New Mexico minnow fight settled

Feb. 24, 2005 at 11:57 AM
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ALBUQUERQUE, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Environmentalists and the city of Albuquerque have settled a lawsuit over water resources and the survival of the endangered Rio Grande Silvery Minnow.

The environmental groups agreed Wednesday to take no more action against the city over the use of water from the San Juan-Chama project, the Albuquerque Tribune reported.

The city agreed to reserve 30,000 acre-feet of water in the Abiquiu Reserve for environmental uses and commit funds to a water-leasing program to assure survival of the minnow.

The Sierra Club, Rio Grande Restoration and Forest Guardians had argued that use of San Juan-Chama water for Albuquerque drinking water would endanger the minnow.

The lawsuit drew national attention in 2003 when a federal judge ruled in favor of the minnow. The decision was later upheld on appeal but it was circumvented by federal legislation sponsored by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.

City officials said Wednesday's agreement settles the dispute over the San Juan-Chama water, but legal challenges from other plaintiffs are still pending.

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