March/April 2016

Greetings from Staff at Amigos Bravos

~ ~ ~

Annual Raffle for the Rio is Here!

The Raffle is our single largest annual fundraiser. Winner's Choice with the drawing held on June 22, 2016. Choose 1 of 3 exciting prizes: An all-inclusive trip for 2 to Belize; 1 acre of land in northern New Mexico; or $3,000 cash!

Click HERE to buy your ticket now!

"You otter support Amigos Bravos and buy some tickets to win!" Photo Credit: Diane Hargreaves

~ ~ ~

Upcoming Events

Public Meeting
May 10, 2016
9:00 a.m. 

Water Quality Control Commission

State Capitol Building, Room 309, 490 Old Santa Trail, Santa Fe, New Mexico

~ ~ ~

Water Resolutions for 2016

There are easy resolutions we can make to conserve and protect our water in 2016. We'll help by sharing one resolution each E-Current.

If we each commit to small conservation efforts, then we can have large impacts for the future of our water supply. 

Thank you Vincent Caprio, Founder & Executive Director, Water 2.0

  • Fix leaky faucets.

Leaky faucets that drip at 1 drop per second can waste up to 2,700 gallons of water each year. Make 2016 the year we put that number to better use.

  • Replace old toilets with newer, updated models.

Older toilets can use three gallons of clean water with every flush, while newer toilets use as little as one gallon. This small change will help to reduce water waste in your household. It makes a difference. Your water bill may decrease too.

~ ~ ~
Contact Info

Casa Baca
Amigos Bravos' Office

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


~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

J oin our efforts
today  by
becoming a
or making a
contribution to
Amigos Bravos

~ ~ ~

Like us on Facebook

Amigos Bravos Comments on
New Mexico Water Quality Report
The New Mexico Environment Department recently released a draft report on water quality in the state. Amigos Bravos submitted comments on this report highlighting our top concerns:
  • Unclear and sometimes misleading reporting of percentages of polluted waters,
  • Reductions in funding for New Mexico water quality programs, and
  • Inadequate analysis at the state-level of climate change related impacts to water quality. 
The Clean Water Act requires each state to create a report on the health of the state's water bodies. This report includes a list of polluted waters bodies and priorities for clean up. Water bodies qualify for the "impaired waters list" when they are too polluted or degraded to support water quality standards. This impaired waters list is also called the 303(d) list. New Mexico drafts a water quality report every two years and submits it to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval. Current and previous water quality reports can be viewed and downloaded here: https://www.env.nm.gov/swqb/303d-305b/.
Percentages of New Mexico's Water That Don't Meet Water Quality Standards

In our comments, Amigos included a request to clarify confusing and sometimes misleading statements about the number of stream miles in New Mexico that are not meeting water quality standards. The report shows that of the 108,649 miles of streams in New Mexico, 7,648 miles (or 6,266 miles depending on how you read the report) have been examined/sampled to see if water quality standards are being met. Many of New Mexico's perennial streams (streams that flow throughout the year) have been sampled. The vast majority of the stream miles that have not been sampled typically only flow for brief periods during the year, often only in response to rain or snow events.
The draft report states that 54% of the state's stream miles and 67% of the state's lake acreage examined are not meeting water quality standards and are impaired. Amigos Bravos has reservations about these numbers and asserts that if the correct totals for the number miles examined were used, these numbers would show that 65% percent of New Mexico streams are impaired and 86% of New Mexico's lake acreage is impaired.
Funding Drastically Reduced for New Mexico State Surface Water Quality Program

Amigos Bravos was dismayed to see the drastic reduction in funding for New Mexico surface water quality management program. In 2015, funding was reduced to $4,374,156, which represents a substantial reduction from 2013 funding levels of $5,775,981. State funding for this program was cut more drastically than federal funding levels during this period and represents a decrease in funding of $819,909 dollars annually for surface water quality management. The report does not explain why or how this funding was reduced by the State administration, nor does it outline what programs were cut or impacted. Amigos Bravos requested that these details be added to the final report.
Climate Change Needs to be Addressed in the Report
Currently, climate change has, and will continue into the future to drastically impact the surface waters of New Mexico. The scope and magnitude of the impact of climate change on New Mexico's water resources necessitates broad programmatic shifts and action. In our comments on the draft report, Amigos Bravos requested that two sections be added to the report, one section that states the impacts we are seeing from climate change on our water resources and a second section that documents steps that the Department is taking to mitigate these impacts.
To read Amigos Bravos' full comments, please click HERE

Water Sentinels - Rios de Taos
The Water Sentinels Begin the 2016 Water Monitoring Season.  

On Saturday, April 23, 2016, Taos Land Trust(TLT) invited students from UNM'S Upward Bound program and students from Rocky Mountain Youth Corps to take part in three different projects on a 20-acre tract of land r ecently acquired by TLT. The property has not been farmed for 20 years and is adjacent to Fred Baca Park . The students split into groups to work on the projects concurrently. One group of students l earned about the role of acequias in northern New Mexico, both historic uses and in modern agriculture. These students discussed how acequias function and actually made repairs. A second group of students studied the forestry of the property. These students determined the species, location, girth and heights of the many tall trees and fruit trees that grace the property. The third group of students, led by Water Sentinels Nora Patterson, Shannon Romeling, and Eric Patterson, conducted water quality monitoring on the Rio Fernando de Taos which flows through the property. They determined the temperature, the pH, the dissolved oxygen, the total dissolved solids, and the flow rate of the river.  These students also used kick seines to collect and observe the benthic macroinvertebrates from the river bottom. This will be  a regular monitoring site for the Sentinels and is especially important because just downstream in Fred Baca Park, the Rio Fernando water most accessible to playing children, had an E.coli count "too numerous to count" at the Sentinel's last monitoring in 2015. 
The students from all three projects came together at the end of the afternoon, shared what they had learned, handed in suggestions for future use of the property, and enjoyed a hearty, well deserved dinner provided by the Taos High School Culinary Club.

Upcoming Trainings in Water Quality Monitoring
There will be a training meeting in Valdez, June 8, 2016 with the first monitoring session scheduled for June 9, 2016, a second monitoring session on July 6, 2016 and a third monitoring session on August 31, 2016. Any member of Amigos Bravos is invited to attend the training meeting on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Contact Shannon Romeling if interested. Email: sromeling (at) amigosbravos (dot) org.

Taos Land Trust(TLT) Wants Your Input
TLT would like suggestions from the public for potential uses of the 20-acre tract of land recently acquired by TLT. Contact Kristina Ortez de Jones with your feedback. Email: kristina (at) taoslandtrust (dot) org.
Field Observation with a Camera Trap, also known as Trail Cameras ("River Camera")

In an effort to monitor the progress of the river otter re-introduction in the Upper Rio Grande, Amigos Bravos placed our first "River Camera" near John Dunn Bridge on January 28th, 2016. We "caught" our first otters playing at night on January 29th, 2016. We continue to see river otters at this location, and frequently see a group of 3-4. We have also seen bighorn sheep, a ringtail cat, a bobcat, a coyote, raccoons, and geese at this location. We deployed a second River Camera on February 13th, 2016 on the Rio Grande near Rinconada. This camera frequently "catches" a beaver family and raccoons. River otters have been "caught" once at this location by our camera. We have also seen wood ducks, geese, other birds, muskrat, and bobcat there. The cameras are motion activated and snap 3 pictures every 30 seconds when they are triggered by movement. Amigos Bravos plans to expand this monitoring program on the Rio Grande with more cameras, and to survey the San Juan for signs of river otter this summer. Like us on  Facebook  and visit our website frequently to see the new River Camera pictures as they are collected.

All visitors