2024 Articles

New Mexico

Click here to read about New Mexico’s 2023 accomplishments in the Colorado River Basin from the CRWUA 2023 Annual Report.

Here’s an excerpt from the report:

“January 2023 started the year with flows into New Mexico in the San Juan, Animas, and La Plata Rivers that ranged from 27 % to 133% of the historic average. Navajo Reservoir started the year at 52% of full capacity. Spring flows into New Mexico in the San Juan, Animas, and La Plata Rivers from March through May 2023 ranged from 32% to 334% of the historic average. The runoff season began with periods of below-normal temperatures, with small snow events, offering a period of increased flows. Navajo Reservoir concluded the spring season at 80% full. Early summer flows to into New Mexico from the San Juan Basin, ranged from 51% to 139% of the historic average. The San Juan Rivers, Animas, and La Plata Rivers were near average flows, while Navajo Reservoir has peaked in elevation, and is 78% full. Despite the cooler spring earlier in the year, hot and dry conditions have persisted, and will likely continue into the fall. As of early September, El Nino conditions are observed and an El Nino Advisory is currently present. Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are above average across most of the Pacific Ocean. El Niño conditions are expected at a 95% chance for the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2023-24.

“The San Juan Basin Recovery Implementation Program and the Upper Colorado River Basin Program have achieved great success benefiting the fish, the partners, and the basins. Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basin Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Reauthorization Act of 2023 reauthorizes these programs for 15 years, providing long-term certainty for program partners and consistent benefits for the four threatened and endangered fish species – the humpback chub, Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, and bonytail. In November 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service downlisted the humpback chub from “endangered” to “threatened.” The razorback sucker has also been proposed for downlisting. The programs provide compliance for over 2,500 water projects—totaling more than 3.7 million acre-feet of water use per year—including major water reservoirs, agricultural water use, ski areas, and more. Engage in Partnerships for Funding and Implementation: States, Tribes, water users, conservation groups, and hydropower interests work collaboratively to fund and implement science-based recovery actions – from coordinating flows through key habitat reaches during dry summer months when fish need it most, to funding habitat restoration, to removing nonnative species. Non-federal partners propose to commit nearly $200 million in water, cash, and in-kind contributions throughout the 15-year extension. The Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basin Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Reauthorization Act of 2023 will extend the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Recovery Programs for 15 years, providing certainty for water use in the Upper Colorado River Basin and fulfilling the federal government’s trust responsibility to Tribes in the Upper Basin. Ensure continued ESA compliance for 2,500 federal, Tribal, and non-federal water projects in the Upper Colorado and San Juan River basins, including every Bureau of Reclamation project upstream of Lake Powell. Authorize up to $165 million for the Bureau of Reclamation to continue annual cost-shared funding for program implementation, continuing work to stock the threatened and endangered fish species, conducting research and monitoring, managing habitat and river flows, combat nonnative species, and operating fish passages and hatcheries through fiscal year 2038. Add up $100 million to the authorization ceiling for capital projects, which will fund infrastructure improvements essential to the recovery of the endangered and threatened fish over the next 15 years. Enable program partners to deploy their own commitments, enlisting the Upper Basin states, Tribes, and non-federal partners to provide their own contributions to meet shared species recovery goals.”