May 22-24, 2024 | Ghost Ranch, NM

This event is by invitation only

Registration is Closed

The intent of these workshops is to provide opportunities and materials to help decision-makers and other state water leaders grow their understanding of water issues in New Mexico, as well as build awareness and connections.

From the exceptional landscape at Ghost Ranch, decision makers and presenters will be invited to stay on campus overnight, with classroom presentations on site and field trips to local sites by bus or vans. A diverse range of presentations includes science, water management, water policy, agriculture and infrastructure topics, along with time for discussion.

Plan to dress comfortably and bring layers. We do our best to make this event accessible and comfortable for participants, providing meals, snacks and drinks along the trip.

Lodging at Ghost Ranch is provided for decision makers and presenters. Legislators can receive per diem and mileage.

For non-decision maker and presenter attendees, we have reserved a block of rooms at the Abiquiu Inn in the nearby town of Abiquiu, NM. Please call Abiquiu Inn (505.685.4378) directly to reserve a room in our block by April 22, 2024. If you need any assistance, please email us at 

Draft Agenda

Day 1: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Afternoon Field Session

11:30 am: Arrive at Ghost Ranch; pick up registration packet and board bus

12:00–3:30 pm: Optional field trip, box lunches provided

Drive 35 min to Stop 1: Canjilon River Restoration Project—NM Acequia Association/NM Water Resources Research Institute, Building Regional Agricultural and Water Resilience Initiative

On site 12:45–2:30 pm

  • Welcome and project background—Paula Garcia, NM Acequia Association
  • Community perspectives of challenges and needed approaches—Norman Vigil, Upper Chama Soil and Water Conservation District; and Don Martinez, East Rio Arriba County Extension Agent
  • Integrated approaches and collaborations: Acequia and regional water planning efforts—Serafina Lombardi, NM Acequia Association; and Don Bustos, Santa Cruz Farms, NM Acequia Association, and regional acequia assoc. board member
  • The community-based watershed restoration approach—Connie Maxwell, NM Water Resources Research Institute; and Steve Vrooman, Keystone Restoration Ecology, Inc.
  • Informing management through science: Monitoring and accessible analysis—Sam Fernald, NM Water Resources Research Institute
  • WaterSMART Environmental Water Resources Projects program—Dagmar Llewellyn and Sarah Branum, Bureau of Reclamation
  • Q&A

Return to Ghost Ranch

3:30–4:30 pm: Regional water: Info about local studies and updates

  • Update from the Governor’s office: 50 Year Water Plan— Rebecca Roose (invited, Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham)
  • Water Security Planning Act update—Andrew Erdmann, NM Interstate Stream Commission
  • Rio Grande Basin study—Dagmar Llewellyn, Bureau of Reclamation
  • Local groundwater study: Rio Arriba—Stacy Timmons, NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
  • Q&A

Social Hour and Dinner

5:30–8:30 pm: Welcome! Hosted social hour and dinner at the lower pavilion, Ghost Ranch

Day 2: Thursday, May 23, 2024


7:00 am: Breakfast in the dining hall, Ghost Ranch

Morning Classroom Session

8:00–8:10 am: Opening remarks

8:10–9:00 am: Statewide perspectives

  • State water update—Hannah Riseley-White, NM Interstate Stream Commission; and Mike Hamman, NM Office of the State Engineer
  • Forest fires, watersheds, and climate change—Anne Tillery, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Tribal water perspectives—Myron Armijo, NM Interstate Stream Commission
  • Q&A

9:00–10:00 am: Tribal Water Rights Settlements

  • OSE Bureau of Tribes, Pueblos and Nations: Successful settlements—Kelly Brooks Smith, NM Office of the State Engineer
  • Ohkay Owingeh Settlement—Larry Phillips, Ohkay Owingeh
  • Zia Pueblo Settlement—David Mielke, Zia Pueblo
  • Highlight funding, water challenges, and opportunities for the six Middle Rio Grande Pueblos—Josh Mann, Mann Water Law
  • Q&A

10:00–10:50 am: Regional forest/watershed health and management

  • Northern New Mexico watershed management—Jose Carrillo, NM Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department
  • Watershed atlas for priority areas of thinning—Caleb Stotts, Chama Peak Land Alliance
  • Fire and watershed health: Aftermath of the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire—Phoebe Suina, High Water Mark
  • Q&A

10:50–11:30 am: Background information for field trip

  • Regional geology overview—Shari Kelley, NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
  • Rio Chama system and infrastructure—Carolyn Donnelly, Bureau of Reclamation
  • Acequia video and commentary from Tyler Lystash, Ohkay Owingeh
  • Q&A

Afternoon Field Session

11:30 am–5:00 pm: Afternoon field trip

Drive 30 min to Stop 1: Below Abiquiu Dam Recreation Area

12:00–1:10 pm: Working lunch (provided) and presentations

  • Abiquiu Dam history, operations, and overview—Ryan Gronewold, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Abiquiu/ Restoration Projects and Recreation Area—Eric Frey, NM Department of Game and Fish
  • Sediment, erosion, and flows on the Rio Chama— Mike Harvey, Rio Chama Flow Project
  • Q&A

Drive 20 min to Stop 2: Rio Chama overlook

1:30–2:40 pm

  • Rio Chama management and multi-agency coordination—Page Pegram, NM Interstate Stream Commission
  • Rio Chama contractors—Mark Kelly, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority; and Kyle Harwood, Egolf + Ferlic + Martinez + Harwood Law
  • Local acequia perspective—Darel Madrid, Rio de Chama Acequia Association
  • Q&A

Drive 50 min to Stop 3: Ohkay Owingeh Yungeh Farmland overlook

3:30–4:30 pm

  • Ohkay Owingeh Settlement, bosque restoration projects, Yungeh Farmland Project—Larry Phillips, Ohkay Owingeh
  • OSE management and shortage sharing measures on the Rio Chama—Tyler Lystash, Ohkay Owingeh
  • Local water systems/providers: Challenges and solutions—Heather Himmelberger, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
  • Q&A

Return to Ghost Ranch

Dinner and Keynote Address

5:30–9:00 pm: Lower pavilion, Ghost Ranch

Dinner served at 6:30 pm

Keynote presentation: Adriel Heisey, Journey of Water

Day 3: Friday, May 24, 2024


7:00 am: Breakfast in the dining hall, Ghost Ranch

Morning Classroom Session

8:00–8:40 am: Intro to the Rio

  • NMED surface water sampling program—Shelly Lemon, NM Environment Department
  • Flow through the region—Adrian Oglesby, Utton Center
  • Q&A

8:45 am: Final logistics and workshop survey

9:00 am: Depart for river trip on bus (~50-min drive)

River Trip: Rio Chama Day Stretch

Float the river!

Stop 1: Lunch

  • Local geology talk—Mike Timmons, NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
  • Fires, sediment, and channel processes—Dan Cadol, NM Institute of Mining and Technology
  • Perspective from the water-recreation community—Steve Harris, Rio Grande Restoration, Inc.
  • Q&A

Stop 2: Riverside stop

  • Demonstration: Sampling water quality—Shelly Lemon and Elizabeth Stuffings, NM Environment Department
  • Coordination of flow management: Collaboration/flow study done previously—Mike Harvey
  • Environmental flows—Anjali Bean, Western Resource Advocates
  • Q&A

~4:30 pm: Return to Ghost Ranch, workshop ends

Local perspectives on water
Local, regional, and statewide perspectives
Extreme Sports Waterboarding
Building awareness and connections