Protect Threatened Birds in New Mexico's Pristine Gila River Area

Threatened birds like the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo and the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher need your help. Their habitat is being threatened by a questionable large-scale diversion project that could destroy the river they depend on for survival.

New Mexico's Gila River is a biological gem that boasts one of the highest concentrations of breeding birds in the country. We have until November 23rd to pressure Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to reject the devastating diversion proposal and save the Gila River once and for all.

Here are the facts:

  • The diversion would cause irreparable ecological damage to a living river system that is home to more than 300 species of birds. 
  • The diversion is fiscally irresponsible. The federal subsidy available to New Mexico for the project will pay for only a small fraction of the construction cost, leaving a gap of up to $900+ million for taxpayers and water users to cover.
  • The project is unnecessary because the area's long-term water needs can be met by other proven means.

Tell Secretary Jewell that you oppose this proposal and want the Gila River protected once and for all! 

Dear Secretary Jewell, 

I am writing to ask you to protect New Mexico's last free-flowing river from harmful water diversions. Rather than continuing to rely on wasteful dams and diversion projects of the past, we must develop better strategies that use our precious water resources more efficiently, while preserving the health of the rivers so critical to the American West's quality of life, recreation, economy, and wildlife.

The New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and the local New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity are currently considering a large diversion project authorized by the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA) to take Gila River water and pump it over the Continental Divide to farms and urban areas, such as Deming and Las Cruces.

This is the fourth attempt to dam and divert this iconic southwestern river, and the current plan is fatally flawed like its predecessors.

The Gila River is a biological gem and a mainstay for the area's recreation economy, such as birding, fishing, hunting, and boating. A diversion would harm the Gila's endangered fish and birds and the outdoor recreation opportunities that depend on the river's health.

Moreover, this diversion would be extremely expensive and unaffordable--costing more than $1 billion and forcing taxpayers and water users to finance $900M+ not covered by the AWSA federal subsidy. Using tax dollars to destroy a river and pay for a project that is unaffordable is not in the public interest.

The good news is an expensive Gila River diversion is unnecessary. Southwest New Mexico's water needs can be met cost effectively by using water more wisely through such measures as municipal and agricultural conservation, sustainable groundwater management, water recycling, and watershed restoration.

Please support non-diversion alternatives for meeting southwest New Mexico’s future water needs and save the Gila River once and for all.

[Your comment here]

Sincerely,

[Your name here]

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