We’re excited that you’ll be joining us for the Transect of Americas Symposium, Water & Climate Change Across the Americas: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Headwater Dependent Systems in Latin America and the American Southwest, at The University of New Mexico on May 2–3, 2024.

This workshop brings scholars from Latin America into conversation with experts from New Mexico. Attendees will learn about the latest research on Rio Grande and Rio Chama dynamics in New Mexico and how trends in Latin America compare.

View the agenda for:

This Symposium is Supported By:

Transect of the Americas logo


Intermountain West Transformation Network logo
UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute logo

Richard E. Greenleaf Symposium Fund

UNM College of Arts & Sciences logo

Thursday, May 2, 2024:

Location: Bobo Room at Hodgin Hall, The University of New Mexico

8:30 AM: Coffee

8:45-9:00 AM: Opening Remarks: Building Collaborations for Social-Ecological Resilience Across the Americas

    • Marygold Walsh-Dilley, Geography & Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico
    • Jami Nuñez, Political Science, University of New Mexico

9:00-10:30 AM: Headwaters Dependent Systems: Views from Latin America

    • Mario Córdova Mora, University of Cuenca, Ecuador: “Climate Change Impacts in Tropical Andean Ecosystems”
    • Elma Montaña, CONICET, Scientific and Technological National Council, Argentina: “Adaptation for global environmental change risk reduction in Argentinean Central Andes”
    • José Luis Arumí, Universidad de Concepción, Chile: “How drought hides flood risk: The experience of central Chile in 2023”
    • Giovanny Mosquera, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú:  “The role of the world’s highest elevation tropical forest in streamflow generation and regulation.”
    • Cristián Chadwick, University Adolfo Ibáñez, Chile: “Challenges of Water Resources and a Changing Climate”

10:30-10:50 AM: Coffee Break 

11:00 AM-12:00 PM: Keynote Presentation 

    • Maria Lane, University of New Mexico: “Fluid geographies: what are we missing in modern water management?”

12:00-1:00 PM: Lunch Break 

    • Lunch provided for speakers and workshop planners; there are nearby food options for public attendees.

1:15-2:30 PM: Climate Change and Water in the Intermountain West

    • Ben Warner, Geography & Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico:Recentralizing state power in decentralized small drinking water system governance in New Mexico”
    • Lindsey Rotche, Geography & Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico: “The Influence of Different Forest Structures on Snowpack in the Southwestern United States”
    • Ria Mukerji, Geography & Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico: “Co-design as Participation: Creating Meaningful Pathways for Collaboration in Flood Risk Adaptation in Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo”
    • Janie Chermak, University of New Mexico: “Adaptive Governance and the Rio Grande Water Fund” 

 2:30-3:30 PM: Poster Session, 1st Floor Hodgin Hall 

    • Undergraduate Projects from the UNM Grand Challenge Water Science Communication Fellowship, organized by Anjali Mulchandani

3:45-5:00 PM: Community Synthesis: Situating the Chama in the Transect of the Americas

    • This session fosters a unique broader community discussion placing the Chama Watershed in the context of Headwaters Research across the Americas.
    • Discussion Leaders: 
      • Adrian Oglesby, Utton Center, University of New Mexico
      • Fabian Drenkhan, Geography, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
      • Alex Fremier, Ecology, Washington State University

Maria Lane’s book, Fluid Geographies: Water, Science, and Settler Colonialism in New Mexico, will be published in June 2024.

Friday, May 3, 2024:

UNM in the Community Mobile Symposium

This mobile series of onsite talks will discuss water and climate change along the Middle Rio Grande. The talks are open to the public and participants can join any site or the bus tour. Advance registration is required. Fill out the registration form by clicking the button below.

7:50 AM: Bus Departure

8:30-10:30 AM: Site 1

    • Dr. Alex Webster, University of New Mexico, “Ecosystem responses to a changing climate, from headwaters to floodplains”
    • Location: Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, 7851 2nd St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105
    • Dr. Webster is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at UNM and a member of the Transformation Network. She studies the resilience of ecosystems and social-ecological systems to increasing water scarcity and changing hydrologic regimes. She works in freshwater ecosystems, watersheds, and water infrastructure networks in a variety of land use settings and biomes and will present on her field work in the Valle de Oro site.

11 AM-12 PM: Site 2

    • Dr. Anjali Mulchandani, University of New Mexico, “Atmospheric Water Harvesting: Local Air Quality Impacts on Harvested Water Quality”
    • Location: East San Jose Swimming Pool, 2015 Galena St. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87102
    • Dr. Anjali Mulchandani is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering and a member of Sustainable Water Resources Grand Challenge at UNM. She leads the Environmental Resource Sustainability group, which studies themes related to environmental and water resources engineering, atmospheric water harvesting, waste-to-energy technologies, and environmental remediation. The talk will discuss how atmospheric water harvesting can serve as a drinking water source for communities living away from the municipal water grid, how changes in local air quality can impact water quality, how communities living in low socio-economic areas and areas with high air pollution could face health impacts both by inhalation of air as well as ingestion of contaminated atmospherically harvested water, and how water resource systems are inherently connected with air resource systems.

12:30-2:30 PM: Site 3

    • Dr. Becky Bixby, Adrian Oglesby, and John Fleck, University of New Mexico, “The Middle Rio Grande Valley: Its History and Its Impact”
    • Location: Bachechi Open Space, 9521 Rio Grande Blvd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114
    • Dr. Rebecca Bixby is an Assistant Research Professor in the Biology Department and the Director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico. Bixby and her lab group investigate questions at the intersection of biodiversity, community ecology and arid land-river water management needs. The current major focus in her research is understanding the role of disturbances related to natural and anthropogenic stressors including fire, drought, and flood hydrological disturbance play in shaping aquatic organism and food web structure.
    • John Fleck is a writer, a former journalist turned academic, and Writer in Residence at the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at UNM. He is formerly the director of the Water Resources Center at UNM. His most recent books include two books about the Colorado River, including Water is for Fighting Over and Other Myths about Water and the West, and Science be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River. He is currently writing a book on the history of Albuquerque’s relationship with the Rio Grande, titled Ribbons of Green: The Rio Grande and the Making of a Modern American City.
    • Adrian Oglesby is the Director of Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the University of New Mexico.  Adrian’s legal career has been focused on river and riparian restoration, agricultural preservation, and efficient water management. He is a commissioner on the Acequia del Llano, where he irrigates a small apple orchard.

3:30 PM: Bus Returns to UNM Pickup Site