New Mexico Delegation Announces $3.6 Million for Watershed Restoration in Harding County

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce (R-N.M.)Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) announced a grant of $3.6 million for the Canadian River Riparian Restoration Project (CRRRP) in Harding County to help restore important watersheds of Northeastern New Mexico. The grant has been awarded by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to help the CRRRP increase native grasslands in the area by removing invasive plant species to limit soil degradation and improve New Mexico's water quality and quantity in the Prairie Grasslands Region.

"In New Mexico, water is life, and the Canadian River Riparian Restoration Project has been working hard to ensure our most precious resource at the Canadian River is protected from soil erosion and water depletion to help us conserve our future water supplies and native grasslands in Northeastern New Mexico," Udall said. "I am so pleased that the delegation was able to help secure additional funds for this project to continue the important work of restoring the watersheds in the area. As a member  of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue fighting for funds that prioritize watershed management to help us protect our treasured resources for future generations."

“In the Southwest, water is the lifeblood of our economy and culture. Access to adequate clean water supports ranching, and ensures that our rivers can sustain native plants, fish, and wildlife,” said Heinrich. “By securing additional funds for the Canadian River Riparian Restoration Project, we can continue to restore native grasslands, preserve our fertile soil and protect our state’s vital watersheds.”

"New Mexico is blessed with scenic landscapes and an abundance of natural resources," Pearce said. "This is great news for the Canadian River Riparian Restoration Project and I applaud their continued efforts to preserve land in New Mexico for generations to come."

“Over the past 50 years, the encroachment of trees and shrubs into the grasslands of New Mexico has increased significantly. These trees consume significant amounts of water making it difficult for nearby grassland to thrive,” said Luján. “This RCPP grant will go a long way towards helping our state combat soil erosion, improve our watershed management, and ensure the long-term health of one of our state’s important natural resources. Congratulations to the Canadian River Riparian Restoration Project for their efforts in securing funding for this important project.”

“It is crucial that we restore and conserve New Mexico’s natural resources, including watershed restoration in Harding County," said Lujan Grisham. "This is one of many important projects designed to protect the precious water, soil, and grasslands of our beautiful state. I am dedicated to ensuring that our nation preserves rivers, wetlands, forests, and grasslands.”

The $3.6 million dollar grant was awarded by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service through its Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The Regional Partnership Program connects partners with producers and private landowners to design and implement voluntary conservation solutions.