Danielle Prokop

Danielle Prokop

Danielle Prokop is a freelance reporter based in the Borderlands. She covers climate change, local government and communities in Southern New Mexico and Far West Texas.

JD Schmidt's sheep graze in the San Luis Valley on June 23, 2022.

A new mentality of collaboration in a river district

By: - February 6, 2023

MANASSA, Colo. — Nathan Coombs, who manages the Conejos River District, used to hold beliefs that more water for conservation meant less for farmers.  “I was raised on a production ag farm,” he said. “Water was for crops. That was the only use in my perspective.” The farmer from Manassa, Colorado, said his mind was changed […]

Kyler Brown drives a calf on June 21, 2022 as part of a drive that went through downtown Del Norte, Colorado.

Moral questions on a standard San Luis Valley farm

By: - February 3, 2023

MONTE VISTA, Colo. — A self-described Midwest import from Missouri, 39-year old Kyler Brown is a cowboy, farmer and philosopher. These days, he feels driven by questions of life and death.  “Do people feel like they have morality in their occupation? I think people have moral moments, but probably most people don’t question the morality of […]

Beetle-bitten fir and spruce, along with burn-scarred aspens, are part of the fabric of the forest around the Rio Grande headwaters.

Drought, plague and fire: What one Colorado forest is up against

By: - February 1, 2023

RIO GRANDE NATIONAL FOREST — The high alpine forests are a sickbed. Swathes of gray trees are bald on one side, with patches of russet needles fading into scraggly branches. Others show thick strips of bark sloughed off, revealing bleached trunks beneath.  Much of the 1.86 million acres of Rio Grande National Forest is dead. […]

Farmer Kyler Brown in front of a small dam on the Rio Grande at a farm outside of Monte Vista, Colorado.

Living on the knife’s edge, even at the source of the Rio Grande

By: - January 30, 2023

RIO GRANDE RESERVOIR, Colo — After 15 miles of pockmarked dirt road, the Rio Grande spreads wide in the shadows of the San Juan Mountains. It glitters, aqua, whitecaps whipped up by the wind. But even in the birthplace of the river lay the stark stains of climate change.  Deep, bald scars pucker the mountaintops, […]

A river wounded: Crisis on the Rio Grande

By: - January 30, 2023

The Rio Grande existed long before humans. It may not outlive us.  Through millions of years, the river is mapped in strata, in oral traditions. More recently, in computer models.  All tell of rapidly receding waters. A shrunken Rio Grande remains for thirstier landscapes and wildlife drawn to its banks. For people, too. The river […]

Midwives, doulas, and reproductive health organizers listen to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, as she thanks them for their work in the Roundhouse.

Planners for southern N.M. reproductive health clinic gather in the capital to talk next steps

By: - January 23, 2023

There’s no timeline for the future $10 million reproductive health center in Las Cruces, N.M., but advocates turned out at the capital, touting a vision beyond abortion care. About two dozen supporters of the health center — including advocacy nonprofits such as Forward Together, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and Bold Futures NM — […]

Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA) led a “die-in” demonstration in the Roundhouse rotunda before the governor’s State of the State address on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

N.M. government tasked with responding to climate disasters and grappling with their cause

By: - January 18, 2023

Advocacy groups praised the governor’s proposal for a boost in state environment programs, but activists also urged the state government to do more to fight climate change in a busy opening day of the 2023 legislative session. Record oil and gas revenues soaring to what lawmakers called “once-in-history” levels brought New Mexico a more than […]

The crowd fills in at El Calvario United Methodist Church's offices Friday, Jan. 14 for a meeting hosted by Las Cruces lawmakers to seek public input on the upcoming legislative session.

Flood infrastructure and housing among the big legislative asks from southern New Mexicans

By: - January 17, 2023

LAS CRUCES — About 40 people packed themselves into the offices of El Calvario Church Friday night, squeezing between high-backed quilted chairs and lining the edges of the room. For the next two hours, the air buzzed with requests, concerns and questions for state lawmakers about how to spend a record $3.6 billion budget surplus. […]

Possible deal to end Rio Grande SCOTUS case becomes public

By: - January 11, 2023

A proposed agreement between Texas, New Mexico and Colorado was unsealed Monday, months after the states announced a deal to end nearly a decade-old Supreme Court case over Rio Grande water.  The deal would amend the 83-year old legal basis for how the three states split water from the river under the Rio Grande Compact. […]

Settlement agreement could emerge from behind closed doors in fight over Rio Grande water

By: - December 15, 2022

After the October bombshell of a draft agreement to end Texas and New Mexico’s fight over Rio Grande water dropped, much of the controversy in the Supreme Court lawsuit slipped behind sealed documents and hearings closed to the public.  The lawsuit — officially called Original No. 141 Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado — dragged […]

Pueblos again seek inclusion in Rio Grande decision-making

By: - May 16, 2022

Members of six New Mexico Pueblos are calling for a seat at the table from the body that oversees how the Rio Grande’s water is split, managed and used between states.  A coalition representing Cochiti, Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Sandia and Isleta attended the annual Rio Grande Compact Commission meeting on May 6.  […]

Lack of movement on extension of radiation compensation fund worries NM Downwinders

By: - March 10, 2022

An extension for the fund to support people exposed to radiation will not be included in the omnibus spending bill Congress is working on to keep the government open. The 32-year old fund enacted in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) provides lump sums to people exposed to radiation — or their families — who […]