Victory for Outstanding Waters in New Mexico

On November 30, 2010, the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission made an historic decision to protect headwater streams on wild national forests throughout the state in response to a petition filed by WildEarth Guardians. Thanks to its decision, over 700 miles of 199 perennial rivers and streams, 29 lakes, and approximately 6,000 acres of wetlands are now “Outstanding Waters” under the Clean Water Act, affecting nearly 1.4 million acres of land. The waters protected include perennial streams within 12 of New Mexico’s national forest wilderness areas, ensuring the state’s supply of water remains pristine. CSE prepared technical testimony in support of the petition, concentrating on the important ecosystem service values that would be protected by the ONRW designation.