Rio Grande by A. Molles
Middle Rio Grande Bosque Initiative
Cyndie Abeyta, Middle Rio Grande Coordinator, (505) 761-4738,

The Middle Rio Grande Bosque Initiative (MRGBI) is an ongoing, congressionally supported, interagency ecosystem management effort to coordinate activities related to the ecological restoration and management of the Middle Rio Grande. For this initiative, the Middle Rio Grande is defined as the 180-mile Rio Grande corridor within central New Mexico extending from Cochiti Dam to the headwaters of Elephant Butte Reservoir.

The objective of the MRGBI is to protect, enhance, and restore biological values by addressing ecological functions within the Middle Rio Grande. The MRGBI implements recommendations identified by a Biological Interagency Team and documented in the report Middle Rio Grande Ecosystem: Bosque Biological Management Plan (Crawford 1993) (pdf 24.5 MB, 312 p.). These recommendations provide guidance for project implementation resulting in long-term protection of the bosque.

The MRGBI receives Federal funds that are appropriated annually to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support new and ongoing projects. The MRGBI annually sends out a Request for Project Proposals to a wide array of organizations and entities that have interest in bosque improvement within the Middle Rio Grande corridor. Proposals are received and presented at an annual meeting of the Bosque Improvement Group (BIG). BIG is an informal non-exclusive "think tank" which provides a forum for those interested in bosque management. The MRGBI has been guided by BIG since 1995. BIG participants are numerous and include federal, state, tribal, city, county, and local government agencies, private industry, private organizations, private individuals, and others who have interest in bosque improvement activities.

At the annual meeting of BIG, participants review and discuss proposals presented. A proposal review committee is identified. Proposals are reviewed and ranked by the review committee. Funding of priority proposals is allocated on an annual basis. Total funding of projects is dependent on annual congressional appropriations.

Final products from MRGBI funded projects include: interim reports; final reports; video documentaries; on-the-ground habitat improvement; community involvement/participation; networking; and web sites.

The MRGBI is administered by a full-time coordinator. The coordinator is responsible for participating in and leading activities to achieve the goals of the Initiative. Primary duties of the coordinator include: coordinating BIG meetings; reviewing all projects funded through the MRGBI; managing the funding of projects and day-to-day coordination with BIG participants; and developing and maintaining collaboration and participation with diverse entities in a variety of projects and decisions designed to manage, maintain, protect, and enhance the bosque.

History of the Middle Rio Grande Bosque Initiative

In September 1991, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) appointed the Rio Grande Bosque Conservation Committee (Committee). He asked that the nine citizen-based members examine the problems affecting the Middle Rio Grande bosque, to solicit broad public involvement, and to make recommendations for the long-term protection of the bosque and the benefits it provides. The Committee worked on the Senator's charge for almost two years before presenting him with a committee report (pdf 1.4 MB, 9 p.) in June of 1993. The report recommended that a biological management plan for the Middle Rio Grande be developed as "the first step towards restoring the Bosque's health". An interagency technical team was formed to create the Middle Rio Grande Ecosystem: Bosque Biological Management Plan (BBMP) (Crawford 1993) (pdf 25 MB, 312 p.), which was released in October 1993. The BBMP includes historic information regarding hydrologic conditions, aquatic and terrestrial resources and organisms, climate, river morphology, population trends, land use, and water management practices of the Middle Rio Grande. This information provided the basis for twenty-one recommendations designed to guide future management of the river and its riparian corridor. The BBMP also recommended that a central coordinating structure be formed to ensure integration of management activities. Beginning in Federal fiscal year 1994, funds were appropriated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create and support a central coordinating structure, the MRGBI.

Since the release of the 1993 BBMP, there has been a continued surge of interest and activity among management agencies, stakeholders and the public, based on the concept of the river and the bosque as an ecosystem. The 20th recommendation of the BBMP was for periodic updating of the BBMP. October 2005 marked the publication and release of the Middle Rio Grande Ecosystem Bosque Biological Management Plan-The First Decade: A Review & Update (Update) (Robert, L, 2005) (pdf 7.9 MB, 140 p.). The Update chronologically records progress made over a decade (1994-2004). It also describes an integrated "ecosystem approach" to restoration, and suggests a number of avenues for future action. The original 21 recommendations were reviewed and retained and a 22nd recommendation was added. The Twenty-Two Recommendations continue to guide future management of the river and its riparian corridor. For a free CD of the Middle Rio Grande Ecosystem Bosque Biological Management Plan-The First Decade: A Review & Update contact Cyndie Abeyta at 505-761-4738 or

Roles of the Middle Rio Grande Bosque Initiative

cottonwood leaf Serving as a clearinghouse for receiving, transmitting, and storing management-related information.
cottonwood leaf Facilitating meetings of an active, representative council of managers and concerned citizens.
cottonwood leaf Distributing information and organizing meetings to update and summarize ongoing and planned management activities along the Middle Rio Grande.
cottonwood leaf

Funding research, monitoring, habitat enhancement, and outreach efforts within the Middle Rio Grande and its bosque.


Cynthia G. Abeyta, Hydrologist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office
2105 Osuna Road, NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113

(505) 761-4738
(505) 346-2542

Website created by Jennifer J. F. Shah; modified by Cynthia Abeyta
Last Modified: May 1, 2009

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