The Minnow Would Be Lost
The fate of the silvery minnow remains up in the air after a federal judge postponed a decision yesterday in a controversial water-rights case, saying he wanted to review information about the endangered species’ habitat. For those of you who haven’t been following the story, a coalition of environmental groups has asked the judge to order the city of Albuquerque to allow water to be released into the Rio Grande to keep the river running and protect the minnow. Some stretches of the Rio Grande are within days of running dry unless the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation receives the okay to spill millions of gallons of water into the river. The catch is that Albuquerque owns the water, and Mayor Martin Chavez, who has described the battle as pitting minnows against people, is loathe to grant permission to release it. The judge’s final decision could have a lasting effect on the city’s future by defining how much control city hall has over its water claims. Chavez has said that he would appeal any order to release the water.