Brian Shields, 2014
Brian Shields, 
Executive Director

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Are You 
A Member? 

Columbine Hondo/ Big Horn Sheep

Casa Baca
Amigos Bravos Office

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Contact Info

Amigos Bravos
P.O. Box 238
105-A Quesnel Street
Taos, NM 87557


We value your feedback
regarding all aspect
of our work !

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Rachel Conn, 2014
Rachel Conn, Projects Director

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Would you like to 
support the preservation
of the cultural and 
ecological richness of 
New Mexico's waters? 

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Shannon Romeling, 2014
Shannon Romeling, Communications Director

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Fawn Romero, Volunteer

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Join our efforts
by becoming a member
or making a contribution to Amigos Bravos

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Vishu Magee, Member

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Mikki Anaya, Brian Shields, & Gaia Mika
Strategic Planning!

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Please consider taking a moment to


Like us on Facebook

and help us grow the 
commitment  that truly
cares about water!

 Dear Friends of New Mexico's Waters,
 Many thanks to each of you who donated to the Annual Challenge Match, in August and September. Together, we met the match at the last possible minute, which means we raised a total of $26,000 for the protection of New Mexico's waters, thanks to your support! Read on to learn about the recent projects your contributions are making possible.

This Issue: 
* Update on the Valle de Oro National Urban Wildlife Refuge in Albuquerque and what Amigos Bravos is doing to engage and empower South Valley young people to protect the waters in their own backyards.
* Update on Amigos Bravos' current work to hold Los Alamos National Lab accountable by insisting on new and more reliable monitoring wells, and a first-ever groundwater discharge permit for the Radioactive Liquid Waste  Treatment Facility at LANL.

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Rio Grande at Embudo
Valle de Oro National Urban Wildlife Refuge

Hispanic and low-income neighborhoods in Albuquerque's South Valley have suffered greatly from environmental justice, over the years. Last summer, conceptual designs and preliminary drawings - created from the imaginings of members of the community and the skills of landscape architects - were unveiled for the first national urban wildlife refuge in the southwest. Members of the community worked hard to raise support for the Refuge, located where an old dairy farm once existed. Purchase of the 570 acre site was made by the US Fish and Wild Life Service (USFWS), now managing the Refuge. In concert with the community's exciting vision, Amigos Bravos was granted the opportunity, through an EPA Urban Waters Grant, to work with schools and community members to monitor water quality in the Rio Grande, which flows alongside the Refuge. 

Wetlands @Valle de Oro
Valle de Oro Wetland

In mid-October, Brian Shields, Executive Director of Amigos Bravos, along with past Amigos Bravos Middle Rio Grande Projects Director, Michael Jensen, and new Amigos Bravos Urban Waters Coordinator, Christian LeJeune, met with USFWS and Talking Talons to strategize for how best to approach working with schools on water quality monitoring. (Talking Talons works "to elevate youth and the community to become effective advocates and ethical stewards of themselves, wildlife, habitats, and the environment.") Locations for monitoring ,along the Rio Grande and at riverside drains, were determined. Amigos Bravos will also be working with Earth Force. (EF "works with communities to support young people in finding their voice while assuming leadership roles in solving local environmental problems.") Twelve to fifteen classes of elementary through high school students in the South Valley will receive training and perform water quality monitoring. We  expect 25-140 students per training/monitoring trip and 20-25 trips. Amigos Bravos' aim is to gain a better understanding of impacts to water quality in the South Valley from stormwater events. We are particularly concerned about PCBs.

Amigos Bravos is looking for additional volunteers in the Albuquerque area for our water quality monitoring efforts at Valle de Oro. Interested community members will be trained to take water quality samples on a routine basis, as well as immediately following stormevents. For more information, contact Christian LeJeune: info@wetwaterES.com. Please put "Volunteer, Valle de Oro" in the subject heading. 

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Amigos Bravos & Communities for Clean Water
Holding Los Alamos National Laboratory Accountable
A large part of Amigos Bravos' work over the past year has involve continued focus on stopping water contamination at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). One way we do that is through the permitting process. Permits, which both restrict and allow pollution, determine just how much pollution is acceptable. Currently, LANL is claiming that the reason they are failing to meet water quality standards at many of the 400 sites regulated under their Individual Industrial Storm Water Permit is due to pollution runoff from urban sources. In response to LANL's claim, Amigos Bravos filed a petition with EPA to require that LANL's storm water discharges be fully controlled through the issuance of a Municipal Separate  Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. The MS4 permit will address more generalized pollution of urban  runoff at LANL and will stop contaminants like copper, PCBs, and zinc from discharging into canyons on the Parajito Plateau and ultimately into the Rio Grande. We used LANL's own data, data they collected, to argue that a new storm water permit is required to stop polluted runoff.

Amigos Bravos, along with our partners from CCW, have been meeting with LANL, NMED, and DOE about a new Individual Industrialized Storm Water Permit. LANL needs a renewal of their permit and we are utilizing the knowledge and expertise we have developed in watchdogging the first permit to advocate for a more effective permit during this renewal process. 

Meanwhile, Amigos Bravos, along with our partners from CCW (Citizens for Clean Water), has been renegotiating a groundwater discharge permit for LANL's Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility. The permit has been in the making for over 20 years. Amigos Bravos is concerned about a number of issues, including adequate monitoring, the process by which the facility will be eventually closed down and cleaned up, and financial assurance that closure will be done correctly and the tax payer will not be left having to pay the bill. Through our negotiations, we've been able to establish the need to drill new, scientifically sound, monitoring wells  - and, we've been able to secure the right for citizen participation in how the wells will be drilled, with the aim of ensuring that resulting data will be valid.

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Lake Fork Peak
Kachina Peak, by Brian Shields



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