Gov. Lujan Grisham appoints new Interstate Stream Commission members
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday appointed seven new members to the Interstate Stream Commission and re-appointed an eighth.
“Our water is our most precious natural resource,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “These individuals are tasked with upholding the people’s trust and providing for a sustainable future of that resource. My expectation is their diverse knowledge and expertise will serve New Mexicans well.”
Per state statute, the governor’s appointees must be representative of diverse major irrigation districts or sections of the state. At least one commissioner shall be a member of a tribe or pueblo. The appointees, who are not subject to state Senate confirmation, serve non-staggered six-year terms.
The governor appointed Aron Balok, Bidtah Becker, Greg Carrasco, Paula Garcia, Mike Hamman, Stacy Timmons and Tanya Trujillo. The governor re-appointed, as chair, Mark Sanchez. The ninth member of the commission is, per statute, State Engineer John D’Antonio.
Aron Balok is the superintendent of the Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District, where he has served for a decade, since 2009, overseeing all operations. Previously he was the southeastern regional director of the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau. He has been a member of the Groundwater Management Districts Association and the National Water Resource Association, where he presently serves as secretary and treasurer of the New Mexico chapter.
Bidtak Becker was, through January, the executive director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources in Window Rock, Ariz. She has served in various roles at the Nation, including as assistant attorney general in the natural resources unit, representing the Nation’s interests in environmental matters, and as an attorney in the Nation’s Department of Justice water rights unit. She is a trustee at the Institute of American Indian Arts and has also served as board director for the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts and the UNM Law Alumni Association.
Gregory Carrasco is a farmer and rancher in Las Cruces who spent much of his career with Farm Credit Services of New Mexico and who brings an important agricultural perspective to water issues. In addition to multiple farming and cattle interests, he was the president and owner of a real estate title insurance agency and director with a company dealing in real estate and cattle operations in New Mexico and other regional states. He has served with the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, the New Mexico State University Foundation and the Diocese of Las Cruces Foundation.
Paula Garcia is the executive director of the New Mexico Acequia Association, where she has worked for more than 20 years, since 1998. Garcia was previously the chair of the Mora County Commission and serves as a board member and was president of the New Mexico Association of Counties. She was previously a member and chair of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Minority Farmers Advisory Committee, appointed by former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Mike Hamman is the chief engineer and CEO at the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, where under his leadership the district has improved drought resiliency for irrigators while meeting a broadening mission in environmental and recreational services. He has more than 35 years of public service specializing in water resource management. He has also worked as an area manager at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Albuquerque, as the executive director of the Trinity River Restoration Program in Weaverville, Calif., and as a water administrator at the Jicarilla Apache Nation, among other posts.
Stacy Timmons is a hydrogeologist and program manager at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, the state geologic survey, at New Mexico Tech in Socorro. Having worked on a variety of water issues over more than 15 years in New Mexico and with numerous publications, she currently manages the Aquifer Mapping Program, a group of researchers who work to address groundwater quantity and quality questions in New Mexico.
Tanya Trujillo is the lower basin project director at the Colorado River Sustainability Campaign, where she coordinates efforts among state, federal, tribal and local agencies to promote efficient water management in Western states. She has previously been executive director of the Colorado River Board of California and counselor to the assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of the Interior. She also served as general counsel to the Interstate Stream Commission.