As of 5/22/2020, Awarded 4 pilot projects for a total of $39,919.  Projects represent 9 researchers from 7 academic departments and/or campuses.


Renewed Ameriflux Core Support.  Principal Investigator:  Marcy Litvak.  Source of Support: DOE.  Current Performance Period: 07/01/13 – 9/30/20,  $1,923,215.  New Period:  10/1/20 -9/30/25, $1,200,000.  Location: 7 sites across NM.

Rapid Uranium Sensors to Minimize Health Impacts in the Navajo Nation.  Sponsor: University of Iowa.  UNM PI: Jose Cerrato.  Duration: 1 year.  Amount: $41,309

CREST Center for Water and the Environment, Phase II.  Sponsor: National Science Foundation.  UNM PI: Kerry Howe. Duration:  5 years.  Amount: $5,000,000

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, $319K grant to partner with the Audubon Society and help the MRGCD develop a farm-to-river water leasing program and to identify ways to make MRGCD water operations more efficient.

McCune Foundation, $10K grant to hold public meetings and inform the community about the Taos Pueblo Water Rights Settlement.

NMSU WRRI, $25K grant to analyze the Produced Water Act and advise how it may interact with the existing produced water regulatory framework.



Julie C. Zinnert, Jesse B. Nippert, Jennifer A. Rudgers, Steven C. Pennings, Grizelle González, Merryl Alber, Sara G. Baer, John M. Blair, Adrian Burd, Scott L. Collins, Christopher Craft, Daniela Di Iorio, Walter K. Dodds, Peter M. Groffman, Ellen Herbert, Christine Hladik, Fan Li, Marcy E. Litvak, Seth Newsome, John O’Donnell, William T. Pockman, John Schalles, ere R. Young. 2020. Future trajectories for ecosystems of the U.S. Long term ecological Research Network: The importance of state changes. Ecosphere, accepted, in press.

Samuels-Crow, K, K. Ogle and M.E. Litvak. Atmosphere-Soil Interactions Govern Ecosystem Flux Sensitivity to Environmental Conditions in Semiarid Woody Ecosystems over Varying Timescales. JGR-Biogeosciences.  Accepted, in press.

Schwinning, S, M.E. Litvak, W.T. Pockman, R.E. Pangle, A.M. Fox, C.W. Huang, and C.D. McIntire. A 3-dimensional model of Pinus edulis and Juniperus monosperma root distributions in New Mexico: Implications for soil water dynamics. Plant and Soil

Rudgers, J., A. Hallmark, S.R. Baker, L. Baur, K.M. Hall, M.E. Litvak, E.H. Muldavin, W.T. Pockman, and K.D. Whitney. Sensitivity of dryland plant allometry to climate.   Functional Ecology

Senay, G., Schauer, M.P., Velpuri, N.M., Singh, R., Kagone, S., Friedrichs, M.O., Litvak, M., and Douglas-Mankin, K.R., 2019.  Long-term (1986 -2015) Crop Water Use Characterization over the Upper Rio Grande Basin using Landsat-based Evapotranspiration. Remote Sensing. 11,1587-1622. doi:10.3390/rs11131587.

Remy, Cecile, C., D.J. Krofcheck, A.R. Keyser, M.E. Litvak, S.L. Collins, M.D. Hurteau. 2019. Integrating Species-Specific Information in Models Improves Regional Projections Under Climate Change, 2019 GRL. 46: 6554-6562. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL082762.

Mapping Potable Reuse Survey Data Using Spatial Statistics to Inform Tailored Education and Outreach, AWWA Water Science, (2020) DOI: 10.1002/aws2.1197, M.P. Cruz, C.E. Scruggs, and L.N. Distler.

Potable Water Reuse in Small Inland Communities: Oasis or Mirage? Journal of the American Water Works Association, (2020) 112(4):10-17, https://doi.org/10.1002/awwa.1476, C.E. Scruggs, D.F. Lawler, G. Tchobanoglous, B.M. Thomson, M.R. Schwarzman, K.J. Howe, and A.J. Schuler.

Survey data on perceptions of water scarcity and potable reuse from water utility customers in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Data in Brief, (2020) 10.1016/j.dib.2020.105289, L.N. Distler and C.E. Scruggs.

Arid Inland Community Survey on Water Knowledge, Trust, and Potable Reuse. II: Predictive Modeling, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, (2020) 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0001219, L.N. Distler, C.E. Scruggs, and K.N. Rumsey.

Arid Inland Community Survey on Water Knowledge, Trust, and Potable Reuse. I: Description of Findings, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, (2020) 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0001218, L.N. Distler and C.E. Scruggs.

Direct Potable Water Reuse in Five Arid Inland Communities: An Analysis of Factors Influencing Public Acceptance, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, (2019) DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2019.1671815, C.E. Scruggs, C. Pratesi, and J.R. Fleck.

The Costs of Direct and Indirect Potable Water Reuse in a Medium-sized Arid Inland Community, Journal of Water Process Engineering, (2017) 19:239-247, DOI: 10.1016/j.jwpe.2017.08.003, J.G. Herman, C.E. Scruggs, and B.M. Thomson.

Opportunities and Challenges for Direct Potable Water Reuse in Arid Inland Communities, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, (2017) 143(10), DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000822, C.E. Scruggs and B.M. Thomson.

Five Ways to Support Interdisciplinary Work Before Tenure, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, (2015) 6(2):260-267, DOI: 10.1007/s13412-015-0326-9, M.H. Benson, C.D. Lippitt, R. Morrison, B. Cosens, J. Boll, B.C. Chaffin, A.K. Fremier, R. Heinse, D. Kauneckis, T.E. Link, C.E. Scruggs, M. Stone, V. Valentin.


The SW Environmental Finance Center is developing two important public engagement projects.  First, they are developing videos to introduce the public to important concepts in water management and sustainability.  Second, they are developing podcasts that engage the public with sustainable water best practices.  The first of these projects was partially funded through the GC team’s pilot research program.

The UNM Law School has launched the Land Grants, Acequias, and Colonias Fellowship Program.  With state funding, this program will allow selected law students to get their last year of law school paid if they agree to work on governance issues for acequias, colonias and land grants for two years. 

Adrien Oglesby presented on Human Rights for Rivers at the Gila River Festival.

Extended partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation and Fish and Wildlife Service to provide UNM students experiential learning opportunities through internships in their offices

Initiated a new partnership with MRGCD, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and CESSOSS (a South Valley community organization) to develop a UNM pipeline program for at-risk high school students, which will focus on raising their awareness of UNM learning opportunities while learning about traditional New Mexico practices like acequia irrigation and adobe construction.

Developed Land Grants, Acequias, and Colonias Fellowship Program.  In the 2019 legislative session helped pass SB244, which established a “Community Governance Attorney and Conditional Tuition Waiver Program.”  This Program should allow selected law students to get their last year of law school paid if they agree to work on governance issues for acequias, colonias and land grants for two years.  Half of their salary during those two years is to be paid for by the legislature. 


The Utton Center has been actively engaged with community partners in creating the ongoing Conservation Action Plan for the Middle Rio Grande Bosque.  While this project was begun before the GC initiative began, its continuing work has been heavily influenced by the GC approach and researchers.   Last fall, this project involved a meeting with more than 50 scientists and decision makers.

The Utton Center is also collaborating with numerous NGO’s and community groups on the Rios Unidos project.  This effort is designed to attract large-scale foundation funding to New Mexico to support improved water management here.

The Utton Center submitted a 100 page report on the Law of the Rio Chama for the Bureau of Reclamation, focused mainly on finding flexibility in reservoir operations.

Continued support of the New Mexico Tribal Resilience Action Network, a group that is working to help tribal and pueblo natural resource managers deal with climate change.


In the fall, the Water team convened a group of 30 faculty researchers from at least 14 academic departments to develop new interdisciplinary grant proposals.  This event led to the submission of two multi-disciplinary proposals that were submitted following the event: a NSF NRT proposal, and an NSF BII proposal.