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Throughout the West, increasing the efficiency of irrigation is one of the most effective ways to ensure water is available for river habitat to enhance river flows and protect endangered species.
A living, vital Rio Grande has been central to the history of New Mexico. Today, millions of people depend on the Rio Grande for their drinking water, their livelihood, for recreation and for the aesthetic pleasure that attends living in proximity to a vibrant river. The Rio Grande in central New Mexico is also one the most ecologically significant cottonwood-willow gallery forest ecosystems left in North America.
However, dams, levees and water diversions for irrigated agriculture continued development of the floodplain are continuing to stress the ecosystem. The critical status of the Rio Grande silvery minnow and the Southwestern willow flycatcher are only the latest signs that the river ecosystem is in trouble and that the status quo in water and river management are threatening the river ecosystem with collapse.
Throughout the West, increasing the efficiency of irrigation is one of the most effective ways to ensure water is available for river habitat to enhance river flows and protect endangered species. In the Grande Valley irrigation project in Western Colorado and the Carson-Truckee irrigation project in west-central Nevada, the Bureau of Reclamation has required greater irrigation efficiency in order to protect and preserve the habitat of fish listed under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, in the Central Valley of California, the Bureau of Reclamation is making numerous management changes, among them increased irrigation efficiency, in order to provide water for environmental restoration.
A Report By: The Alliance for the Rio Grande Heritage, WildEarth Guardians, Rio Grande Restoration, Defenders of Wildlife, The Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, Amigos Bravos