Overall Health Index

The Overall Health Index is the average of the four category scores: Water Quality & Quantity, Management & Governance, Society & Culture, and Landscapes & Ecology. Status of indicators within these categories was evaluated by comparing data to scientifically-derived thresholds or goals. Region-level indicator scores are area-weighted or population-weighted, as appropriate, to calculate the overall watershed score for each indicator.

The Upper Rio Grande Basin is in Moderate Condition

Human-driven factors such as climate change and land use change continue to stress the Upper Rio Grande and its capacity to provide enough water for residents, croplands, and wildlife. Increasingly severe droughts and wildfires will maintain water stress. Improvement is urgently needed to ensure that people and wildlife have access to the water and resources they need. Current water resource governance and management are inadequate to equitably distribute water across communities within the Upper Rio Grande. Resilience can be achieved through adaptation. Despite these many threats, communities and governments within the region are engaged and motivated to work through today’s environmental issues for the promise of a more sustainable future.

Water Quality and Quantity

  Annual low flow | Annual low flow examines the mean flow of the driest 7-day period in any given year.

  Zero Flow Days | Zero flow days analyzes the number of days when perennial streams or the river are dry.

  Municipal Water Supply | Municipal water supply scores the trend in domestic water use per capita.

  Groundwater | Groundwater analyzes the change in water level for aquifers in the basin.

  Agriculture surface water supply | Agriculture surface water supply evaluates the surface water delivered to agricultural users.

  Flow Alteration | Flow alteration assesses the current flows alteration compared to the historic natural flows.

  Water Supply for Compact | Water supply for compact evaluates if states meet the compact between NM, CO, and TX.

  Impaired Streams | Impaired streams is the streams deemed impaired by the EPA compared to unimpaired streams.


Social and Cultural

  Park Visitation | Park visitation scores the number of state and national park visitors from the most recent year against visitation from previous years.

  Recreation Access | Recreation access examines if people think public access to outdoor recreation is adequate.

  Cultural and Historical Places | Cultural & historic places examines if people think cultural and historic sites are being respected and maintained.

  Walkability | Walkability assesses if people in urban areas can walk to a park in 10 minutes.

  Heat Vulnerability Index | Heat vulnerability index measures climate- safe neighborhoods, including tree canopy, impervious surface, temperature, and poverty.

  Social Vulnerability Index | Social vulnerability index measures how vulnerable a community is to hazardous events.

  Air Quality | Air quality assesses presence of air pollutants such as ozone and nitrogen dioxide.

  Affordable Housing | Affordable housing assesses the amount of income spent on housing.


Management and Governance

  Native peoples and acequias support | Native peoples and acequias support considers the level of government and state funding for tribal nations, Pueblos, and acequias.

  Native peoples and acequias representation | Native peoples and acequias representation examines whether indigenous communities can equitably participate in water management.

  Water Resource Governance | Water resource governance examines if people think water resources are being governed effectively.

  Water Resource Management | Water resource management examined citizen perception of water resource management.

  Protected Lands | Protected lands examines areas of protected lands in the basin to meet the goal of 30% protection by 2030.

  Fire | Fire measures preventative burn treatments for forests with potential fire impact.


Landscapes and Ecology

  Riparian Areas | Riparian areas calculates the loss of riparian vegetation area compared to the historic area.

  Invasive Trees and Shrubs | Invasive trees and shrubs assesses wetlands area of native versus non-native trees and shrubs.

  Wetland Loss | Wetland loss calculates the net loss of wetland habitat.

  Bird Diversity | Bird diversity calculates the Simpson’s Diversity Index for all bird species in the region.

  Silvery Minnow | Silvery minnow assesses the last remaining population, which only occurs in the Middle Rio Grande, by looking at the catch per unit effort per river length.

  Native Fish Diversity | Fish diversity calculates the Simpson’s Diversity Index for native fish species in the region.

  All Fish Diversity | Fish diversity calculates the Simpson’s Diversity Index for all fish species in the region.