Although COVID-19 will prevent gathering in person, the pandemic won’t stop the Gila River Festival from meeting virtually to celebrate New Mexico’s last wild river. The 16th Annual Gila River Festival will take place online September 18 and 19, 2020 and will explore how we cultivate resilience in our communities and ecological systems in the […]
Ten years ago the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission came to town to organize local support for a Gila River diversion and storage project. After three failed attempts to dam and divert the Gila over the past 50 years, the ISC was in the process of cutting a deal with Arizona for Gila River water and federal funding. Hearing of the ISC scheme, local conservation groups, including GRIP, sprang into action. Realizing that this time around, with talk of a federal subsidy for a project, the outcome for the Gila could be different. GRIP, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance (UGWA) and Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) came together to resurrect the Gila Conservation Coalition (GCC). GCC historically operated as an informal group of volunteers. Reading the tea leaves, GRIP and its partners decided GCC needed organizational support and the ability to fundraise to defeat this latest threat to the Gila. GRIP serves as GCC’s fiscal agent and provides office space. GRIP, UGWA, and CBD all provide staff to GCC’s efforts. GCC partners have been successful in opening up the AWSA planning process to all stakeholders and getting a wide range of non-diversion projects on the table for consideration. GCC continues to advocate for cost-effective non-diversion alternatives to meet southwestern New Mexico’s water needs while maintaining the free flow of the Gila River.