ACES Impact Stories

Environmental Stewardship

Rural and urban human activities affect land, water, and air. Through teaching, research, and Extension programs, the College of ACES is committed to further our understanding, using science-based knowledge, of human impacts on the environment, and to support environmentally-sound agricultural and natural resource practices.


County Equine Expos' youth and adult participants promote healthy living and sustainable future for the $750 million NM equine industry

Since 2008, several setbacks have contributed to the decline in number of participants in the once vibrant New Mexico equine industry. The Expos seek to provide SAFE horsemanship instruction along with education on equine management in a FUN environment that encourages novice and intermediate riders to develop their skills and continue their pursuit of healthful equestrian activities. These events, held in rural areas to provide access to underserved audiences, also bring "new" revenue to community businesses.

Jason L. Turner, jlturner@nmsu.edu, Extension Horse Specialist

Harnessing Fire - Training private landowners how to use prescribed fire to reduce wildfire hazards and increase watershed health

A century of fire exclusion has negatively impacted NM's forests and watersheds. Large and severe wildfires are threatening lives, property, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and forests. Prescribed burning is a tool that can be used to mitigate negative impacts of wildfire. NMSU Cooperative Extension Service is training the next generation of landowners on the safe and effective use of prescribed fire. Over the course of three years, 500 acres have been burned by private landowner participants. 87% of participants showed improved knowledge and skillset, and 93% indicated they intended to pursue additional burning opportunities on their own land.

Douglas Cram, dcram@nmsu.edu, Extension Forestry and Fire Specialist

Teaching and training the next generation of dairy professionals

Despite declining resources to teach young dairy professionals modern dairy management, NMSU Dairy Extension leads a consortium of universities to provide practical dairy teaching in a 6-week intensive summer program. Total reach in 10-yrs.: 427 students from 48 universities. Impact: 4 out of 5 students employed in agriculture, 2 out of 3 students employed in dairy industry, 1 out of 3 students working on/managing a dairy. Program received 2017 Dairy Sustainability Award in Community Partnerships.

Robert Hagevoort, dairydoc@nmsu.edu, Extension Dairy Specialist

Sustainable management of aquatic resources

Water is one of the most important natural resources in New Mexico, and is particularly vulnerable to degradation because if its scarcity. Water quality is essential for human, ecosystem and economic health. Understanding the importance of healthy aquatic ecosystems and of management practices that protect watersheds and water quality is critical. Extension programming targeting a diverse audience, including children, Master Gardeners, and Pesticide applicators has increased knowledge of the importance of water quality. 78% of participants showed improved knowledge, 94% changed their attitudes toward how their practices impact water quality, and 74% indicated a desire to change a current practice.

Rossana Sallenave, rsallena@nmsu.edu, Extension Aquatic Ecology Specialist

Cooperative Extension Service educates New Mexicans on integrated wildlife damage management techniques

Although New Mexican's greatly enjoy their wildlife, at times wildlife create human health and safety concerns and damage property. Annually, wildlife is responsible for greater than $1 billion in agricultural production losses and $25 billion in losses to homes, businesses and municipalities, nationwide. New Mexico State University, Cooperative Extension Service trains urban and rural New Mexicans to safely and effectively address wildlife damage issues in their homes, ranches, farms and communities using environmentally responsible methods. Impacts show 94% of participants improved their knowledge of integrated wildlife damage management and 82% would use knowledge gained.

Samuel T. Smallidge, ssmallid@nmsu.edu, Extension Wildlife Specialist

New Mexico's socioeconomic health depends upon good condition rangeland

New Mexico's socioeconomic health depends upon good condition rangeland because most of NM is rangeland. Rangelands with desired plants provide land-based goods and services including food, fiber, wildlife, recreation, tourism, oil and gas, mineral extraction, and revenue from land taxes, permits, and easements. Invasive plants have degraded millions of NM acres and their ability to provide critical goods and services. The rangeland brush and weed management program in 2017 taught 500 people during 18 presentations across NM how to control invasive plants to improve rangelands. This program worked with 16 entities including multiple departments, universities, agencies, tribes, and private companies.

Kert Young, kry@nmsu.edu, Extension Brush & Weed Specialist

Adoption of Integrated Pest Management Results in Environmental Benefits to New Mexico

Landscape Design and Habitat Management Improves Pollinator Conservation and Ecosystem Services to Urban and Agricultural Areas. The United States grows over 100 pollinator dependent crops, and native bees provide about $3 billion in free pollination services to U.S. agriculture. The cost of using managed bees to provide pollination services to US crops is about $655.6 million. Unfortunately, wild bee abundance is declining across the U.S. with a 23% decline from 2008-2013. New Mexico State University's IPM program is focused on research that will increase native pollinators in urban and agricultural landscapes through improved landscape design and restoration strategies. Reduced reliance on a single pollinator will increase the resilience of US agriculture while benefiting pollinator conservation.

Ashley Bennett, abb@nmsu.edu, Extension Urban & Small Farms IPM Specialist

Nutrient Management

New Mexico's 325,000 dairy cows produce ~6.825 million tons of manure. Most is land applied along with wastewater. New Mexico's Water Quality Commission requires groundwater monitoring. However, ~two-thirds of all groundwater-monitoring wells near dairies exceed state the state standard of 10 ppm NO3-N. Exceedances must be treated as mandated by the Groundwater Protection Act. Anion exchange remediation treatments cost $32,000 per acre-inch of water. Yearly water treatment for a 2000 head dairy would approach 112AF/year ($43M per year). Our soil test software optimizes nutrient rates from various sources to reduce potential nitrogen contamination and avoid extreme remediation expenses.

Robert Flynn, rflynn@nmsu.edu, Extension Agronomist

Appropriate Analyses for Soil and Water

There are numerous soil and water testing laboratories for homeowners and farmers in the U.S. Not all analyses reflect specific issues found in New Mexico soil and water. The westernsoil.nmsu.edu website and NMSU YouTube channel houses videos that explain why specific procedures are needed when submitting soil and water samples. The difference is critical as it gives growers a starting point for making management decisions. Clients apply what is needed to have better crops and often save money in the process. There have been over 10,556 views of the videos over a 10-month period in 2017.

Robert Flynn, rflynn@nmsu.edu, Extension Agronomist

Pesticide Safety Education Program

The Pesticide Safety Education Program at NMSU promotes the responsible use of pesticides through educational resources and training. Training covers a broad range of topics on human safety and environmental issues. The program reaches over 500 individuals annually. Workshop evaluations indicate that 97% of participants learned a new skill that will assist them when applying pesticides, and 75% of participants learned a new pest or plant management practice that will decrease pesticide applications. Recertifying 350 current pesticide applicators and training 150 new license holders with an average annual salary of $34,570, this program contributed over $17,000,000 to New Mexico's economy.

Jason French, jfrench@nmsu.edu, Extension Plant Diagnostician and Pesticide Program Manager

Inter-Regional Research Project #4 (IR-4) at NMSU

IR-4 is vital for U.S. food security infrastructure, and for combating bioterrorism and invasive species. The IR-4 Project at NMSU conducts on average 12 trials per season in NM. Of the 150 new tolerances established in 2016, nearly 80 were crop group tolerances, supporting registrations on numerous crops. IR-4 has supported over 48,000 registrations of conventional and reduced-risk pesticides on food crops for the past 53-years. IR-4 focuses on technology compatible with integrated pest management systems. A 2012 economic analysis documented that IR-4 contributes $7.8 billion dollars annually to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product and supports over 100,000 jobs.

Cary Hamilton, chami@nmsu.edu, IR-4 Program Manager

Subsurface Irrigation Reduces Water Needed for Urban Turfgrass Areas

Turfgrass represents the largest irrigated crop in the US and plays important economic and ecological roles in urban environments. To reduce irrigation water needed for public parks, the Turfgrass Research and Extension program works with the City of Albuquerque to compare water use in a park half irrigated with subsurface drip, half with standard sprinklers. First year data indicated that the drip irrigated parks used 30% less water, with no drop in visual appearance. The City hopes to install subsurface systems in other parks in 3 to 5 years, which could save up to $1 Million annually in water costs.

Bernd Leinauer, leinauer@nmsu.edu, Extension Turf Specialist

Biological Control of Insect Pests in Key New Mexico Crops

Biological Control has the potential to control many insect pests but is frequently undervalued. Control of insect eggs alone is often 80-90% when populations of predators are not disrupted by frequent insecticide applications. Control of alfalfa weevil with parasitoids and predators will save New Mexico growers over $2Million per year. Our NMSU farm has maintained good control of alfalfa weevil with biological control for 20 years. Replicating this type of control in just alfalfa, sorghum and pecan will save growers $6.5 Million per year in reduced losses and control costs.

Jane Pierce, japierce@nmsu.edu, Extension Entomologist

Sugarcane Aphid Pest Management in Sorghum

A sugarcane aphid management program is being developed based on biological control, cultural controls and host plant resistance. Implementation will save growers in New Mexico $4.6 Million per year in reduced costs and losses as well as $20 Million in adjacent Texas counties.

Jane Pierce, japierce@nmsu.edu, Extension Entomologist

New chemical management practices help in turfgrass water conservation

The limitations of using potable water for turfgrass irrigation in arid and semi-arid areas of the US have become increasingly apparent and strategies that help in water conservation have to be investigated. New Mexico State University's turfgrass researchers study the possibility of using chemical products to maintain acceptable turf quality under reduced irrigation. These products include surfactants, plant growth regulators, and products that activate the plant's defense system by affecting stomata conductance. Research has been conducted to compare these products against an untreated control at varying drought levels to quantify their irrigation conservation potential.

Elena Sevostianova, esevosti@nmsu.edu, College Assistant Professor

Things That Bug Us: Weeds & Insects!, AgVentures for Elementary Students, 2017

AgVentures provided age appropriate lessons about agriculture for elementary students with little or no understanding of its importance to them or our state's economy. NMSU Entomologist Carol Sutherland presented specimen displays and brief, interactive presentations about beneficial and destructive insects found in gardens, fields, homes and kitchens to over 250 students and adults. Teachers expressed appreciation for this educational enhancement opportunity, scoring AgVentures very highly for organization and educational usefulness. Paired with 'Weeds...' teachers awarded 'Things That Bug Us' 5/5 points for individual presentations that sparked student enthusiasm and long-lasting class discussions.

Carol Sutherland, csutherl@nmsu.edu, Extension Entomologist

Values Associated with Pesticide Applicator Training in New Mexico

Pesticides and pesticide applicators are regulated by state and federal agencies. In New Mexico, current licenses are required for those who recommend or apply pesticides to public or private property and for purchase or use of "restricted" products. Extension specialists remind attendees at annual training events of the importance of equipment calibration and requirements for personal safety, environmental protection and legal implications of pesticide labels. Licensee benefits (97% of 431 attendees in 2017) included improved equipment skills, increased use of personal protective equipment and safer practices, reduced costs and "down-time" and improved understanding of product enhancements and modes of action.

Carol Sutherland, csutherl@nmsu.edu, Extension Entomologist

Southwest Yard & Garden Weekly Newspaper Column

The Southwest Yard & Garden column has been published for over 28 years by the NMSU Extension Horticulturalists. Since I started in August 2017, circulation increased by 47% to 387,117. If 10% of the increased readership invested a conservative estimate of $25 per landscape tree in response to the column, this would result in $309,565 in additional sales. The International Society of Arboriculture states that there is a $4 return for every $1 invested in public tree planting and care. Consequently, the potential impact could be a $1.2 million net increase in benefits to the state of New Mexico.

Marisa Thompson, risi@nmsu.edu, Extension Urban Horticulture Specialist

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers in New Mexico's Pueblos

Agriculture has played an important role in the survival of the Pueblo People of New Mexico within the past eight hundred years and greatly contributes to their custom, culture and tradition. Today, their custom, culture, traditions and economic stability are threatened by lack of agricultural technical and educational assistance. CES RAIPAP specialists through the assistance of the USDA NIFA BFRDP, have trained over 160 Native American beginning farmers and ranchers within the northern and southern pueblos, thus increasing farm income and maintaining cultural values and tradition.

Edmund Gomez, gr@nmsu.edu, Assistant Department Head & Project Director

Sustainable Farming Techniques in Northern New Mexico

Success in utilizing sustainable farming techniques in northern New Mexico is challenging due to many obstacles, including a short growing season. Greenhouse construction is very expensive and many small scale farmers cannot afford to invest due to these prohibitive costs. The use of hoop houses or high tunnels has been demonstrated to be cost effective for small scale farmers and can provide extended growing season for various high value cash crops. CES RAIPAP specialists have assisted over 1400 New Mexico producers in building high tunnel/hoop house units and by extending the growing season, thus improving annual income through additional crop production.

Del Jimenez, djimenez@nmsu.edu, Agricultural Specialist

Stronger Economies Together (SET)

SET is a USDA Rural Development program in partnership with the nation's Land Grant Institutions. The SET program seeks to address the economic development challenges that rural communities and areas face today by encouraging, facilitating and supporting efforts to design and implement multi-county economic development plans and projects that strategically build on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region. New Mexico State University has facilitated the establishment of nine SET regions involving 32 of the state's 33 counties.

Michael Patrick, jmpat@nmsu.edu, Associate Professor, Extension. Specialist/Economic Dev. Coordinator

Organic Transition: Improving Competitiveness of Limited Resource Farmers and Ranchers in Southern New Mexico

USDA AFRI Organic Transition Grant: Improving the Competitiveness of Limited Resource Farmers and Ranchers (LRFR) in Southern New Mexico Through the Adoption of Organic Practices. The goal of this project is to improve the competiveness of Limited Resource Farmers and Ranchers (LRFR) in Southern New Mexico through the successful adoption of organic farming and ranching practices. Over the course of the three-year project, the Organic Transition Team (OTT) and project reached an estimated 850 producers, local municipality's, and local and state government agency with information and education material pertaining to Organic Farming and Ranching best practices, and certification requirements.

Paul Gutierrez, pgutierr@nmsu.edu, Extension Specialist

Genetic selection could reduce concerns with livestock grazing on public lands

Cattle tend to graze near streams and gentle terrain, which can adversely impact fisheries and wildlife habitat. A collaborative team led by New Mexico State University is developing tools for ranchers to select cattle that are more willing to use rugged terrain and travel farther from water. Using genomics, GPS tracking and geographic information system technologies, researchers have identified genetic markers associated with cattle movements and plan to develop breeding values for cattle distribution patterns using relatively inexpensive DNA tests.

Derek Bailey, dwbailey@nmsu.edu, dwbailey@nmsu.edu

Windows to the past help researchers predict future climate impacts

Southwestern landscapes have transformed dramatically over the last century in response to variations in land use and climate. Using century old ecological records from the NMSU archives and herbarium coupled with contemporary data collection and modeling, researchers from Range Sciences in the College of ACES are documenting changes to the climate sensitive high elevation ecosystems of the Organ Mountains. Changes in plant community composition across elevation and time can be used to predict the direction of future ecosystem changes and thus help land stewards develop appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Lara Prihodko prihodko@nmsu.edu, College Associate Professor

Multi-Scale Biodiversity Metric Mapping for Ecosystem Services

Human health and well-being benefit from healthy ecosystems and associated ecosystem services. In partnership with EPA and USGS, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology at NMSU has mapped metrics of biodiversity and representative ecosystem services from 1,590 terrestrial vertebrate models across the United States. Metrics provide land managers and the public a method to view ecosystem services related to food and fiber production, recreation, culture and aesthetics and biodiversity conservation via the EPA's EnviroAtlas tool (https://www.epa.gov/enviroatlas). The harvestable species metric represents an annual contribution of $346 billion to the US economy and $267 million to New Mexico GDP.

Ken Boykin kboykin@nmsu.edu, Research Associate Professor

New MexicoView (NMView) Program Development and Operations for the State Of New Mexico

NMView is a member of the AmericaView Consortium, a nationally coordinated network of academic, agency, industry partners, and cooperators that promote the use of remote sensing. NMView seeks to advance the use of remotely sensed data through education, research, outreach, and technology transfer to the public and private sectors in New Mexico. NMView working with AmericaView provided a poster for Earth Observation Day to 14,000 teachers across the United States in support of Earth Sciences Week. NMView provided the Spanish translation for that poster (available at https://americaview.org/program-areas/education/earth-observation-day/.

Ken Boykin kboykin@nmsu.edu, Research Associate Professor

Risk of Livestock Depredation by Mexican Wolves Predicted by Artificial Intelligence

The greatest challenge related to recovery of the endangered Mexican wolf is livestock depredation. Most methods to reduce depredations are reactive, occurring after depredation. Researchers from NMSU, New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and APHIS Wildlife Services have found an alternative approach: predicting areas with elevated risk of depredations. They used a type of artificial intelligence computer models to develop the depredation risk map. Results reveal certain landscape features that increase risk of wolf depredation. The risk map can be used to reduce the depredation risk posed by restoration of Mexican wolves, thereby benefiting both humans and wildlife.

Jennifer Frey jfrey@nmsu,.edu, College Professor

Risk to Eagles from the Energy Sector Examined

Researchers from the Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology Department at New Mexico State University explore the impact the energy sector has on golden eagles (a protected species) throughout the continental U.S. This project is compiling information on their movements, relatedness among populations, and on mortality factors. This data is being used to lessen impacts on golden eagle populations while at the same time trying to determine best management practices to ensure renewable energy development.

Gary Roemer groemer@nmsu.edu, Professor

Effect of climate on the survival of immature Emperor Penguins in Antarctica

Immature penguins stay at sea for several years and are difficult to monitor resulting in insufficient data to study the link between immature survival and environmental factors. Researchers from Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology at NMSU and other colleagues, developed a statistical model that uses demographic and population count data. This model revealed the large-scale climate index affects juvenile emperor penguins' body condition and survival through its influence on wind patterns, fast ice extent, and distance to open water. This model will help study the impact of climate on the dynamics of other animal populations with sparse data, such as exist in New Mexico and the Southwest.

Fitsum Abadi Gebreselassie, fgebrese@nmsu.edu, Asst. Professor/Quantitative Ecologist

Plant responses to a changing climate

Working in collaboration with Christopher Javornik of the University of Colorado , Dr. Akasha Faist has developed a working case study for undergraduate classrooms. This two-day lesson plan guides plant ecology students through seminal climate change papers using best practices in active learning. By the end of the module students have a better grasp on the potential impacts of climate change as well as assimilating ecological principles and explaining these principles to their peers.

Akasha Faist afaist@nmsu.edu, Asst. Professor/Rangeland Ecology

Students use techniques learned in class to evaluate a long-term invasive plant research project

The Vegetation Measurements class students evaluated the effects of herbicide treatment on rangeland health and productivity by applying the techniques and statistical analyses learned in the classroom in a "hands on" field activity. Student teams designed sampling protocols and collected field day during 3 field trips to research plots at the Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center. After evaluating the data they collected, students showed during oral presentations how herbicide treatments not only controlled honey mesquite but also increased grass production compared to controls.

Derek Bailey dwbailey@nmsu.edu, dwbailey@nmsu.edu

World-class chemical analysis instrumentation brought to the NMSU College of ACES

The ACES Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation Lab (CAIL) installed $1.8 M worth of new analytical equipment in 2017, comprising a high-resolution Orbitrap Fusion mass spectrometer, custom signal processing electronics, and a nano-flow liquid chromatography system. This instrumentation is state-for-the art for chemical characterization of extremely complex mixtures and will be used in applications that range from alternative fuel research, disease research, alternative water source uses and fundamental biology. A truly interdisciplinary effort, the project draws support from three colleges.

Tanner Schaub, tschaub@nmsu.edu, Director, Center for Animal Health and Food Safety

Advanced Chemical Analysis Capability for Alternative Water Source Research

Researchers with the ACES Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation Laboratory are working with collaborators in the NMSU College of Engineering to use state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation to address regional water issues. The project is funded through the WRRI/Bureau of Reclamation collaborative and will provide novel and robust characterization of contaminants (and their conversion products) in urban waste water and to describe complex mixtures of residual organics in New Mexican water sources. This information will aid in developing ways to decontaminate or mitigate pollution in urban waters.

Tanner Schaub, tschaub@nmsu.edu, Director, Center for Animal Health and Food Safety

Developing Innovative Experiential, STEM-Based Climate Curricula for Middle School Youth

Dr. Thomas Dormody and his collaborator, Dr. Peter Skelton, Director of the NMSU Extension and Research Youth Agricultural Science Center, found that middle school youth participating in Center programs in Las Vegas, NM, scored higher on the NM standardized science test than students from a comparison school. Research findings are leading to final adjustments of a new middle school climate science curriculum to improve youths’ science comprehension, understanding of weather and climate science, as well as interest them in careers related to agriculture, natural resources, and environmental sciences.

Thomas Dormody, tdormody@nmsu.edu, Professor

Wind Power Technology Center

Water is an important but limited resource in the U.S. Southwest. Even in today’s high-tech world, windmills continue to provide water to farm and ranch operations throughout the country. In Windmill Technology Workshops taught at the Wind Power Technology Center on NMSU’s main campus, over 850 participants have learned the fundamentals of using wind and solar applications to pump water. NMSU’s workshop is the only windmill workshop taught by a university in the United States, and has attracted participants from all over our country and the world including ranchers, professional millers, Tribal range managers, windmill enthusiasts, and traditional college students.

Contact: Carlos Rosencrans, crosencr@nmsu.edu, Associate Professor

Reaching out to NM Kids through Soil Science

Hands-on activities that engage school kids can help interest them in agricultural and environmental sciences. Kids of all ages can get their hands dirty learning about soils, erosion, and rocks during field trips to the NMSU campus or during outreach events at their schools. Faculty and grad students from the College set up learning stations where the kids can look through a microscope to see nematodes, practice soil texture-by-feel, identify rocks and see how compost is made. Other lessons included the filtering properties of soil, how covering a soil helps reduce erosion, and what kind of products come from soil.

April Ulery, aulery@nmsu.edu, Interim Department Head, Professor

40-Fold Extension for Water Contaminant Treatment Life

Recalcitrant water contaminant treatment requires strong oxidants when traditional methods are inhibited, but oxidant decay is rapid. We all drink groundwater, contaminants impact drinking water, and these contaminants are typically carcinogenic. A novel molecular container, Hydroxypropyl-ß-cyclodextrin, was used, by NMSU (KC Carroll) and University of Alabama (Geoffrey Tick) researchers, to stabilize ozone (O³). O³ half-life increased up to 40-fold, which advanced O³ water treatment knowledge, extended O3 feasibility, and enabled treatment of contaminated water. This new water treatment method will decrease human exposure to carcinogens. Results can be used worldwide at water treatment plants, enabling cleanup of contaminated groundwater.

Contact: K.C. Carroll kccarr@nmsu.edu

Pillars: Water Use and Conservation, Family Development and Health of New Mexicans, and Environmental Stewardship

Discovery of a New Groundwater Contaminant Remediation Technique

Typical cleanup methods are ineffective for groundwater contaminated with organic liquids (e.g., gasoline spill). Groundwater contaminants affect drinking water, and typically carcinogenic. NMSU (KC Carroll) and University of Alabama (Geoffrey Tick) researchers invented an organic liquid contaminant treatment using vegetable oil injection, which incased the organic liquid contaminant, reducing contaminant transfer to groundwater, and eliminated groundwater contamination and the need for continuous contaminant treatment. This new water treatment method will decrease human exposure to carcinogens, and could save a million dollars per year at each contaminated groundwater site compared to above-ground treatments.

Contact: K.C. Carroll kccarr@nmsu.edu

Pillars: Water Use and Conservation, Family Development and Health of New Mexicans, and Environmental Stewardship

New soil information to improve land management

Spatially explicit soil information (i.e., soil maps) are foundational for understanding and forecasting hydrological and ecological dynamics necessary for land use planning and management in NM. However, large areas of arid lands lack adequate soil information for effective land management. NMSU researchers were members of an interdisciplinary team that used advanced machine learning methods to predict six soil properties (organic C, total N, bulk density, pH, sand, and clay) at seven standardized depths, and two soil classification levels at 100 m spatial resolution across the continental USA. Soil property predictions may support improved forecasts of water and plant dynamics.

Contact: Colby Brungard cbrung@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Environmental Stewardship, Water Use and Conservation

Gold King Mine Spill Response

We were first responders in evaluating and monitoring the impacts of the 2015 Gold King Mine spill into the Animas River. We had the trust of the Navajo people to sample farmland during the emergency response as EPA responders were being expelled. Our data is showing that heavy metals like lead are below regulatory limits and our outreach is helping farmers to have confidence in resuming their activities. Our data is making huge contributions into the scientific body of knowledge regarding farm-land downstream of a legacy mining district.

Contact: Kevin Lombard klombard@nmsu.edu

Pillars: Environmental Stewardship, Water Use and Conservation, Family Development and Health of New Mexicans

Expanding CoCoRaHS in New Mexico

Knowing how much precipitation is falling over New Mexico rangelands is essential for Farm Service Agency decision-making. Timely precipitation translates to available forage, and if an area is unusually dry then this may mean producers are eligible for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. However, precipitation in New Mexico is highly spatially variable and precipitation monitoring tends to be concentrated near urban areas. PES faculty (Steele, DuBois) have been introducing ranchers to the citizen science "CoCoRaHS" program, encouraging them to report precipitation at their ranch location, contributing to quality-controlled databases and helping local FSA decision-making.

Contact: Caitriana Steele caiti@nmsu.edu

Pillars: Water Use and Conservation, Environmental Stewardship

Wastewater for Irrigation

Our greenhouse study showed that using treated municipal wastewater for irrigation doesn't reduce yields of three bioenergy crops (energy sorghum, canola, and switchgrass) and additionally improves the soil organic carbon content of salt affected lands thus extending the availability of freshwater in arid regions. These results are undergoing field testing currently. Our field characterization has shown that arsenic is present in Animas River watershed soils at higher levels than recommended by the US EPA. However, we are testing the mobility of the arsenic to determine if its presence is a threat to water and food quality.

Contact: April Ulery aulery@nmsu.edu

Pillars: Water Use and Conservation, Environmental Stewardship