Final Report Executive Summary: The Nature Conservancy and a team of 14 academic partners (the project team) received funding from the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program and the Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative in 2012 to conduct this Gila River Flow Needs Assessment. The assessment describes the existing condition of the Gila River in the Cliff-Gila Valley and examines the potential impacts of CUFA diversion and climate change on the riparian and aquatic ecosystem. The project team was assisted by 35 academic, agency and consulting scientists who have expertise in some aspect of the Gila River’s hydrology and ecology. This larger team of scientists provided input on a review draft of this assessment at a workshop in January 2014.
This assessment report includes 12 chapters written by project team scientists. Two chapters summarize workshop findings, including input of the larger team of scientists on how flows shape the ecosystem and how these interactions may be affected by flow alterations due to CUFA diversion and climate change.
The Arizona Water Settlements Act (the Act) of 2004 provides New Mexico with terms and funding to develop an additional 14,000 acre-feet per year of water from the upper Gila River in exchange for Central Arizona Project water. The New Mexico Consumptive Use and Forbearance Agreement (CUFA), ratified by the Act, sets forth specific Terms of Diversion under which New Mexico may divert surface water from the Gila River. The diversion of water from the Gila River allowable under the Act is referred to in this assessment as the “CUFA diversion.”
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