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Photo Credit: Adriel Heisey

Protect the Rio Grande – revive America’s Great River

A River Stretched Beyond Its Means

The third-longest river in the United States, the Rio Grande is vital to the history of the desert southwest. It is, literally and figuratively, the lifeblood of the region. Like any living thing, the Rio has a pulse. When that pulse dies, those who depend on the Rio as an ecological, cultural, and economic engine suffer.

The Rio’s pulse is dwindling for a variety of reasons. People take more water from the river than the river has to give, something that archaic water law continues to allow. Dams and other infrastructure, meant to stretch water supplies further, inhibit the river’s snowmelt-driven spring flows. And climate change spells disaster for the Rio and those who depend on it.

Studying and restoring the Rio’s flows; tearing down dams and other obstacles that sabotage these flows; and rethinking water storage will help to revive America’s Great River. The Rio has no time to lose.

Protect Rio Grande Flows for Future Generations

Send a message to Senator Udall thanking him for his support protecting flows in the Rio Grande and ask him to help secure funding for a study of necessary flows to ensure a truly Wild and Scenic Rio Grande Gorge.

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What We’re Doing

Photo Credit: Adriel Heisey

Let It Flow
Restoring flows to the Rio Grande

We are advocating for a long-overdue study of flows necessary to protect landscapes, geology, recreational opportunities, and fish habitat in the Rio Grande gorge from the Colorado-New Mexico state line through Taos. Read our vision.

Photo Credit: Steve Valasek

Tear It Down
Remove or modify dams and other obstacles to flow

We are litigating to ensure that unnecessary infrastructure—including dams, levees, and other man-made obstacles—does not prevent large-scale restoration of the Rio and its vast floodplain in the Tiffany Basin south of Socorro, New Mexico. Read the release.

Photo Credit: Adriel Heisey

Rethinking the Rio
Reconsider water storage in the river

In a recent report, we found that 50,000 acre-feet (in a dry year) and 85,000 acre-feet (in an average year) of water could be conserved if the water stored in the river’s low-elevation reservoirs was instead stored upstream. This would provide significant flexibility to connect river flows when the river needs water the most. Read the report.

We Are All Neighbors Along the Rio Grande

To protect the river as a whole, we must join together in a basin-wide community.

Read More

Photo Credit: Jen Pelz

How You Can Help

Help revive and restore rivers and all the species that depend on them! Be a guardian for rivers by joining the conversation, learning about current issues, and making your voice heard. Together, we're a powerful force for nature.

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Rio Grande Waterkeeper

A purposeful partnership between WildEarth Guardians and Waterkeeper Alliance, Rio Grande Waterkeeper protects and restores flows in the iconic Rio Grande to ensure life is sustained throughout the Basin for generations to come.

Photo Credit: Adriel Heisey

WildEarth Guardians

WildEarth Guardians works to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West.

Waterkeeper Alliance

Waterkeeper Alliance and its member organizations work to protect swimmable, drinkable, and fishable waterways throughout the world.

Recent Stories From Rivers

rio grande los lunas jen pelz wildearth guardians

The Rio Grande is dying and only a new compact will save her

July 10, 2018

This piece was published in the Denver Post on July 6, 2018

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“The river calling me…”

May 22, 2018

Surrendering to the flow of the Colorado River and the majesty of the Grand Canyon

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Dammed if you don’t
Feb 21, 2018
rio grande adriel heisey WildEarth Guardians

Why the Rio Grande’s flows matter

January 1, 2018

The Rio Grande, America’s Great River, is running out of water. That’s a major cause for concern for a number of reasons.

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Rivers Press

Guardians Files Appeal Seeking Accountability for the Rio Grande

Oct 10, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M.—WildEarth Guardians filed a notice of appeal yesterday in the New Mexico Court of Appeals seeking to force the State Engineer to protect flows in the Rio Grande by requiring accountability for the unrestrained water use of the Middle Rio

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All Rivers Press Releases

The Rio Grande is dying and only a new compact will save her

The Denver Post | Jul 9, 2018

The Rio Grande is dying. The death of a river, anywhere, is sad and alarming. When that river is the lifeblood of a vast region, it is nothing short of tragic. The causes are both ancient and modern: climate change, ignorance, politics and greed.

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All Rivers Op-Eds

WildEarth Guardians appeals ruling on Middle Rio Grande District water diversion

Santa Fe New Mexican | Oct 10, 2018

The conservation group WildEarth Guardians says it seeks “to protect what’s left of the flows in the Rio Grande” by continuing to challenge the legal basis for water diversions by irrigators in Central New Mexico.

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All Rivers In the News

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