The Rio Grande, the Pecos, the Gila, the San Juan, the Canadian—New Mexico’s rivers are synonymous with the state’s culture and natural heritage. New Mexicans overwhelmingly care about the health of the state’s rivers and that includes flows to support fish and river dependent wildlife. Rivers, wetlands, and riparian areas comprise a very small part of our landscape—a mere 1 percent. This 1 percent plays an essential role in renewing the state’s water supply for its two million residents; for sustaining the state’s second largest industry—tourism; for producing food and fiber; and for sustaining New Mexico’s web of life. Eighty percent of all sensitive vertebrate species in New Mexico use riparian or aquatic habitats at some time during their life cycle. Two-thirds of the state’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs) can be found along our rivers, which provide critical breeding, wintering, and stepping stone habitat during continental migration. For many New Mexicans, our rivers are considered sacred arteries that feed deep cultural connections to the land. For others, our rivers provide significant amenity and recreational values.

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2011, updated 2013 by Adrian Oglesby. Contributors: Gary Esslinger, Steve Harris, Josh Mann, and Laura Ziemer.



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