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Mimbres Valley Irrigation Co. v. Salopek

Citation: 7 ELR 20696
No. No. 11904, 564 P.2d 615/90 N.M. 410, (N.M., 05/23/1977)

Applying the Cappaert decision, 6 ELR 20540, the court affirms a district court ruling that the United States failed to reserve water rights in the Gila National Forest for recreational purposes. Under the implied reservation doctrine, the United States may claim only that amount of water necessary to meet the specific purposes of a national forest.The statute establishing the Gila National Forest provided for withdrawal of land only for the purpose of ensuring water flow sufficient to meet the goal of continuous production of timber. Though the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act favors multiple purposes, it cannot serve to broaden the central purpose of forest production. Since recreational requirements were not originally contemplated, the district court properly rejected the claim of the United States that it should receive water sufficient to preserve minimum in-stream flows for recreational purposes. Consequently, the state rather than the federal government has jurisdiction over allocation of water rights for recreational permittees.

Counsel for Appellant
Victor Ortega, U.S. Attorney; James B. Grant, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse, Room 12020, 500 Gold Ave., SW, Albuquerque NM 87103
(506) 766-3341

Peter R. Steenland, Jr.
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-4426

Counsel for Appellees
J. Wayne Woodbury
214 N. Bullard, Silver City NM 88061
(505) 538-3729

Ben Shantz
Shantz, Dickson & Young
212 N. Arizona, Silver City NM 88061
(505) 538-2926

Counsel for Intervenor State of New Mexico
Toney Anaya, Attorney General; Paul L. Bloom, Richard A. Simms, Ass't Attorneys General
Department of Justice, State Capitol, Santa Fe NM 87503
(505) 827-2844

SOSA and EASLEY, JJ., concur.