What does a soil and water conservation district do? - Albuquerque Journal

What does a soil and water conservation district do?

We would like to introduce the Ciudad Soil & Water Conservation District, a political subdivision of the state of New Mexico, which promotes the conservation, improvement and responsible use of the natural resources within our boundaries, which encompass Bernalillo and southwestern Sandoval counties.

The soil and water conservation districts were established across the country after the devastating Dust Bowl erosion in the 1930s. Some are funded by mill levies, others, such as Ciudad, rely almost entirely on winning grants. The districts are structured to bring resource allocation and decision-making to the local level to ensure solutions are tailored to specific needs. It is a process that works beautifully.

We greatly appreciate the support and collaboration of our valued partners who make it possible to carry out our mission: At the federal level, this includes the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service; in New Mexico, the departments of agriculture and environment, and the State Forestry Division; and, locally, Bernalillo County, the city of Albuquerque and the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority.

Environmental education is a key focus. If you have had third- or fifth-graders in Albuquerque or Rio Rancho public schools, you may know us through our Arroyo Classroom and RiverXchange programs, which teach students about arroyo safety — stay away when it rains! — local ecology and the importance of protecting our scarce water resources in this arid environment. If you live in the East Mountains, you may know us as a sponsor of the twice-yearly Green Waste Days — now through Oct. 31. Homeowners can dispose of potentially combustible tree and plant materials at the East Mountain transfer station at no cost. Or you may have taken advantage of our fuels reduction program, which creates a plan for a safe space around your house and assists with the cost of forest thinning by one of our approved contractors. Both remove dangerous fuels that could threaten properties if a forest fire should approach. CSWCD also provides oversized reflective house numbers to residents to make it easier for first responders to find them if needed. Other activities have included major thinning on Bernalillo County and city Open Space properties under the auspices of State Forestry and providing arborist services to remove potentially dangerous trees at Carlito Springs.

Planning for the future is crucial. We are sponsoring a study for the Tijeras Creek Arroyo, which runs from north of Tijeras all the way across the city to the Rio Grande, to delineate steps needed to improve the upper Tijeras Creek watershed. The district is working with the city to manage the rehabilitation and conversion of farm fields back to wildlife habitat at the Candelaria Nature Preserve.

There is much more to share than we can fit in here, so please visit our website to learn more about us and what we have to offer. Ciudad SWCD strives to work with our landowners and communities to sustain and improve soil, water, air, plants, and wildlife and livestock resources in our region. We need your input to ensure we are addressing the natural resource concerns most important to you.

Daniel Conklin is supervisor of the Ciudad Soil & Water Conservation District. Steve Glass is chairman of the Ciudad Soil & Water Conservation District and Zoe Economou is treasurer.


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