November/December 2016

Celebrating 10 Years of a Protected Valle Vidal! 

December 12th marked the 10-year anniversary of the passage of the Valle Vidal Protection Act, which forever protected the Valle Vidal from the ravages of Oil and Gas Development. On December 10th we gathered to celebrate this historic victory and explore how the Valle Vidal campaign and win can inform our work over the next 4 years. 

The event at the Harwood Museum in Taos. 

Panel Members

The event, hosted by Amigos Bravos and Western Environmental Law Center focused on celebrating the victory, sharing current restoration and land management planning activities in the Valle Vidal and lessons going forward in today's political climate. Panelists included: 

Brian Shields - former Executive Director, Amigos Bravos 

Toner Mitchell - NM Water and Habitat Program Manager, Trout Unlimited

Mark Torres - President, Valle Vidal Grazing Association

Rachel Conn - Projects Director, Amigos Bravos

Jim O'Donnell - former Organizer, Coalition for the Valle Vidal

Moderator: Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, WELC

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Rio Grande Gorge

Upcoming Events:
January 17 - March 18
New Mexico Legislative Session

February 8
Land, Water and Wildlife Day at the Roundhouse

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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Happy Holidays from Amigos Bravos and
New Mexico River Otters!

These North American River Otters ( Lontra canadensis ) are romping freely in the Rio Grande following the 2008 re-introduction efforts by New Mexico Friends of River Otters and Amigos Bravos. Below are a few of our motion-activated trail camera pictures from the Rio Grande in Taos County. 

Visit our Facebook page  to see many more river otter pictures taken over the last year! 

Contact membership@amigosbravos.org if you are interested in volunteering in our river otter monitoring efforts.

Rio Fernando de Taos Watershed Based Planning Process: Brief Update

Amigos Bravos recently began a Watershed Based Planning process for the Rio Fernando, which runs right through the heart of Taos, into the Rio Pueblo, and then into the Rio Grande. This three year project will work with the community to identify sources of E. coli pollution in the Rio Fernando. A second public meeting will be held in the next few months, and water sampling for E. coli will begin this winter.

For questions about this important water quality improvement project, or to become a volunteer, emailing sromeling@amigosbravos.org or call 575-758-3874.

Chevron Questa Mine 
Wastewater Treatment Plant Delayed

  Photo of Amigos Bravos Board President, Francisco Guevara in front of the new wastewater treatment plant's anticipated discharge location. 

Chevron Questa Mine's discharge permit required that the mine stop discharging water through their tailings pipe as of October 1st. This pipe runs from the mill area of the mine located in the canyon halfway to the town of Red River all the way down to the tailings facility, located on the west side of Questa. The pipe and associated tailings ponds at the end of the pipe have been a source of contamination and concern for many decades and stopping the discharge has been something that Amigos Bravos has advocated for many years. 
The mine has been struggling to meet this compliance deadline. Construction of a massive wastewater treatment plant has been underway for over a year, but the construction schedule slipped due to a variety of contractor and equipment delivery problems. To meet the October 1st deadline, the mine resorted to bringing in a temporary mobile package plant to treat the water. Accordingly, the mine ceased discharging to the tailing pipe on schedule, with the plan being for the temporary package plant to treat wastewater until the permanent treatment facility comes on-line in the first quarter of 2017. This milestone was celebrated by Amigos Bravos and other advocates for environmental restoration in the Red River basin and for the community of Questa. For 47 days, for the first time in decades there were no discharges through the tailings pipeline.
Unfortunately, this victory was short-lived. On November 16th, high winds caused a scaffolding structure to blow over onto this temporary package plant, shutting down the plant and resulting in Chevron resuming discharges through the tailings pipeline. Amigos Bravos has formally expressed our disappointment and concern at this unfortunate development, both to Chevron and to State and Federal regulatory agencies. Amigos Bravos will continue our work to monitor and advocate for permit compliance and related work associated with pipeline decommission and removal as Chevron regroups to finish the permanent water treatment plant and cease these discharges once and for all.

Photo of Amigos Bravos board members, staff, and consultants touring the partially complete new wastewater treatment plant. 

Carson National Forest Plan Update
The Carson National Forest is undergoing a once in a generation resource planning process. Amigos Bravos has been actively engaged in the process and is advocating for designation of the 10 identified Wetland Jewels and designation of a special geographic area for the Valle Vidal. We will be reaching out our supporters to help advocate for these priorities as the Forest Service moves forward with the planning process

Cruces Basin
Cruces Basin in the Carson National Forest 

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