January/February 2017

Upcoming Events:

The New Mexico Environmental Department's Surface Water Quality Bureau is seeking public input on two upcoming surface water quality studies: one in the San Juan River watershed and the other on the Upper Rio Grande watershed. Public meeting locations and dates are below:

Taos: Tuesday, March 7 from 6-8pm. BLM Field Office, 226 Cruz Alta Road.
EspaƱola: Wednesday, March 8 from 6-8pm. Northern New Mexico College Ben Lujan Library, 921 N Paseo De OƱate.
Farmington: Thursday, March 9 from 5-7pm. Farmington Civic Center, 200 West Arrington St.

Rio Grande Gorge

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Chevron Questa Superfund Site
Community Meeting

March 9, 2017
5:30 - 7:30 pm
VFW Post
2597 North Hwy 522
Questa, NM

Receive updates on the current and future cleanup work from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the New Mexico Environmental Department and the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. 

For specific questions, conatc Janette Coats, Community Involvement Coordinator at  
(214) 665-7308 
(800) 533-3508 or

Wednesday March 22
World Water Day

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Contact Info

Casa Baca
Amigos Bravos' Office

Amigos Bravos
P. O. Box 238
105-A Quesnel St.
Taos, NM 87571


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Volunteer Spotlight: 
Stephen Fabrey 

We're thrilled to have Stephen Fabrey as a volunteer this year to assist  Shannon Romeling, Projects and Foundation Coordinator for Amigos Bravos, with her Rio Fernando e-coli monitoring project.
As an S&P Global employee, Stephen is essential to the company's commitment to the environment. He has pledged to do his part to promote sustainability by volunteering with Water Sentinels and Amigos Bravos testing the Rio Fernando in Taos.
Stephen develops and delivers essential intelligence as a Senior Lead Database Engineer on S&P Global's Release Engineering Team. While managing data in the office, Stephen helps collect it from the river: measuring pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, flow rates, and collecting samples to be testing at the lab.
S&P Global encourages this active role by allowing a flexible work schedule. Additionally, through the Employee Volunteer Grant program, S&P Global will donate $500 for each year that Stephen volunteers.

Thank you, Stephen and S&P Global, for your commitment to promoting environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility. 

New Hire: Nina Anthony

In January, we welcomed Nina Anthony to the Amigos Bravos team as Donor and Communications Coordinator.
Her primarily responsibilities include cultivating and managing an engaged membership base, creating and implementing an organization-wide communications strategy, planning and coordinating outreach activities and events and assisting the Executive Director in maintaining communications with major donors.
Since graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Journalism, Nina has worked for a variety of advertising and marketing firms and telecommuted for 10 years as a Digital Marketing Manager for WESST, an Albuquerque-based small business development nonprofit. Most recently, she served as the Donor and Communications Manager for the Taos Land Trust.
 "Access to clean water is essential to our lives. It's every person's birthright. I'm excited and honored to help promote Amigos Bravos' important mission to preserve and restore the ecological and cultural integrity of New Mexico's waters for the communities throughout the state that depend on it," says Anthony.

A passionate landscape photographer, Nina spends much of her spare time hiking in the mountains and capturing the dramatic landscapes and watersheds of northern New Mexico that she loves. One of her images of the Rio Grande is shown below.

River Otter Identification 101 Workshop 
Attracts a Standing Room Only Crowd

For thousands of years, river otters were a part of the natural environment of what is now New Mexico. As a mammal at the top of the food chain, otters played an important role in the aquatic habitat of rivers and streams by helping maintain the balance of native fish and other species.  Otters were once abundant enough in the rivers and streams of New Mexico to have been documented many times in the diaries and journals of early settlers in the region.  Pollution, deforestation and unregulated trapping caused their decline and eventual disappearance from New Mexico in 1953.  
Between 2008 and 2010, 33 river otters were reintroduced to the Upper Rio Grande after a 60-year absence as part of a community-based coalition of environmental and wildlife organization, State and Federal agencies, and a scientific advisory panel. The wild otters were captured and transported from Washington State by USDA Wildlife Services and Taos Pueblo as part of a larger otter reintroduction program organized by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Taos Pueblo, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the New Mexico Friends of River Otters, of which Amigos Bravos is a founding member. 
On the evening of February 9, 2017, Amigos Bravos hosted a crowd of 50+ River Otter Lovers at the Bureau of Land Management's Taos Field Office to help recruit volunteers to help with our river otter monitoring efforts in the Upper Rio Grande watershed.  
Shannon Romeling, Projects and Foundation Coordinator for Amigos Bravos, led the hour-and-a-half workshop with the help of Brian Long, a Wildlife Biologist who has been dedicated to the successful restoration of river otters to New Mexico's waters for nearly a decade. Romeling and Long  educated the workshop attendees on River Otters and the importance of reporting sightings.  
If you think you've seen an otter or signs of otter presence, we want to know about it!

To download a river otter observation sheet to record the details of your sighting  please click here .

A Valle Vidal Valentine

Anyone who has lived in northern New Mexico for any length of time and has a love for the great outdoors is all too familiar with the Valle Vidal, a 101,794-acre mountain basin in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains northwest of Cimarron, New Mexico.

Often referred to as the 'Yellowstone of the Southwest,' the Valle Vidal is home to an array of wildlife including mountain lion, bear, wild turkey, the native Rio Grande cutthroat trout, and one of the state's largest herds of elk. Surprisingly, this alpine gem within the Carson National Forest, has never been officially incorporated into the current Carson Forest Plan.

On February 14, 2017, Amigos Bravos, Trout Unlimited, and others submitted a Valle Vidal land management proposal to the U.S. Forest Service that focuses on preserving the Valle Vidal's unique water, agriculture, wildlife, educational, and recreational resources for future generations to enjoy.

The proposal calls for the establishment of a Special Geographic Area for the Valle Vidal that will update current management practices in this vital Northern New Mexico
resource that attracts hunters, anglers, hikers, campers, horseback riders, and wildlife viewers from throughout the state and across the country.

In a recent Albuquerque Journal article about the proposal, National Forest spokeswoman Kathy DeLucas was quoted as saying that citizen comments "will be taken into consideration as we develop the plan and potential alternatives."

The proposed Valle Vidal Management Plan includes requests that Valle Vidal be managed for the benefit of "all of the people," that various watersheds, wetlands and fisheries be protected, that ground-disturbing military maneuvers not be allowed and that the "scenic integrity of the Valle Vidal landscape" be retained.

We hope you'll take a few moments to read this important proposal. If you agree with the recommendations, please send an email to the Forest Service in support of the
proposal, by visiting this page and clicking on Support the Valle Vidal Management Plan Proposal.

New Mexico Triennial Review of 
Water Quality Standards

I n January, the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission issued a final decision on the New Mexico Triennial Review of Surface Water Quality Standards. Acting as the only public interest group in the 3-year long Triennial Review process, Amigos Bravos consistently and aggressively advocated for maintaining and strengthening our state's surface water quality standards. 

Despite a very pro-polluter Commission, we were able to stop several dirty water proposals including a proposal to weaken water quality standards for small isolated ponds and wetlands. In addition, we were able to substantially improve several state proposals including adding robust public participation provisions to piscicide application procedures and requiring more oversight and reporting to a problematic temporary standards procedure. 

While we were not able to convince the Commission to reverse the 2009 weakening of our state's Aluminum standards, we able to negotiate a stipulated agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the New Mexico Environment Department to review and petition for upgrading of protections for several water bodies on Los Alamos National Laboratory property.

 Find Amigos Bravos on Instagram

Look for the hashtag #ValleVidalForever and upload your favorite photos of the Valle Vidal