The Cerro Grande Fire and Its Effect On The Rio Grande Watershed

In response to the potential threat to our watershed, on July 8, 2000, the first of two public workshops will be convened at the Eldorado Hotel with national and local experts and community members to attain a comprehensive view of the effects of the Cerro Grande Fire on our watershed.

The Rio Grande/Bravo is the lifeblood of New Mexico, southern Texas and northern Mexico, providing water for 10 million people. Because of the Cerro Grande fire, a large forested area has been denuded and there is concern about rains, erosion and runoff of toxic materials from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to the Rio Grande/Bravo Watershed.

The purpose of the workshop is to broaden public awareness about the environmental and health risks that may result from runoff and to encourage independent oversight of LANL's measures toward protecting New Mexico's largest watershed. It is an opportunity for all of us to come together to develop a proclamation, from the people to our elected officials, so greater accountability and information can become available to all.

This workshop is being sponsored by Concerned Citizen for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) and Robert Alvarez of the Nuclear Policy Project/Fund for Constitutional Government. The first workshop will be held at the Eldorado Hotel Ballroom from 9am to 6pm, Saturday, July 8. Workshop participants are expected to include representatives of the State of New Mexico, the Pueblos, LANL/UC, DOE, watershed and environmental organizations, and independent scientific and health experts, farmers, lab workers and community members.

In the morning session there will be a panel discussion with national and local experts defining the issues, especially as they pertain to the impacts of radioactive and other hazardous contaminants on the Rio Grande Watershed. In the afternoon session there will be breakout groups for people to identify community concerns in the aftermath of the Cerro Grande fire. The workshop breakout groups will address issues of health and safety, rehabilitation of habitat, and river and watershed concerns.

We are looking forward to your participation. This is an extraordinary moment in history to protect our bioregion and learn more about how we can all work together to ensure the safety of our water.

The El Dorado Hotel is located at 309 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, NM. For more information, contact Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety at (505) 986-1973; fax (505) 986-0997; or email at, or and Robert Alvarez at (301)585-7672; fax (301)585-9474; or email at


Central Document for the conference