Tracy Stone | 7/11/14
The Nature Conservancy and partners are excited to announce the launch of a groundbreaking project on Tuesday, July 29, that will secure drinking water, boost the state’s economy, add jobs, and improve the quality of life for residents of northern New Mexico.
The Rio Grande Water Fund is an innovative mechanism that will coordinate and leverage fundraising efforts from public and private donors. The Water Fund will support a 20-year plan to restore roughly 1.7 million acres of overgrown forests around the Rio Grande River and its tributaries — from Taos to Albuquerque — which are at high risk for damaging wildfires.
Forested mountains serve as nature’s water storage and filtering facilities. Frequent, high-severity wildfires and subsequent post-fire flooding increasingly threaten the water that serves half of the state’s population, an estimated 1 million people. Heavy rain following the 2011 Los Conchas Fire turned the Rio Grade black with sediment, forcing the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe to halt water withdrawals.