spring 2013

Noticias de las Acequias
New Mexico Acequia Association
March 2014
The Rio Arriba County Food & Agriculture Council's 3rd Annual Conference: "Aqui y Alla: Increasing NM Small Farm Production, and Food Hub Crop Aggregation for Local Markets

Recap of the 2014 Legislative Session
Paula Garcia
The 2014 legislative session has come to a close. The New Mexico Acequia Association would like to thank those who tirelessly advocated for acequia priorities and supported NMAA throughout the legislative process. Below is a recap of the 2014 legislative session as it relates to acequia priorities:


Acequias were listed as a statewide priority in the Capital Outlay bill for the first time ever. The NMAA has been working toward this for the past few years. There is a line item for a block of $2 million for acequia projects, which is in addition to the projects funded by individual legislators. It's important that you PLEASE CALL THE GOVERNOR AND ASK HER TO SUPPORT ACEQUIA FUNDING (505-476-2200)! If you have an individual capital outlay appropriation, be sure to mention that also. The list of Capital Outlay can be found HERE (on page 15).


In summary, this is the funding for acequias and acequia programs:

  •    $1.475 million in Capital Outlay funding to the Interstate Stream Commission for individual acequia projects
  •    $2.0 million in Capital Outlay funding to the Interstate Stream Commission to plan, design, and construct acequia projects statewide.
  •    $130,000 in additional funding which would bring up base budget to around $680,000 for the Acequia and Community Ditch Fund (ACDF) at NMDA.
  •    $275,000 in funding for the Acequia and Community Ditch Education Program at DFA. And the funding for the New Mexico Acequia Commission was increased to $49,500.


The Capital Outlay bill (HB 55) includes $1.475 million for individual acequia projects and an additional $2 million to plan, design, and construct acequia projects statewide. The NMAA will be providing technical assistance as needed to acequias to ensure that they complete the DFA questionnaire and meet the various eligibility requirements to obtain Capital Outlay funds including completion of required audits and financial reports. Additionally, NMAA will work very closely with the Interstate Stream Commission and the New Mexico Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts to ensure that acequia projects are well planned for design and construction that can be supported with the $2 million Capital Outlay appropriation.


In the General Appropriations Act (SB 313), there are two acequia programs:

  •  Acequia and Community Ditch Fund (ACDF) at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. An additional $130,000 was added to the base budget of NMDA in SB 313. The base amount in NMDA's budget last fiscal year was around $550,000 and the additional funds will restore the fund close to previous levels. The purpose of the ACDF is to ensure that acequias have fair legal representation in the water right adjudication process. This fund has been essential in the protection of thousands of families throughout the state where adjudication has been completed or is in progress.
  • Acequia and Community Ditch Education Program at the Local Government Division of the Department of Finance and Administration. The purpose of this program is to improve acequia governance through community education and technical assistance. The NMAA has worked under contract with DFA since 2007 to provide these services and has assisted over 400 acequias with bylaws, infrastructure planning, and compliance with state laws such as the Audit Rule and the Open Meetings Act. Additional funding was requested to respond to growing needs to address water management and drought as well as the eligibility requirements for Capital Outlay including financial reporting and audits.

Once again, we'd like to thank those who helped achieve all that we did this legislative session. The NMAA will continue to work toward its policy goals and will keep folks informed throughout the year. 

Acequia Day at the Roundhouse
Quita Ortiz
The New Mexico Acequia Association was pleased to host Acequia Day at the New Mexico State Legislature in mid-February. The purpose was to engage acequia leaders on the legislative process, as well as to garner support and awareness surrounding a memorial (SM 57 and HM 68) recognizing acequias for centuries of water management in New Mexico and commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the New Mexico Acequia Association.

We had over 40 participants including youth from Jemez, Chamisal, and La Tierra Montessori School students from the Espaņola Valley. The group gathered for an overview of the day's events and a summary of the following steps in the legislative process. We were honored to have been visited by Representative Nick Salazar who dropped in to showcase his ongoing support of acequias (see photo below).  


Following the morning orientation, the participants dispersed into smaller groups for tours of the Roundhouse, meeting their legislators to review acequia budget priorities and Capital Outlay requests. They then went over to the galleries of the House and Senate to observe the floor sessions and add their support for the acequia memorial. Several were given a seat of honor on the rostrum on the floors of the house and senate.  


"El agua es vida. That's the battle-cry of acequias and it's true to its word," said Senate Memorial sponsor Carlos Cisneros following the reading of SM 57. The memorial was intended acknowledge and support local water management by acequias and commemorate NMAA's 25th year. Following remarks by Senator Cisneros, other Senators took the opportunity to speak of their support for the memorial.  


Senator Richard Martinez said, "It's a very important issue in my district and we need to make sure we protect our acequias and our water." Senator Morales added, "I also want to recognize that acequias are political subdivisions of the state and we need to respect their role as a government. The acequias have been able to show just how important they are to the state."  Senator Padilla also supported the memorial, "Water is so incredibly important to the state of New Mexico. I grew up on food that came from the life that the acequia brought to the community."


On the House side, Representative Carl Trujillo sponsored the memorial, which was well-received and garnered support by many of his fellow representatives. The memorial passed both the House and Senate, and NMAA would like to extend a gracious appreciation for those legislators and supporters who helped to usher its success.  

NM Food and Farms Day
NMAA staff participated in Food and Farms Day at the Legislature on January 29th. A number of organizations came together to support various legislative priorities including acequia, farming and agriculture issues.

The New Mexico Grown Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for School Meals is being considered by the Governor as part of the 2014 Budget.  A total of $240,000 in recurring funds is included in the 2014 Budget. This investment, if signed by Governor Martinez, translates to additional servings of fresh fruits and vegetables for New Mexico students. What the Healthy Kids, Healthy Economy Initiative can do:
  • Enhance the diets of school children, promoting healthier lifestyles and increasing academic achievement.  Studies show healthy nutrition improves child well-being and learning ability.
  • Provide school nutrition programs with funding to purchase local produce from New Mexico farmers.
  • Strengthen an emerging agricultural sector in New Mexico - small and medium size fruit and vegetable farmers-will gain a new market and increase their chances to stay on the land.
  • Increasing economic farming opportunities will help to maintain family farming and conserve the unique heritage and cultural traditions of New Mexico.
A major priority for the 2014 legislative session is NM-Grown Produce for School Meals, HB81 and SB143, appropriation request for $1.44 million. To learn more click here.

Also, there's a wonderful article about this crucial appropriation request by KUNM.  


Santa Fe National Forest Plan Revision Process
In the coming months, the Santa Fe National Forest will be hosting three types of public meetings as we begin the Forest Plan Revision process. We hope that you will be able to join us for a meeting that interests you.
  • Organizing for Public Participation Workshops,
    March 11 in Espaņola and March 12 in Santa Fe, 9am-4pm. This workshop is a venue for us to learn from each other what makes for successful collaboration, and to begin to develop a public participation strategy for Forest Plan Revision.
  • Forest Plan Revision Assessment Meetings - Various locations in April and May 2014. These two-hour meetings will 1) provide information about the Forest Plan Revision process and how it may affect you and 2) provide an opportunity for the public to contribute to the assessment of social, environmental, and economic conditions and trends affecting our forest.
  • Technical Workshop on the Assessment - April 30 in Santa Fe, 9am-12pm. This session is a more technical and in-depth, half-day meeting on the assessment of conditions and trends affecting out forest. It will include general information about Forest Plan Revision, but will focus on specifics related to Chapter 10 of the Forest Service Draft 2012 Planning Rule Directives. Chapter 10 of the Draft Directives includes guidance on key topics that should be considered in the assessment report. 

Please review the flyers for more information about these meetings, as well as FAQs about public participation events. For the latest information about the Santa Fe National Forest's Plan  Revision effort, please visit www.fs.fed.us/goto/SantaFeForestPlan.


The Santa Fe National Forest also wants to thank everyone who attended the small-group listening sessions in January and February. We had over 250 people attend between the Carson and the Santa Fe National Forests and we appreciate your interest and time. Please see the attached FAQ for details about the forthcoming summary of these listening sessions. 


If you have any questions please get in touch with the Forest Plan Revision Core Team at 505-438-5442 or at SantaFeForestPlan@fs.fed.us.  

Listening Session on Local & Regional Food Systems
Representatives from seven USDA agencies that are engaged in developing local and regional food systems will participate in a Stakeholders Listening Session on local and regional food provisions in the Agricultural Act of 2014. The USDA is interested in hearing the thoughts of farmers/ranchers/producers on the implementation process and the impact it will have on the communities that  they serve. Below is are the details:

Date:  Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Time:  12:00 to 1:00 eastern time

Place:  Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 107-A

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave SW

Washington, DC 20250


Attendees are welcomed to call into the listening session. An RSVP is required by 5pm on Monday, March 10. Please email your RSVP to lapasrpt@wdc.usda.gov indicating if you will be calling in so that you can be provided with the call-in number. If you have any questions please contact lapasrpt@wdc.usda.gov 

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Parciante and Supporter Memberships are $20/year and includes a quarterly newsletter subscription. Membership for an Acequia is $40/year including a newsletter subscription for all four officers.


The NMAA is a charitable, educational non-profit organization that relies on membership contributions and foundations for its general operating expenses. We rely on folks who join as members and to contribute membership dues and donations to support our work. It has never been more important to have a united front to protect our acequias and strengthen our food and agricultural traditions.


Technical Assistance 



The NMAA offers technical assistance on Acequia Governance and USDA programs for landowners. If any of these questions apply to you or your acequia, please submit a Request for Technical Assistance.

Event Calendar  

Stay up to date on various events and meetings by visiting www.lasacequias.org/calendar

Aqui y Alla:  

Rio Arriba County Food and Agriculture Council   

"Increasing NM Small Farm Production,
and Food Hub Crop Aggregation for Local Markets"


Saturday, March 15th
San Pedro
Community Center
San Pedro, NM
Registration at 7:30am


For more info email foodcouncil@lifeboatfoods.com, or call Roberta Morfin at 505-753-7774

Open Meeting Act & Inspection of Public Records Act Workshop  


Friday, March 21st
City Hall
City Council Chambers Rm
Espaņola, NM


This workshop, hosted by the New Mexico Attorney General Gary King's office, is designed to assist with Open Meetings Act compliance and Inspection of Public Records Act compliance. Both workshops are designed to provide assistance to local governments, members of government boards and commissions, and the general public.

Though the training is offered to you at NO CHARGE, we do ask that you RSVP to the Civil Division's La Verne Roller at lroller@nmag.gov or 505-827-6063

Acequia Museum Exhibit Opening 

Saturday, May 3rd
Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, UNM
Albuquerque, NM

  The exhibit is based on research being carried out by scientists and scholars across several disciplines and from several institutions, including NMSU, UNM, NM Tech, Sandia, and the New Mexico Acequia Association.


 For more contact NMAA at (505) 995-9644.  

AgriFuture Educational Institute    

The event will feature: 


* Tours of agribusinesses
* Breakout sessions with industry leaders
* Mentor dinners with industry leaders
* Networking opportunities to connect with others who, like yourself, represent the next wave of farmers, ranchers, and others in American agriculture
May 12th - 14th   
Albuquerque, NM  

American Friends Service Committee

Job Opening   

TITLE: New Mexico Administrative Coordinator


SUPERVISOR: New Mexico Program Co-Director for Administration

LOCATION: Albuquerque, NM

For more info visit the AFSC employment page.


Railyard Earth Day Event   


"HOME, Earth Day at the Railyard" event is a large-scale community engagement project envisioned by a growing coalition of local groups involved in education, restoration, conservation, multi-arts, and social and environmental justice. 
Saturday, April 26 
12:00 to 4:00pm
Santa Fe, NM 
For more info visit the HOME website