Governor Laura Kelly appointed three members to the Kansas Water Authority. The Kansas Water Authority plans for the development, management and use of state water resources by state or local agencies.
Kelly appointed the following members:
1) David Stroberg (R), Hutchinson, for the central Kansas groundwater management district seat, from names provided per statute K.S.A. 74-2622 by districts #2 and #5.
2) Chris Ladwig (U), Derby and Spirit Aerosystems, for the industrial water users seat, from names provided per statute K.S.A. 74-2622 by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
3) State Senator Carolyn McGinn (R), Sedgwick, for the environment and conservation seat, replacing Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Brad Loveless.
The Kansas Water Authority is made up of 24 members. Of these 24 members, 13 are appointed positions. The governor appoints 11 members, including the chair. One member shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, and one member shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Of the members appointed under this provision, the Governor appoints from the following requirements:
1) One shall be a representative of large municipal water users;
2) One shall be a representative of small municipal water users;
3) One shall be a board member of a western Kansas Groundwater Management District;
4) One shall be a board member of a central Kansas Groundwater Management District;
5) One shall be a member of the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts;
6) One shall be a representative of industrial water users;
7) One shall be a member of the state Association of Watershed Districts;
8) One shall have a demonstrated background and interest in water use, conservation and environmental issues;
9-10) Two shall be representatives of the general public.
“The world will be moving away from fossil fuel production,” David Gutzler, a professor at the University of New Mexico and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told members of the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
Gutzler went on to paint a stark picture of New Mexico in a changing climate.
The mountains outside Albuquerque will look like the mountains outside El Paso by the end of the century if current trends continue, he said.
There will not be any snowpack in the mountains above Santa Fe by the end of the century, Gutzler added.
We have already seen more land burned by wildfires, partly because of changes in forest management and partly because of climate change, Gutzler said.
Water supply will be negatively affected in what is already an arid state, he said.
“It’s real. It’s happening. We see it in the data. … This is not hypothetical in any way. This is real and we would be foolish to ignore it,” Gutzler said.
The professor warned lawmakers that the state must get serious about greenhouse gas emissions now by expanding clean energy sources and mitigating the societal costs of moving away from fossil fuels.
That cost, though, will be a sticking point for Republicans. Many of them represent southeastern New Mexico and the Four Corners, where oil and mining are big industries.
Here’s the release from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (Rachel Shockley):
Thanks to a collaboration between the Department of Game and Fish, Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, Vermejo Park Ranch and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout will have protected habitat long into the future.
A Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for Vermejo Park Ranch, recently approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will help conserve and restore the New Mexico State Fish and other native fish in the Costilla watershed.
The Department works closely with private landowners, states and federal agencies to recover sensitive species and their habitat. By proactively agreeing to conservation activities within a project area, a CCAA can protect existing uses such as agriculture, recreation or commercial activities if a covered species becomes federally protected.
“We have been working together for 10 years to make sure we can address the needs of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout and other native fish living in the watershed, while ensuring private landowners continue to be able to manage their own lands. This agreement does that,” said Department Fisheries Chief Mike Sloane.
The Rio Grande cutthroat is easy to recognize with its red throat slashes, rosy belly and spotted sides. Anglers have long enjoyed the colorful fish and have contributed millions of dollars to conservation and habitat restoration for the species through the purchase of fishing licenses and fishing equipment. At Vermejo Park Ranch, non-native trout were removed and Rio Grande cutthroat were stocked. Non-native trout will continue to be removed from the waterways until the restoration is complete. Because of the CCAA, the Costilla basin is set to provide important habitat for New Mexico’s native trout for many years to come.
“The CCAA is a no brainer for us,” said Carter Kruse, aquatic resource coordinator for Turner Enterprises. “If the Rio Grande cutthroat trout is listed under the Endangered Species Act, it provides us the protection and flexibility to design the activities on the ranch, and as private landowners, to manage the property to the best of our abilities for conservation and for economic sustainability. We hope we can be an example for other private landowners that you can still do your ranching activities and participate in conservation. We’ve done it, it works, here’s how.”
Although not listed as endangered, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout is a candidate species for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Department is working hard to keep the fish off the endangered species list by increasing the subspecies’ range and the number of populations through habitat restoration and stocking. Currently, Rio Grande cutthroats are found in about 10 percent of the species’ historic habitat, which encompassed the Rio Grande, Pecos River and Canadian River basins in New Mexico and Colorado. The species faces many challenges, including non-native fish, fragmented populations, drought and poor habitat.
Wildlife officials in New Mexico and Colorado have teamed up with the Vermejo Park Ranch near Raton to protect habitat for the Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish says federal officials have approved a conservation agreement for the northern New Mexico ranch that is aimed at conserving and restoring the trout along with other native fish in the Costilla watershed. The agreement gives the ranch flexibility in managing its private lands while working to meet the needs of the fish if it’s ever listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The trout are found in about 10 percent of their historic habitat, which encompassed the Rio Grande, Pecos River and Canadian River basins in New Mexico and Colorado. Threats facing the species include non-native fish, fragmented populations, drought and poor habitat.
More endangered/threatened species coverage here and here.