- Associated Press - Monday, June 30, 2014

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - Work is underway to restore river habitat at dozens of sites along the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico and West Texas.

The work is part of a program being implemented by the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Commission officials collaborated with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, Audubon New Mexico and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to establish a voluntary program to acquire water and water rights to support the establishment of native trees, shrubs and grasslands.

Officials call the program innovative and say it’s a key aspect of the commission’s efforts to restore riparian areas along the river.

Officials held ceremony Monday near Las Cruces to celebrate the first irrigation aimed at benefiting native plant restoration.

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