Stuff I wrote elsewhere: farming cottonwoods

Here’s another look into the western water solution space – an agreement on the Lower Rio Grande under which willing farmers will have a chance to sell their water rights for use recreating lost riparian habitat (story behind survey wall for non-subscribers):

To the list of the Lower Rio Grande’s famous crops, like Hatch’s chile and Mesilla’s pecans, you’ll soon be able to add cottonwoods and Goodding’s willows.

The Elephant Butte Irrigation District board of directors last month approved an agreement that allows farmers to sell water rights so the water can be used to help grow riverside vegetation.

The deal, negotiated over the last decade by environmental groups led by the Audubon Society and the irrigation district’s farmers, is the largest New Mexico example to date of a growing effort across the western United States to reclaim water for riverside environments.

As the last line suggests, there are lots of different ways to do this. In the LRG case, the Bureau of Reclamation quite literally issued a finding that the cottonwoods would be treated just like any other crop, including sharing shortages in times of drought.