New Mexico Water eNews


August 2017

NM WRRI’s 62nd Annual New Mexico Water Conference took place on August 14-16 at New Mexico Tech. A highlight of the conference was a conversation between Brad Udall (left) and Senator Tom Udall (center), moderated by NM WRRI Director Sam Fernald (right). View the Udall conversation and other panel discussions on the conference website. Speaker slides are also posted on the website. (Photo provided by Senator Udall’s office)

Western Water: Lessons Learned from Tom and Brad Udall
by Office of Senator Tom Udall

Tom and Brad Udall are first cousins, although they and their five siblings each all grew up together “like brothers and sisters.” Tom is a U.S. Senator from New Mexico, and son of Stewart Udall who was Secretary of the Interior Department under President Kennedy. Brad is a water and climate change research scientist at Colorado State University, and son of Mo Udall who represented southern Arizona for decades in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Udalls engaged in a lively discussion at New Mexico WRRI’s annual conference moderated by Director Sam Fernald. The dialogue was laced with family stories, good humor, and serious discussion on our limited water resource in the arid Southwest. They each described their understanding of the water supply challenges we continue to face, especially in light of the present and future impacts of climate change.

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Jeremy Schallner sighting sampling locations.

NMSU Grad Student Monitoring Effects of Conservation Practices in the Rio Puerco Watershed
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

In a 2017 NM WRRI Student Water Research Grant project report entitled: "Effects of NRCS and BLM Conservation Practices on Plant and Soil Biological Communities and Hydrologic Processes in the Rio Puerco Watershed," Jeremy Schallner, master's degree candidate, in collaboration with faculty advisor Dr. Amy Ganguli, both in the Animal and Range Sciences Department at NMSU, summarize work done to date on monitoring the effects of conservation and management practices within the Rio Puerco Watershed.

This project involves a partnership between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and private landowners, with initial funding provided by the NRCS to develop methods for long-term monitoring of the plant and soil biological communities and associated hydrologic processes. It has encouraged a focus on fine-scale hydrological changes, with the potential to scale up to the watershed level as the project progresses.

Jeremy Schallner presented posters on his project this February at the Society for Range Management Conference in St. George, UT and in August at the 62nd Annual New Mexico Water Conference at New Mexico Tech. Jeremy’s final report is available on the NM WRRI website by clicking here.

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Meet the Researcher

Ricardo González-Pinzón, University of New Mexico
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

I had less difficulty in the discovery of motion of heavenly bodies in spite of their astonishing distances, than in the investigations of the movement of flowing water before our very eyes.                        Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642)

UNM Assistant Professor of Water Resources Engineering Ricardo González-Pinzón’s Center for Water and the Environment website opens with the above quote from Galileo. He goes on to describe why his lab studies water resources – “. . . to contribute knowledge that improves our understanding of how water connects ecosystems and people around the planet. Our research involves multiple disciplines, i.e., hydrology, hydraulics, aquatic ecology, chemistry, and mathematical and computational modeling. Despite our major expertise being in engineering and science, we proudly collaborate with water resources managers and policy makers.”

His research interests include hydrologic transport; stream ecology and nutrient processing; groundwater-surface water interactions; environmental hydrogeology; bioreactive and environmental tracers; mathematical and computational modeling of hydrologic systems; and fluid mechanics and hydraulics.

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NMSU’s Water Science & Management Graduate Program Kicks off Another Semester
by Jesslyn Ratliff, NM WRRI Program Specialist and Water Science & Management Student Program Coordinator

Water Science & Management (WSM) students and faculty came together on Friday, August 18, 2017 to kick off another semester at New Mexico State University (NMSU). New students were introduced and returning students got reacquainted. During the event, the students and faculty discussed research that was completed over the summer break and planned educational opportunities for the upcoming semester.

The interdisciplinary WSM program offers a master in science (MS) and a doctor of philosophy (PhD). Both degrees are designed to train researchers to meet current and emerging state, national, and international water challenges. Five academic departments take part in WSM to include Ag economics and Ag business; animal and range sciences; civil engineering; geography; and plant and environmental sciences. A five-faculty executive committee guides the WSM program. Members include Dr. Alexander (Sam) Fernald, Dr. Christopher Brown, Dr. Kenneth Carroll, Dr. Phillip King, and Dr. Frank Ward.

Thirty-four WSM students are enrolled at NMSU this fall semester. Twenty of those students are PhD students while fourteen are MS students. The students are a diverse group considering they come from Nigeria, Turkey, India, Ghana, Colombia, China, Mexico, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Taiwan, Florida, Iowa, Connecticut, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington.

The WSM program is currently accepting application from those who wish to begin spring 2018. The application deadline is October 1, 2017. You can get more information and apply by clicking here.

BGNDRF 10th Anniversary Desal-a-bration
September 12-13, 2017

by Randy Shaw, BGNDRF Facility Manager

The Bureau of Reclamation is proud to announce the BGNDRF 10th Anniversary Desal-a-bration, a two-day event beginning with a reception and tours at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12th. Speeches and presentations will begin at 5:30 p.m. Dignitaries and elected officials have been invited to share their thoughts and experiences during the past 10 years of BGNDRF and its future. It will be an educational evening celebrating the accomplishments and value of the facility in the development of brackish groundwater desalination and processes.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017, will begin with a lecture at 9 a.m. on water treatment technology for space by Michael Flynn, an expert from NASA. Another lecture will take place at 10:30 a.m. on emerging contaminants by Dr. Clinton Williams of the Department of Agriculture.

Later Wednesday afternoon, in an effort to highlight our successful focus on public outreach and education, we will be hosting regional FIRST Robotics and FIRST Lego League members. Their annual competition this year will have a water related theme. We are currently planning for 300 students, mostly 4th to 8th graders, to attend.

If you would like to attend any of the activities, you can pick up a free ticket at the Eventbrite website by clicking here. Blocks of hotel rooms were reserved for the event until 9/1. Contact me soon if you would like more information at

NM WRRI supported faculty received awards at the Fall 2017 NMSU Convocation. They include: Kenneth (KC) Carroll (first row, left), Catherine Brewer (first row, second from left), Pei Xu (first row, far right), and Salim Bawazir (second row, right). (NMSU photo by Andrés Leighton)

NM WRRI Congratulates NMSU Faculty Honorees
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

New Mexico State University honored its faculty and staff at the 2017 fall convocation ceremony Aug. 15 at NMSU’s Atkinson Recital Hall. Every fall
and spring, convocation is held to celebrate the start of a new semester.

Among the faculty honored were several who are participating on NM WRRI supported projects. KC Carroll, Catherine Brewer, Pei Xu, and Salim Bawazir have recently received various grants through the institute’s state funding, federal U.S. Geological Survey 104b base grant funding, a Cooperative Agreement between NMSU and the Bureau of Reclamation, and the federal Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program.

An article describing the honors presented at the convocation is available here.

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