This years's Congresso will discuss water infrastructure with highlights on the Corrective Action on El Vado Dam and Rehabilitation below the Abiquiu Dam.  

Additional presentations will include discussions on the US Bureau of Reclamation's Basin Study, the Rio Grande Water Fund, State Water Plan update, Oil & Gas leasing and more!  

RSVP  here. 

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Source Water Protection Plan Committe Meeting  

Thursday, March 7, 2019
10:30 a.m. - Noon
Village of Taos Ski Valley

  A copy of the agenda for this meeting will be available for inspection 72 hours prior to the meeting.  Persons wishing to comment on items listed on the proposed agendas may submit written comments to the Village offices on or before 5:00 p.m. on the day prior to the meeting.

More information here.

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New Mexico State Speaker Series

March 6, 2019
Jonathan Overpeck

Drought, water security, and ecosystem disruption - the SW climate challenge

 Rio Grande Theater
Las Cruces, NM

Click here for more info.

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June 21 - June 24, 2019
Cleveland, OH
River Rally, hosted annually by the River Network, is a national conference for river and water champions.

 Unique in its focus on providing practical education, inspiring courage, and celebrating achievements, River Rally brings together hundreds of people from across the United States and the world who care about rivers and water issues. 

Join NGO staff and volunteers, academics, agency and foundation representatives, industry innovators, and community leaders for the biggest (and most fun) water-focused event of the year!

Registration for River Rally 2019 will open in December.

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Rally for the Rio 2019

Saturday, August 24, 2019
Noon - 6 pm
County Line Access Point
on the banks of the Rio Grande

Food | Music | Float Rides

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Amigos Bravos is happy to release our new Otterly Fierce Bumper stickers. Free for members, $1.00 for non-members. Stop by the office and pick one up! 

They were designed by Amigos Bravos Project Coordinator, Elena Fernandez. She had the idea for the bumper sticker before she was hired in April and was tickled to have them produced last month.

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Stop by and visit us !

Amigos Bravos' Home

Amigos Bravos
P. O. Box 238
114 Des Georges Place
Taos, NM 87571



In the Season of Giving, the Gifts We Received Were Priceless. Thank you!

Thanks to our generous conservation-conscious members, we had a wonderful conclusion to 2018. As we rang in the New Year with a blizzard that brought much-need moisture to large parts of central and northern New Mexico, we look forward with gratitude to 2019 with a lot on our docket! Here's an update on some of the things we're working on.
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Trump's Dirty Water Rule
Photo by Jim O'Donnell 
On February 14th, the EPA published their proposed Waters of the US Rule (we are calling it the "Dirty Water Rule") in the federal register, starting a 60-day comment period. This rule would strip Clean Water Act protections from streams that do not flow year round and from any wetland that is not directly connected to a stream that flows year round. Clean Water Act protections protect our waterways from discharges of pollutants and from dredging or filling of wetlands. Clean Water Act protections also provide funding sources for watershed restoration. We believe that this ill-conceived rule impacts New Mexico's waters more than anywhere else in the country because:
1. Over 90% of New Mexico streams are ephemeral or intermittent, meaning that they only flow for part of the year.
2. New Mexico is one of 3 states nationwide that doesn't have a State administered Clean Water Act permitting program (EPA still writes our permits).
3. Most of our wetlands here in New Mexico are not connected to streams that flow year round.
This proposed "Dirty Water Rule" is meant to replace the Obama Administration's 2015 "Clean Water Rule". Unfortunately, EPA is indicating that they are unlikely to grant a comment period extension on the proposed rule, meaning there is not much time to engage effectively on the rule. Please take some time to 

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Update on Key Conservation Bills in the NM Legislature that Need Your Action

There are a number of important conservation bills currently moving through the legislative process, and Amigos Bravos is supporting a number of them. Two of the bills we have been
working on involve protection of water resources with respect to the mining industry:

 HB220 "Determination of Discharge Effect on Water" seeks to implement an important clarification in the Water Quality Act made more necessary by the "Copper Rule" promulgated by the Martinez administration. The Copper Rule was litigated all the way to the New Mexico Supreme Court (Amigos Bravos was a party to the lawsuit), and the Court determined the rule did not violate the Water Quality Act with respect to measurement at the ambiguously worded "place of withdrawal." The bill seeks to
clarify that water quality standards would be measured where contaminants enter groundwater. The bill passed the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources committee by a vote of 7-5 and will next go to the House Judiciary Committee.

 HB255 "Mining Permit Corporate Guarantees" - Certain mining operations in New Mexico are required to provide "financial assurance" that the operator will have funds
available for reclamation of mine sites after mining has ceased, an important protection for groundwater resources and the environment. Currently, so-called "corporate guarantees" are allowed to be part of the financial assurance - these are essentially"promises to pay" issued by parent or affiliated companies. Unfortunately, these guarantees become worthless when a mining operator or affiliated company is in financial distress. The bill would require that mining operators provide more robust financial assurance such as letters of credit or surety bonds in lieu of "corporate guarantees." The bill passed HEENRC 8-5 and will be heard in House Judiciary next.

This bill may go to the floor this week!

Please call or email your legislator and ask them to vote "YES!" on HB255. Click on link to 

Amigos Bravos is also supporting bills sponsored by other conservation organizations such as
HB206 "Environmental Review Act," HB332 "Rural Heritage Act" and bills facilitating a transition to renewable energy. 

A very good summary of conservation bills to support (or oppose) can be found on the Conservation Voters of NM website www.cvnm.org.
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Restoring a Broken River - The Rio Fernando Watershed
Dry sections,  E. coli bacteria, fire risk, sedimentation, polluted runoff, worn-down acequia systems, limited in-town access and bank impacts/modification are just a few of the issues plaguing the Rio Fernando de Taos.
The Rio Fernando is the major drainage running through the town of Taos from east to west, and plays a key part in sustaining wildlife, recreation, and agricultural activities in the Taos area. It has become an important flyway for bird migration, and habitat for river otters, coyotes, and beavers. For generations, Taos Valley community members have recreated in the public lands of its upper watershed of Taos Canyon. Its occupants have relied on the natural resources of the Rio Fernando de Taos for centuries, and its waters are as critical today to supporting irrigated agriculture and human communities in the Taos Valley, as they were three hundred years ago.
Despite its continued importance to Taoseños and their way of life, the health of the Rio Fernando de Taos has deteriorated and the community has been concerned for decades. Fortunately, not only is everyone concerned, we are working diligently to combat the threats and damage to our beloved river.
Formed in March 2017, the Rio Fernando Revitalization Collaborative is a dynamic group comprised of groups, government and individuals working to bring the Rio Fernando back to life. Members of in the collaborative include:  Amigos Bravos, Taos County, Taos Land Trust, Taos Valley Acequia Association, The Nature Conservancy, Town of Taos, US Forest Service, the Taos Soil and Water Conservation District, and Trout Unlimited.
The Rio Fernando Collaborative is committed to improving water quality, respecting and strengthening our Acequia traditions and infrastructure, and expanding and improving our pathways, recreational trails and parks.
Projects already underway include:
  1. Water Quality Sampling in Partnership with Water Sentinels - Amigos Bravos and Water Sentinels have been sampling the Rio Fernando since 2007. Our sampling has shown numerous exceedances for parameters such as E. coli, dissolved oxygen, and specific conductance. You can volunteer for this program! Contact Amigos Bravos for details.
  2. Repairs to the Main Rio Fernando Acequia Headgate -TheTaos Valley Acequia Association has identified several priorities for repairing the aging acequia systems of the Rio Fernando (irrigation ditches). The first project involves upgrading the presa (the small impoundment used to divert the acequia at the headgate).
  3. The Vigil Y Romo Acequia and Education - The Taos Valley Acequia Association is also working to restore the work on the Vigil Y Romo Acequia and organizing education efforts on acequias and the importance of their use for the water table.
  4. Watershed Based Planning - Amigos Bravos has been working on water quality issues on the Rio Fernando de Taos for over 12 years stemming from community concerns. In the summer of 2016 Amigos Bravos received funding through NMED's 319 grant program to do extensive monitoring of E. coli, source identification, and watershed based planning in the Rio Fernando watershed (to be completed in 2019)
  5. Microbial Source Tracking of the Rio Fernando -This project will analyze species of E. coli contributing to the river and improve the quality of the Watershed Based Plan to be completed in Summer 2019. This is a project of the Rio Fernando de Taos Revitalization Collaborative and while there are three goals of the Collaborative, members agreed that bacteria contamination is a public health issue that should be dealt with immediately.
  6. Rio Fernando Park Planning ­- The new Taos Land Trust Park (20 acres) on the Rio Fernando is currently starting year two of their Master Planning Process. The new park boarders Fred Baca Park (Town of Taos) and includes 7 acres of impaired wetlands plagued with invasive species. Restoration on these wetlands is part of the Park Plan. Sign up at www.taoslandtrust.org to attend their events, provide your input on the Park Planning process, and volunteer at the park.
  7. Rio Grande Water Fund La Jara Wetland Restoration (headwaters of the Rio Fernando) - ) The La Jara area was identified as one of 10 Wetland Jewels in the Carson. More information about the Wetland Jewels project can be found by going to www.amigosbravos.org. In November 2017 Amigos Bravos received a grant from the Rio Grande Water Fund for restoration in the La Jara Wetland Jewel.
How can YOU help the Rio Fernando?
  1. You are invited to volunteer for, provide input, and help this new collaborative effort that protects and restores the Río Fernando de Taos. Together we can bring the river back to life and connect people to the land and water they love.
  2. Inspect your septic tank every 3-5 years
  3. If you rely on a domestic well for water - conserve
  4. If you have surface water rights, consider irrigation.
  5. Recycle
  6. Dispose of trash properly
  7. Minimize off road vehicle crossing
  8. Clean up your pet waste
Judy Torres Taos Valley Acequia Association (575) 758-9461 taosacequias@gmail.com
Rachel Conn Amigos Bravos (575) 758-3874 rconn@amigosbravos.com

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National Rivers 
Cleanup Names Taos County Rivers & Land Cleanup Collaborative a 2018 Cleanup Champion!

Signing in volunteers for the 2018 Taos County Rivers & Lands Cleanup

Amigos Bravos is proud to be part of cleanup collaborative that placed #1 for most pounds of trash collected at a mid-sized cleanup event. 

The Taos County River and Lands Clean Up is a strong community collaboration who has removed at  least two tons of trash every year for the last 12 years. Organizational leaders include: Rocky Mountain Youth Corp (Americorps), lending many youth to the effort and their organizational prowess; Amigos Bravos, a state-wide water conservation NGO who helps to organize the effort, gather supplies and promote the clean up; the Taos County Solid Waste Disposal provides heavy equipment, large dumpsters and volunteers; and the Forest Service, Camino Real Ranger District  provides vehicles, equipment, and site location identification. Numerous other community members and organizations support this trash removal effort, resulting in a successful clean-up. 

Taos is plagued with illegal dumping sites and we are proud to work towards a cleaner future for our County's forests, waterways, and inhabitants. Through our work we seek to engage the community through stewardship of Taos' natural beauty and it's delicate and unique ecosystems.

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