Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján reintroduced the M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to protect segments of the Gila and San Francisco rivers and their tributaries as Wild and Scenic.
Join the Gila Conservation Coalition in thanking Senators Heinrich and Luján for their leadership and dedication to long-term protection of New Mexico’s last wild river.
First introduced in May 2020 by Senator Heinrich and former Senator Tom Udall, this legislation comes out of a community-led proposal and protects nearly 450 miles of the Gila and San Francisco as Wild and Scenic Rivers, ensuring that these reaches continue to provide for traditional and current use of the rivers, critical wildlife habitat, and our outdoor recreation economy.
The Gila and San Francisco and their tributaries make up one of the largest undammed watersheds in the Lower 48 states. Their natural flows support seven threatened and endangered species, such as the loach minnow and spike dace, some of the last intact cottonwood-sycamore bosque in the Lower Colorado River Basin, and more than 350 species of birds. The Gila is the centerpiece of the local outdoor recreation economy and its clean waters provide farmers with water for irrigation.
The M.H. “Dutch” Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is named after Gila Conservation Coalition chairman Dutch Salmon who worked tirelessly for more than three decades to protect the free flow of the Gila and San Francisco rivers, defeating the ill-conceived Conner Dam and Mangas diversion proposals of the 1980s, successors to the failed Hooker Dam.