Statement from New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Jicarilla Apache Nation and The Nature Conservancy to America the Beautiful Award Announcement

A rushing blue river running though green shrubs.
San Juan River The Conservancy joined state, federal and Native American partners in a comprehensive effort to restore the river, a major waterway of the Colorado River Basin. © Erika Nortemann/TNC

Media Contacts

SANTA FE – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission a $4,000,000 grant through the America the Beautiful Challenge for their partnership on the San Juan water lease agreement with the Jicarilla Apache Nation and The Nature Conservancy.

A blue river flowing through shrubs with red mesas in the background.
San Juan River, Farmington, NM July 2023. San Juan River, Farmington, New Mexico. © Roberto Rosales

The following is a statement released by the project partners:

“We are thrilled to receive this award from NFWF for our partnership on San Juan River water sharing. This funding will help pay for the water orders provided through our lease agreement that are designed to benefit threatened and endangered fish and increase water security for New Mexico.

“Programs like the America the Beautiful Challenge help bolster unique projects like ours and allow us to think outside the box to develop solutions that benefit multiple interests, while also helping address the drought we have been experiencing for two decades in the Colorado River Basin.

“We are grateful to NFWF for recognizing the benefits of our project, the collaborative partnership and the successes it can bring in helping fish and wildlife and the future of our river.

“The Colorado River Basin’s Tribal Nations are important leaders and partners in crafting transformative water solutions across the West. This water sharing agreement truly demonstrates how Tribal Nations and state governments can work on a sovereign-to-sovereign basis—with support from conservation organizations—to find collaborative solutions to benefit the river, while also serving as a model for working together throughout the west and beyond.” 

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.