Amigos Bravos

January 9, 2020
Pecos River
Pecos River, Jim O’Donnell


The Rio Grande runs approximately 1,900 miles from its headwaters in Colorado and New Mexico down to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, the river supports Indigenous communities, diverse fish and wildlife populations, agriculture, and several large western US cities. Yet, the Rio Grande is in peril. Water levels in the river are plummeting as demand for water exceeds the supply. A changing climate is creating drier conditions, further compromising the health of the Rio Grande.


Based in Taos, Amigos Bravos has been leading the charge to protect and restore the waters of New Mexico since 1988. Their work, inspired by the traditional knowledge of the tri-cultural communities of Northern New Mexico, includes restoring high priority headwater wetlands, bringing back river otters to the Upper Rio Grande, restoring the Red River after a major mine closed, and removing hundreds of tons of trash and debris from Taos area watersheds, among many other achievements up and down the Rio Grande basin. Amigos Bravos has also helped New Mexico designated over 700 miles of rivers and streams, 29 lakes, and about 6,000 acres of wetlands as Outstanding National Resource Waters, a protection under the Clean Water Act that protects existing uses on a water body while stopping any new degradation of water quality.

What’s Next

Amigos Bravos continues statewide efforts to protect the Rio Grande and its tributaries, including the Upper Pecos River. Their work brings together Pueblos, sports enthusiasts, conservation groups, ranchers, irrigators, residents, and students to restore ecological health, protect local water supplies, and strengthen the traditional community practices of the basin.