Governor signs emergency declaration for Rio Arriba County

Declaration provides new resources to support recovery from heavy rainfall and flash flooding

Santa Fe, NM – Earlier today, Governor Lujan Grisham signed an executive order (attached) declaring a state of emergency in Rio Arriba County. This order aims to provide local governments with the tools and funding they need to begin recovering from the heavy rainfall and severe flooding that began on August 15th.

Like similar declarations for Lincoln, Chaves, Valencia, Eddy, Doña Ana, and Mora counties earlier this year, this order provides up to $750,000 for the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) to support public recovery efforts organized by city and county officials. In this instance, the state constitution does not allow state emergency funds to be used for direct financial assistance to private individuals.

This declaration also means that affected localities within the county could also be eligible for state assistance. Additionally, state emergency declarations authorize the Adjutant General to activate the New Mexico National Guard for necessary support, and they direct all cabinet departments to assist with a statewide response.

“Thank you to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for supporting an Emergency Declaration for Rio Arriba County,” said Alfredo Montoya, Fire Marshal and Emergency Services Chief for Rio Arriba County. “The County is also extremely grateful for the cooperative partnership with DHSEM and for their support and prompt response and assessment of recent monsoonal flooding. Local Acequia’s and infrastructure were significantly damaged by flooding, and we look forward to any and all available resources being used to promptly mitigate the damages. Failure to restore the operations of our local Acequia’s will have severe adverse effects on our predominately agricultural communities.”

“Our department has been coordinating with emergency managers and first responders in Rio Arriba County since this disaster began,” said DHSEM Secretary Bianca OrtizWertheim. “Throughout this process, so many incredible public servants have worked so hard to ensure a swift and effective recovery. Now, with the funds from this emergency declaration, local leaders will have the resources they need to repair damaged roadways, water systems, and other infrastructure that our communities need to thrive. Thank you to Governor Lujan Grisham and all the emergency responders who are supporting this recovery.

A list of frequently asked questions regarding flooding is available here on the Rio Arriba County website.


DHSEM works to protect the people of New Mexico and the nation through a comprehensive and coordinated program of mitigating hazards, preparing for emergencies, preventing attacks, and recovering from disasters.