Amigos Bravos

Because Water Matters — Since 1988

We have a vision of New Mexico’s rivers and streams running so clear and clean that you can bend a knee to the water, cup your hands, and drink without fear.


Youth Leadership

The Valle De Oro Urban National Wildlife Refuge

Amigos Bravos is undertaking a new opportunity through an EPA Urban Waters 2-year grant to work in the first US Fish and Wildlife urban Wildlife Refuge in the Southwest – the Valle de Oro Wildlife Refuge located in the South Valley of Albuquerque. This project will focus on offering neighboring schools an opportunity to participate in water quality monitoring, while connecting to nature in new and exciting ways. The project will improve the water quality of the Middle Rio Grande by involving underserved youth in creating projects that address pressing water quality issues in their community.  

We will conduct 12 student- and community-based water quality monitoring events at the urban Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) across all three sources of surface water: two irrigation ditches, the east riverside drain, and the Rio Grande River. Work will include sampling for nutrients and metals, as well as pharmaceuticals, PCBs, and E. coli. The work will benefit Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permittees in the urban watershed regarding PCB analytical methods and efforts to meet EPA's 2015 goal of eliminating impairments on the river.

View the announcement here.
For more about this Urban Waters Initiative, visit
For Earth Forces blog about the Initiative, visit

CIF- CCW Youth Council

With support from the Community Involvement Fund at the New Mexico Community Foundation, Communities for Clean Water (CCW - a coalition that includes Amigos Bravos) formed the CCW Youth Council. The Youth Council idevelops and enhances the capacity of youth who are downstream and downwind of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to become leaders and stewards for the protection and restoration of the health of Northern New Mexico communities impacted by historic and current operations at LANL.

Through 2015, will continue to employ a Youth Coordinator to manage the Youth Council of 13 young people from the impacted Pueblo communities of Santa Clara, Nambe, San Ildefonso and Ohkay Owingeh and the cities of Santa Fe and Espanola. The Council continuea to participate in monthly trainings on a variety of environmental issues related to LANL, as well as in strategic planning, media messaging, power mapping, public speaking, and campaign implementation. With continued funding, the Youth Council will continue to make presentations of its concerns to decision-makers – including LANL’s Environmental Management (EM) staff, regulators, and legislators – and gain the trainings needed to further mature their advocacy capabilities and voices for their communities.

For more information on CCW, visit:

Taos Highschool and Sierra Club Water Sampling in Taos

Eric Patterson, as a member of the Sierra Club, is empowering and expanding a group of Taos High School students to do water quality monitoring in Taos County streams. The two components of this work are:

  1. Educational - aiming to both increase environmental awareness of the importance clean water in our state and to develop the technical knowlege needed to analyze water quality. 
  2. Technical - assisting the State of New Mexico Bureau of Surface Water Quality and Water Sentinels—Rios de Taos in their efforts to enforce the national Clean Water Act. Like most states, New Mexico claims to not have the personnel and/or funds to monitor every stream every year, so Water Sentinels—Rios de Taos monitors some streams in Taos County.

Sierra Club and Water Sentinels Work

Together with Water Sentinels of Taos, Amigos Bravos continues to gather water quality data from three Taos rivers – the Rio Fernando, the Rio Pueblo, and Rio Hondo – all of which showed evidence of E. coli contamination. The New Mexico Environmental Department approved our data and will be devoting resources to cleaning up the impaired waters. Sampling in these three river systems is ongoing. For more a brief description of each report and a link to the full reports, please visit our On-The-Ground Restoration page.