About Middle Rio GrandeESCP


A Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Act Working Group (ESA Working Group) was formed in 2000 following conflict that arose from the federally endangered listing of the Rio Grande silvery minnow in 1994, the southwestern willow flycatcher in 1995, and drought conditions in 1996 that exacerbated already stressed conditions in the Middle Rio Grande (MRG). The ESA Working Group was established with the intent of developing the MRGESCP, which was formally established in 2002 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. Since then, signatories continue collaborating to use the best available science to create practicable approaches to achieve the Program’s mission.

One of the MRGESCP’s long-term accomplishments is bringing diverse participants together to provide a variety of support to signatories for activities that benefit the MRG’s listed species. Currently, the Program focuses on the five listed species in the MRG: the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, the Pecos sunflower, the Rio Grande silvery minnow, the southwestern willow flycatcher, and the yellow-billed cuckoo.

Program Area

The Program area follows the Rio Grande, including its tributaries,stretches from the New Mexico/Colorado border downstream to the elevation of the spillway crest of the Elephant Butte Reservoir, excluding the land reserved for the full pool of the Elephant Butte Reservoir. Four reaches are delineated within the MRG: the Cochiti Reach, the Angostura (Albuquerque) Reach, the Isleta Reach, and the San Acacia Reach.

Organization and Structure

The MRGESCP is led by an Executive Committee (EC) consisting of representatives from each signatory organization. The EC establishes and provides leadership and oversight to the Program’s work groups and ad hoc groups, and coordinates Program recommendations to signatories.

MRGESCP signatory staff and other parties with expertise related to the group’s directive participate in work groups. EC-established work groups provide focused assistance and expertise, technical review and oversight, and coordination to address Program directives and activities. Work groups meet regularly and provide a forum for coordinating on Program matters and technical planning efforts.

Temporary ad hoc groups occasionally tier from Program committees and work groups to advance individual projects or tasks. Ad hoc groups report to the primary committee or work group, and typically consist of individuals with expertise or interest in the specialized assignment.

Participating Signatories

The following signatories participate in the MRGESCP:

  • Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
  • Assessment Payers Association of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District
  • Audubon New Mexico
  • Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program
  • Buckman Direct Diversion
  • City of Albuquerque
  • Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District
  • New Mexico Attorney General’s Office
  • New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
  • New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Pueblo of Sandia
  • Pueblo of Santa Ana
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • University of New Mexico


The MRGESCP’s by-laws describe the governance structure, the decision-making processes, and the roles and responsibilities of the signatories. The by-laws have been amended over the years, and continue to be updated to accommodate Program development.