The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico

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Rio Grande Water Fund

New Mexico’s Rio Grande and its tributaries supply water to Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Native American Pueblos and other communities—water for more than half of New Mexico’s population.

Frequent, high-severity wildfires like the 2011 Las Conchas incident cause post-fire flooding that increasingly threaten the Rio Grande’s water security.

After the Las Conchas Fire, post-fire thunderstorms brought rain to the burned areas and created massive ash and debris flows in surrounding canyons.

The Rio Grande turned black with sediment after the Las Conchas Fire. Water managers halted withdrawals in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, determining the ash-laden water was not worth treating.

These brown trout died in wildfire ash-contaminated water in the Rio San Antonio, a headwater tributary of the Rio Grande.

Not a pretty picture: the devastated landscape left in the wake of the 2011 Las Conchas fire.

When New Mexico’s forests can’t provide clean, reliable water, our health and economy are jeopardized. Restoring overgrown forests is a proven solution to make forests safer and healthier.

The Rio Grande Water Fund will generate sustainable funding for a 10-30 year program of large-scale forest and watershed restoration treatments.

By preserving and restoring our forests, we can sustain New Mexico’s water supply, increase social and economic benefits for local communities and contribute to an improved quality of life.

Donate today to give New Mexico the gift of clean water.


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