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Public Forum Jan. 18 On Water Supply and Wildfire


Las Vegas, N.M. - New Mexico Highlands University presents “Water in the Gallinas: What Happens After the Wildfire?” in a free public forum Jan. 18 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The forum will be in Room 215 of the Lora Shields Building, 806 National Ave. Light refreshments will be served.

The New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute is sponsoring the forum along with the Gallinas Partnership and Highlands University.

Speakers and topics for the forum include:

Rob Larrañaga, Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge manager, and Debbie Pike, LVNWR visitor services manager – healthy lands, water and wildlife means a healthy economy

Tom McDonald, Las Vegas Optic publisher – regional water supply strategies

Bill Armstrong, U.S. Forest Service fire specialist – what happens after the wildfire

Doug Albin, City of Las Vegas consulting engineer – water treatment capabilities in Las Vegas

“The common theme for all these speakers is the water supply for Las Vegas and surrounding communities,” said Andrew Egan, New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute director. “Bill Armstrong and Doug Albin will help us better understand the wide range of possible outcomes following a severe wildfire in the Gallinas.

“In terms of water, post wildfire flooding may pose the most serious concern for the City of Las Vegas water supply,” Egan said.

Since 2011, Egan said the Gallinas Partnership has worked to raise community awareness about the health and safety of the Gallinas watershed, always striving to forge the connection between the watershed and the water people rely upon.

The Gallinas Partnership includes the Forest and Watershed Institute based at Highlands; City of Las Vegas; San Miguel County; state and federal forest agencies; state engineer; local, state and federal elected officials; private landowners; and other stakeholders.

“The Gallinas Partnership evolved from a grassroots effort and is going strong,” Egan said.

Following the public forum, there will be a tour of the City of Las Vegas’ diversion and filtration infrastructure for key local officials and opinion leaders.

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