MRGCD Chairman of the Board, Derrick J. Lente spoke at the USDA Forum Outlook 2015 in Washington, DC.
His panel discussion titled, Tomorrow's Opportunities, focused on encouraging the next generation in agriculture.
Chairman Lente was Invited by USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. (Pictured: center)
Mr. Lente proudly represented New Mexico as the only farmer/rancher west of the Mississippi River to speak at the event.
Board of Directors Sets Water Bank Lease Rates
At a Special Meeting, the MRGCD Board of Directors set the Water Bank lease rates for the 2015 irrigation season.
On a 7-0 vote, the board approved an administrative rate of $100, a water lease rate of $50/acre and a water service charge of $31/acre. These rates remain unchanged from 2014. The administrative fee can cover a 5-year period providing there are no changes by the land owner to any provisions in the Water Bank Lease.
The District will begin charging the canal system in preparation for the 2015 irrigation season, March 1.
New CEO/Chief Engineer Begins Work
New CEO/Chief Engineer, Mike Hamman, began his first day on the job at the MRGCD, January 20, 2015, ushering in a new era at the water district.
Mr. Hamman, a registered professional Engineer in New Mexico, brings 33 years of engineering and water resources management experience working primarily on New Mexico water resource development projects and issues.
Mr. Hamman comes to the District from the US Bureau of Reclamation, a federal water management agency.
Mr. Hamman replaces Subhas Shah who served as CEO/Chief Engineer of the MRGCD for 37-years.
District Breaks Ground on San Acacia Levee Project
The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, along with four other governmental agencies, broke ground on the initial phase of the $287-million San Acacia Levee project.
The reconstruction of the initial six-mile stretch of levee will be constructed by Kirkland Construction out of Colorado and will involve a six-mile stretch to the east of the City of Socorro.
The re-engineered levee will now meet FEMA standards established after Hurricane Katrina and will remove Socorro residents from the flood plain.
The groundbreaking brings to a close more than 65-years of work and negotiation to reconstruct the levee from the District's San Acacia Diversion dam to three miles north of San Marcial.
The District was joined by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, the City of Socorro, the Interstate Stream Commission and various other dignitaries at the groundbreaking.
The guest of honor at the event was the Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Civil Works.
Construction is due to begin by the end of 2014 and the initial construction phase will take about two years to complete.
See Video of the event here.
(Video Courtesy: USACE)
Barelas Has New Bosque Access
The City of Albuquerque dedicated a new pedestrian pathway from the Barelas neighborhood to the Bosque on the eastside of the Rio Grande.
The MRGCD granted the City a license to put a pedestrian and bike bridge across the Riverside Drain. With the bridge in place a walkway was built leading to Tingley Drive and into the Bosque.
The total cost the project was roughly $550,000, paid by the City of Albuquerque.
Board of Directors Approves FY15 Budget
The MRGCD Board of Directors approved the budget for the 2015 fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014 and running to June 30, 2015.
The budget was approved on a 5 to 2 vote and includes a 5% increase in the ad valorem mill rate and a $3.00/acre (10.7%) increase in water service charge.
Links to the approved budget and budget resolution are below:
FY15 Budget Revenue (Approved)
FY15 Budget Expenses (Approved)
FY15 Budget Resolution
Questions concerning the budget should be directed to the MRGCD General Offices at 1931 Second St., SW, Albuquerque, NM or by phone at (505) 247-0234.
MRGCD Involved in Five-Point Water Conservation and Management Plan for Valley
Key governmental jurisdictions and agency leaders, including representatives from the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, recently completed a series of roundtable discussions that have resulted in a study and plan to Maximize the Water Supply of the Middle Rio Grande Valley.
The discussion and subsequent water plan, are the result of Senate Memorial 8, sponsored by State Senator Michael Padilla and passed by the New Mexico State Senate during the 2013 legislative session.
The plan outlines five significant ways to maximize the water supply in the Middle Rio Grande Valley.
MRGCD staff participants in the roundtable discussions included Chief Engineer, Subhas Shah; Hydrologist, David Gensler; Assistant Engineer, Ray gomez; and MRGCD Directors, Adrian Oglesby, Karen Dunning and Eugene Abeita.
A complete copy of the Senate Memorial 8 water plan may be viewed at the following link:
Maximizing the Middle Rio Grande Water Supply