New Mexico rivers second most impacted by development


Of all the rivers in the West, New Mexico's are the second most altered by dams, abandoned mines and development in floodplains.

A new report released last Wednesday (Feb. 7) says that 63 percent of all rivers in New Mexico have been modified in some way. "When broken down by size, 94 percent of all major rivers, 56 percent of all smaller streams and rivers, and 46 percent of all headwaters are altered."

The news about New Mexico's rivers and streams comes from a new analysis conducted by the Center for American Progress, a major left-leaning think tank, and Conservation Science Partners.

"Every river and every community is different, but we need to heed the warnings we see in this report about stresses on our rivers - including climate change, development, and abandoned mines," said Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat with strong ties to local environmentalists for his efforts to keep and strengthen protections for public waters and lands, such as the Río Grande and the Río Grande del Norte National Monument, respectively.

"New Mexico has the smallest percentage of protected areas within its boundaries of all 11 Western states. This relatively low amount of protection for lands within the state is a driving reason that New Mexico has the second most altered rivers in the West," the report read.

Visit to view the "Disappearing Rivers" report and data.