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Aquatic species are imperiled by water diversions, introduced species, pollution and now climate change. In the western U.S., water law rewards the withdrawal and use of water, rather than leaving water instream for ecological, recreational and other purposes. New Mexico has no statutory protections for environmental flows and is increasing its diversions of water from rivers. This paper discusses the status of instream flows in the state and proposes policies to better protect the state’s waters.

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