About the Center

The Utton Transboundary Resources Center researches and provides information to the public about water, natural resources and environmental issues, with a particular focus on New Mexico and the Southwest. It also supports collaborative natural resource management using multidisciplinary expertise and inclusive, diverse stakeholder involvement. The Center also includes the Joe M Stell Ombudsman Program. It offers provides pre-mediation education, as well as information regarding adjudications to unrepresented water rights claimants and defendants.  Its primary purpose is to streamline the adjudication process by providing claimants with unbiased information about the multifaceted process.

Advisory Board - The Utton Center has a board of local and national experts in water and other resource management that gives advice and support on the direction of the Center. List of Advisory Board Members

Staff - The Utton Center has a legal staff of two attorneys: Adrian Oglesby Director, and Darcy S. Bushnell who administers the Joe M Stell Water Ombudsman Program. The Center has a group of affiliates who are available to assist on projects, and it employs researchers and law students for specific projects.

Funding - The Utton Center operates through a combination of private and public funding, and welcomes contributions. The Utton Center has a University of New Mexico Foundation Account which has a 501(c)(3) tax status, therefore a donation is tax deductible. For information, click here.

Partnerships and Collaborations - Besides supporting collaborative resource management, the Utton Center collaborates with other disciplines, such as economics, hydrology, biology, and social science. We partner with other universities, national labs, community groups, tribes and diverse political entities.

Past Directors of the Utton Center

Marilyn C. O'Leary was the Director of the Utton Center from its inception in 2001 until her retirement in June 2007. Marilyn had the vision to shape the organization of the Center's work around several major themes: Transboundary Preventive Diplomacy, New Mexico Water Law and Policy, International Projects, and Education. After her retirement, Marilyn continued to be associated with the Utton Center, especially with the Winters Centennial Conference which was held in June 2008. She returned to the Utton Center as interim director in 2013 to lead a strategic planning effort for the Center and a search for a new director. In 2014, she transitioned to a role as visiting research professor and assisted in planning the Water Resilience and Management Conference held in October 2014. Professor O’Leary will continue as chair of the advisory board of the Center.

Denise Fort served as Director from August 2011 through June 2013. She writes about environmental law, water policy, river restoration, and climate policy. She chaired the Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission, by appointment of President Clinton, which prepared a seminal report on western water policy. Fort also served as Director of New Mexico's Environmental Improvement Division, as an attorney with New Mexico PIRG and Southwest Research and Information Center, and as Executive Director of Citizens for a Better Environment (CA). She was a member of the National Research Council’s Water, Science, and Technology Board and participates in NRC reports. She has worked in public finance as the Secretary of Finance and Administration for New Mexico and an assistant Attorney General in the Taxation and Revenue Department of the State.

Susan Kelly became the Interim Director in 2009 and Director in 2010. She had a 30 year career in law, land use planning, and water law and policy. During her time at the Utton Center, she worked hard to fulfill the Center's important mission in helping bring parties together to discuss natural resources issues, and produced high quality materials, programs and conferences. She retired from the University in 2011.

Sanford E. Gaines was appointed the Director of the Center from 2007 to 2009.  Professor Gaines has long been dedicated to the negotiation and study of effective rules and institutions for regional and international management of the environment and natural resources. He stepped down as Director in July 2009.

Center History - The Utton Transboundary Resources Center was established at the University of New Mexico School of Law to carry on the work of the late Professor Albert E. Utton (1931-1998) related to transboundary resource issues.

Professor Al UttonProfessor Utton, a visionary and man of diplomacy, was co-founder of The International Transboundary Resources Center (CIRT) and the Natural Resources Center (NRC) at the University of New Mexico School of Law.

A Rhodes Scholar who received a law degree from Oxford University, Utton returned to New Mexico and became a faculty member at the School of Law in 1962. Utton received his undergraduate degree in geology from UNM. At the UNM School of Law he focused his talents and energies on international transboundary resource issues.