Protecting the Pecos River Watershed and New Mexico Communities

Trout Unlimited
Photo: Jim O’Donnell
Protecting the Pecos River Watershed and New Mexico Communities
Trout Unlimited
New Mexico

The Pecos River drains from the southernmost portion of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The river is a haven for native fish and wildlife, the lifeblood of a local agricultural economy still dependent on centuries old and hand-dug irrigation systems, and a centerpiece of the region’s outdoor recreation economy. It is New Mexico’s second most-popular trout fishery, and the surrounding area is a premier destination for non-motorized recreation and a gateway to the 223,000-acres Pecos Wilderness, the state’s most visited wilderness area. The upper Pecos watershed supports a diverse array of native wildlife and is also home to a rich and diverse plant community. Currently, this area is the target of a multinational exploratory mining company intent on developing the watershed’s mineral resources, including millions of tons of gold, silver, zinc, copper, and lead.

Since learning of the mining threat in the spring of 2019, Trout Unlimited (TU) has worked alongside community partners to mobilize opposition to new mining activities, elevate local voices, and galvanize support for the watershed around shared goals of protecting ecological and cultural resources. TU approaches this work in close partnership with members of the Stop Terrero Mine (STM) Coalition, a group of regional water advocates, tribal leaders, land grant heirs, environmentalists, recreationists, and local government officials. Together, they have helped position this campaign as one of the most broadly supported mineral withdrawal proposals in the nation.