New Mexico recognized with America the Beautiful Challenge grant

The San Juan River in New Mexico, part of the America the Beautiful Challenge grant
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The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) recently announced a substantial $141.3 million grant allocation through the America the Beautiful ChallengeOpens in a new tab. (ATBC). This funding, announced on November 14, is part of a large-scale effort that spans 46 states, three U.S. Territories, and 21 Tribal and Native Nations, aiming to bolster conservation projects nationwide. The ATBC is a collaborative effort involving various federal departments and Native American groups.  It is designed to conserve and restore wildlife habitats and improve community resilience and access to nature.

New Mexico’s Significant Role.

In New Mexico, the Interstate Stream Commission received a $4 million grant for a partnership project with the Jicarilla Apache Nation and The Nature ConservancyOpens in a new tab.. This grant focuses on the San Juan water lease agreement, which aims to support threatened and endangered fish while enhancing water security in the state.

A Collaborative Achievement.

The New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Jicarilla Apache Nation, and The Nature Conservancy expressedOpens in a new tab. their enthusiasm about the grant. They emphasized the significance of the San Juan River water sharing program in addressing the ongoing drought in the Colorado River Basin and its role in pioneering solutions that benefit multiple stakeholders. This project showcases how Tribal Nations and state governments can collaboratively develop innovative solutions for water management and conservation, setting an example for similar initiatives across the Western United States and beyond.

Indigenous Leadership in Conservation.

The ATBC has a strong focus on supporting Indigenous communities. About 40% of the 2023 grants will back projects led by Indigenous communities, a significant investment in Tribal-led initiatives. Native Americans in Philanthropy CEO Erik Stegman highlighted the critical role of Indigenous knowledge and leadership in addressing climate and biodiversity challenges.

Wider Impact and Future Prospects.

The ATBC grants, supported by various federal and private sources, demonstrate a commitment to addressing pressing environmental issues while fostering partnerships across different sectors. The New Mexico project, alongside other national initiativesOpens in a new tab., underscores the importance of collaborative, landscape-scale efforts in conservation and environmental stewardship.


The San Juan River near Navajo Dam, New MexicoOpens in a new tab.. This spot is between the community of Navajo Dam and the dam itself and is a popular fishing area.  August 2015, Phil Slattery.  Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license via Wikimedia Commons.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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