Heinrich Seeks Secure, Sustained Funding For Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species And Tribal Partnership Programs, Acequia Infrastructure Needs

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) participated in a hearing for the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development to review the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Submission for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

VIDEO: Heinrich Weighs In During Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Hearing [HD DOWNLOAD LINK HERE

In the hearing, Senator Heinrich emphasized how the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Program provides New Mexico with irreplaceable conservation data, support for the recovery of endangered species, protection for existing and future water uses. Senator Heinrich expressed his gratitude that the Biden administration is restoring funding for the FY22 budget after the previous administration stripped funding for FY21. Jamie Pinkham, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, responded to Senator Heinrich’s comments, noting that he is “looking forward to working with [Senator Heinrich] on a solution” to identify a more secure, sustained source for future funding. 

Senator Heinrich also pointed out that the FY22 budget request for the Tribal Partnership Program (TPP), sitting at $175,000, is low in comparison to the increasing number of Tribes that are seeking participation. The TPP allows tribal communities throughout New Mexico to effectively plan for future development as well as protect their land from overdevelopment and flooding.

Senator Heinrich is calling for increased attention to the TPP program to promote environmental justice and key partnership opportunities with Tribal communities. 

Senator Heinrich is also asking that the administration recognize the importance of acequia infrastructure needs and that “in the 1986 Water Resources Development Act, Congress declared that restoration and preservation of these engineering works has cultural and historic value and authorized critical funding for acequia infrastructure.”

Senator Heinrich looks forward to working with the Biden administration to meet funding needs for acequias and address the cultural impact of this issue in New Mexico.