Volume 14 Issue 8 September NM

Representing New Mexico Irrigators in Washington

By Kris Polly

This month, we have the privilege of interviewing Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury about her work representing New Mexico irrigated agriculture on the federal level. She tells us about the legislation needed to respond to the challenges of climate change, the need for data sharing, and more.

Then, we speak with two leaders from the Four States Irrigation Council, which has been providing irrigators from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming a forum to connect with each other and share ideas for more than 70 years. We interview current Four States President Steve Fletcher as well as Brian Werner, who helped run the organization for many years. In addition to its conference each January, which is a must-visit for all in the region, Four States organizes an annual summer tour, which this year visited Wyoming.

With that in mind, we talk to the managers of two Wyoming irrigation districts: Kevin Strecker of Goshen Irrigation District (GID) and Tyler Weckler of Heart Mountain Irrigation District (HMID). GID, which was on the itinerary for Four States’ 2023 tour, has been working to recover from a catastrophic 2019 tunnel collapse and is planning a permanent replacement for the tunnel, among other projects. HMID is working on a variety of rehab projects as well as grappling with the changes in land and water use caused by urbanization.

We also speak with Margo Jarvis Redelback of the Alberta Irrigation Districts Association to learn a bit about irrigated ag north of the border.

Then, we talk to Andrew Skibo, who recently launched ClearChannel Vegetation Management, an aquatic weed control company specifically aimed at helping irrigation districts.

Finally, we speak with Scott Aspenlieder of Performance Engineering about a major recent project his firm carried out for Montana’s Huntley Project Irrigation District: the full replacement of the Highline Pump Station.

Protecting and preserving water resources in New Mexico is a critical task, and I am grateful to Congresswoman Stansbury for joining us this month to discuss it. For further discussion of these important issues, I invite our New Mexico readers to join us at the inaugural meeting of the Coalition of Rio Grande Water Users, to be held October 3–5 in Santa Fe. For more information, and to register, visit irrigationleader.com.

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader magazine and the president of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at kris.polly@waterstrategies.com.