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Urban Waters Partnership

Urban Waters and the Middle Rio Grande/Albuquerque (New Mexico)

Like many western river ecosystems, the Middle Rio Grande faces numerous challenges balancing competing needs within a finite water supply and resource constrains. Historical practices by tribes and immigrants to the Middle Rio Grande established the conditions residents have inherited. Exacerbated by climate change, long-term drought is changing conditions that affect natural and human communities as we strive to improve our precious Rio Grande.

The Middle Rio Grande/Albuquerque Urban Waters Federal Partnership will reconnect our urban communities, particularly overburdened or economically distressed communities, with the waterway. The partnership will do this by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community-led revitalization efforts.

These projects will improve the communities’ water systems and promote economic, environmental and social benefits. Specifically, the Middle Rio Grande/Albuquerque Urban Waters Federal Partnership will support:

  • The development of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, the first urban refuge in the Southwest
  • Numerous restoration projects along the Middle Rio Grande/Albuquerque
  • A pilot watershed-based storm water management program
  • A climate change project and transportation and economic development initiatives in the South Valley
Since its inception in 2013, the Middle Rio Grande Urban Waters Partnership was coordinated by local representatives from Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as co-leads. During a strategic planning session in 2019, the partnership decided on a new leadership structure in the form of a Steering Committee. 

Steering Committee Members:

Non-profit Organization
The Nature Conservancy, Sarah Hurteau

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Jordan Stone

City/State/County Agency           
City of Albuquerque – BioPark, JT Jones
Bernalillo County, Dan McGregor

New Mexico State Forestry, Jennifer Dann

Federal Agency
USFWS Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Katie McVey
USGS, Rebecca Travis

List of Partners

Federal Government

  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • US Bureau of Reclamation
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • US Department of Transportation
  • US Economic Development Administration
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • US Geological Survey
  • US Indian Health Service
  • US National Park Service
  • US National Weather Service

Tribal Partners

  • Pueblo of Cochiti
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Pueblo of San Felipe
  • Pueblo of Sandia
  • Pueblo of Santa Ana

State Partners

  • NM Department of Game and Fish
  • NM Department of Transportation
  • NM Environment Department
  • NM Interstate Stream Commission
  • NM State Land Office
  • NM State Forestry Division
  • NM State Parks Division

Subdivisions of the State

  • Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority
  • Mid-Region Council of Governments

Local Partners

  • City of Albuquerque
  • County of Bernalillo
  • City of Rio Rancho
  • City of Bernalillo
  • Ciudad Soil & Water Conservation District

Local Partnership Workplan

Middle Rio Grande Designation Story