, focused on saving the Salton Sea from drying out ― impacting the health of humans and major nesting, wintering and stopover site for millions of birds are true testaments of Audubon’s unwavering dedication to protection and conservation work. As we begin to chisel away in these regions and many others, we are grateful that we work together, as a family, to help make critical victories happen.
The work in the Colorado River and Salton Sea, to name a few, have laid a vital foundation for river restoration nation-wide and continues to create paths for conservation work in New Mexico. Here in our state, ANM is extremely appreciative for numerous partnerships, locally, regionally and federally, dedicated to protecting New Mexico’s enchanted biodiversity.
For the first time in New Mexico’s history, ANM, in partnership with four Middle Rio Grande Pueblos, the Club at Las Campanas and agency partners, released 260 million gallons of water into the Rio Grande. This precedent setting water transaction demonstrates how precious water can be managed and allocated in New Mexico and other states, which is especially important in the face of climate change and water scarcity. For that, we are extremely grateful for our partnerships with the four Middle Rio Grande Pueblos, Las Campanas, and most importantly, thankful to have additional water flowing in the river for over a month.
For the past five years, ANM, the Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society, volunteers, supporters, and partners and have remained loyal in their commitment, to defend the Gila River from a dangerous proposed diversion. ANM is appreciative for the Gila River family, for their fight to preserve that last free-flowing river in the Southwest. A free-flowing Gila River that is a crown jewel and destination that is vital to the region’s recreational economy, wildlife and New Mexican traditions and culture.
The Gila Wilderness is one of the most ecologically diverse wilderness complexes in North America, containing one of the largest free-flowing (undammed) headwaters watersheds left and one of the largest expanses of Ancient Forest (unlogged) south of the Boreal Forest. As a result, the Gila Wilderness harbors some of the greatest breeding bird diversity and density in the United States and, with climate change, may provide key habitat for tropical species as ranges expand northward.
The Year Ahead
Moving forward, ANM will continue partnerships to ensure Rio Grande river conservation efforts are at the forefront. We will continue to work with ally groups and elected officials, and engage the communities of Deming and Silver City to demand their fair share of Arizona Water Settlement funding from the New Mexico CAP Entity for water-smart and dollar-wise alternatives that we believe would be more beneficial for Southwestern New Mexico’s water security, local citizens, and economy ― while protecting the invaluable and wild Gila River.
As you can see, Audubon’s family legacy not only provides New Mexico but other states with conservation and education standards for bird and biodiversity protection, it unifies us with a shared vision, a bond ― a bond of conservation leadership, responsibility and diligence of which we are so appreciative.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and on behalf of the hundreds of communities, thousands of children, hundreds of thousands of birds, and millions of acres of sacred habitat, thank you – mil gracias for supporting Audubon New Mexico and working alongside us!