New Mexico Water eNews


January 2020

Meet the Researcher

Meet Raven Goswick, Research Engineer,
Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

by Jeanette Torres, NM WRRI Program Coordinator

Raven Goswick is a Research Engineer at the Petroleum Recovery Research Center (PRRC) located at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT) in Socorro, NM. She is presently working with the Reservoir Evaluation and Advanced Computational Technologies group and is involved in several key projects including the NM Universities Produced Water Synthesis Group, Southwest Regional Partnership Farnsworth Unit, and New Mexico Oil Conservation Division spill reports. Goswick believes the most important aspect of her role is creating more partnerships with industry and the PRRC. She is an experienced user of hydraulic fracture modeling software (FRACPRO, GOHFER, MSHALE, and WELLCAT), and has expertise in well operations and geomechanics/rock mechanics with her current research focusing on the subcritical fracturing in rocks.

Raven received BS and MS degrees from NMT in petroleum engineering in 2004 and engineering mechanics with an emphasis in solid mechanics in 2006, respectively. She is currently pursuing a PhD in petroleum engineering at NMT with an anticipated graduation date of 2021. She first began her research career as a teaching assistant for NMT in 2005, allowing her the opportunity to apply her skills firsthand in a solid and fluid mechanics undergraduate lab. From there, she became a Reservoir and Completions Engineer for Encana Oil and Gas, Inc., where she assisted her team in understanding the importance of shale resources in geomechanics by creating Frac Models in MSHALE software to simulate fracture designs and mechanical properties. These experiences enabled Raven to take on the role of Senior Completions Engineer for several businesses over the years including the Apache Corporation, Devon Energy, and Sable Permian Resources. This line of work required her to supervise field operations, maintain a strict budget for each project and determine completion efficiency. She also designed and implemented numerous hydraulic fracture stimulation programs in order to better understand the effects of fracture heights and containment. Goswick became the Principal Engineer for Cricondenbar Consulting, LLC in Oklahoma City, OK, offering engineering consulting services on completion design, reservoir characterization, and wellbore construction before ultimately reaching her current position at NMT in 2019.

Read entire article by clicking here.

Field trip participants inspect erosion damage where water has cut away the earth revealing tabosa grass roots.

Rincon Arroyo Watershed Field Trip 
by Holly Brause, NM WRRI Research Scientist 

When dealing with complex water-related problems, it is often difficult to bring individuals and agencies with different perspectives and goals together to work toward a common goal. The Rincon Arroyo Watershed Field Trip, however, showed that finding common ground, and working collaboratively on creative solutions, is indeed possible and a desired goal for many in this region.

On the morning of January 22, 2020, a group of people met at the Firehouse in Rincon, NM and received a bound booklet full of maps, photos, and plans that included a preliminary watershed analysis and identified the most pressing problems in the Rincon Arroyo Watershed with some possible solutions. The field trip was sponsored by the South Central New Mexico Stormwater Management Coalition (Stormwater Coalition). The Stormwater Coalition is comprised of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, Doña Ana and Sierra County Flood Commissions, the Hatch and Mesilla Valley region’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the City of Anthony, and Village of Hatch. For the Rincon Arroyo Watershed Field Trip, the Stormwater Coalition brought together participants from agencies such as the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Bureau of Land Management and its Resource Advisory Council, the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, the International Boundary and Water Commission, and along with local farmers and ranchers.

Read entire article by clicking here.

FY2020 RFP Available USGS 104g
by Carolina Mijares, NM WRRI Program Manager

The U.S. Geological Survey has announced March 19, 2020, 5:00 pm EST, as the deadline for proposals associated with its Water Resources Research National Competitive Grants Program.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please contact NM WRRI Director Sam Fernald (575-646-4337; or Carolina Mijares (575-646-7991; as soon as possible. The proposal and budget should be reviewed by NM WRRI no later than
March 12, 2020.

RFP available at:

The U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Institutes for Water Resources requests proposals for matching grants to support research on the topics expanding and enhancing the use of hydrologic monitoring data monitoring to support advanced modeling tools, exploration and advancement of our understanding of changes in the quantity and quality of water resources, development and evaluation of processes and governance mechanisms that advance the science of ecological flows, and exploration and advancement of our understanding of harmful algae blooms (HABs). Any investigator at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States is eligible to apply for a grant through a Water Research Institute or Center established under the provisions of the Water Resources Research Act of 1984, as amended (

Proposals involving substantial collaboration between the USGS and university scientists are encouraged. Proposals may be for projects of 1 to 3 years in duration and may request up to $250,000 in federal funds. Successful applicants must match each dollar of the federal grant with one dollar from non-federal sources. Applications (including complete proposals) to the National Competitive Grants Program Announcement FY2020 must be submitted to the internet site at no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Time, March 19, 2020 by the university at which the Institute or Center is located. Funds have not yet been appropriated for this program for FY2020. The Government's obligation under this program is contingent upon the availability of funds.

NMSU Student Receives NM WRRI Student Water
Research Grant

by Marcus Gay, NM WRRI Student Program Coordinator

After the Gold King Mine spill of 2015 that contaminated the Animas and San Juan Rivers, local agricultural producers were concerned about the safety of produce grown in fields irrigated with water from these rivers. In order for the farmers throughout the Animas and San Juan watershed to know their produce is safe, a thorough investigation of toxic metals contamination was needed.

The examination of whether toxic metals are present in produce in order to inform growers and consumers about food safety is the subject of a research project by Michael Whiting, a master’s student in the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. In support of this research, Michael received a 2019 New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute Student Water Research Grant for his project entitled, Monitoring toxic metal uptake by corn grown in agricultural fields across Animas and San Juan Rivers.

The purpose of Michael’s research is to analyze and monitor the levels of lead, arsenic, and aluminum in corn samples harvested from agricultural fields irrigated from the Animas and San Juan Rivers. The soil, leaf tissue, and corn kernels are then analyzed for toxic elements which are not required in any amount for human nutrition. This is particularly important because corn is a staple crop in the region, especially in the Navajo Nation.

Read entire article by clicking here.

New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute Passes United States Geological Survey Review
by Jeanette Torres, NM WRRI Program Coordinator

The New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) was recently reviewed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) under the provisions of the Water Resources Research Act (WRRA) of 1984, as amended. The Act requires the activities of the 54 Institutes/Centers be evaluated periodically, and determines whether the Institute qualifies for matching grant funding to assist with research, education, information transfer, and other daily operations.

The results of this evaluation were excellent, and NM WRRI is eligible for continued support due to its significant impacts on local water management and strong collaborations with state and federal agencies. The Institute was found to have a strong focus in utilizing its diverse advisory committee to create exceptional research programs to not only aid prominent issues of drought in New Mexico, but to also develop innovative strategies for community water management in hopes of providing a solution to water shortages across the state.

NM WRRI’s director, Dr. Alexander (Sam) Fernald, who joined the Institute in 2011, congratulates the NM WRRI faculty and staff as well as the research collaborators at New Mexico universities for their continued efforts in maintaining such high standards for the Institute and conducting such important research for New Mexico. The USGS Director of WRRA, Earl Greene, states that he looks forward to an active and mutually beneficial partnership with NM WRRI in the future.

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