NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Two groups in New Mexico were awarded funding through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for environmental water resource projects.

The Chama Peak Land Alliance will receive $3 million for ecological forest thinning on approximately 2,150 acres. This will protect source watersheds for Reclamation’s San Juan-Chama Project, the Rio Chama headwaters, and the Rio Brazos headwaters from the impacts of future wildfires, according to a news release from the Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation.

These watersheds supply crucial drinking water to the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and numerous tribes, Pueblos, and rural communities throughout New Mexico. In addition to threatening water supply infrastructure, a severe wildfire could cause water quality impairments, flooding erosion, and significant degradation of habitat for fish and wildlife.

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The Pueblo of Isleta will receive $2,487,942 to implement nature-based watershed restoration techniques to restore natural watershed function on an approximately 30,000 acre parcel of the Comanche Ranch and neighboring lands, in central New Mexico.

The Comanche Ranch comprises over 90,000 acres of public and private lands and is home to upwards of one hundred sacred ancestral sites, including an important cultural site, the Pottery Mound. The ranch forms an integral part of the Rio Puerco lower watershed, the primary source of sediment to the middle Rio Grande and Reclamation’s Elephant Butte Reservoir, according to the news release.

The Department of the Interior today announced a total of $51 million for 30 new environmental water resource projects in 11 states through the Bureau of Reclamation. “Adequate, resilient and safe water supplies are fundamental to the health, economy and security of every community in our nation,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “The Interior Department is focused on ensuring that funding through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is going to collaborative projects throughout the West that will benefit the American people.”

To learn more about the projects, click here.