Photo: Adriel Heisey
this land of little rain, the green river corridors are
literally the lifeblood of our communities. In New Mexico, over
80% of the state's population resides in cities along the Rio
Grande. But waterways are not only the lifeblood of human
communities in the Southwest, these rivers are also the
biological backbone of our arid ecosystem. Eighty percent of all
vertebrate species in the Southwest depend on riparian areas,
and over half these species cannot survive without regular
access to riparian zones.
Southwestern river systems are suffering from decades of
improper land management. Water diversions, flood control, and
cattle grazing have all contributed to the degradation of
southwestern river systems. Dewatering and overgrazing and other
stresses have eliminated native trees and allowed invasive
non-native trees to become established, all of which further
stresses the ability of these critical ecosystems to function
Unranching for a Wilder West
Over 98 % of the western landscape is under the yoke of the
western livestock industry. Everything from wolves to waterways
and wildfire suffer as a result of the rancher dominant
paradigm. Our vision of river restoration begins with the
removal of domestic livestock grazing to allow a wilder,
sustainable landscape to again thrive. It’s amazing to see that
this simple act allows vegetation to re-colonize streambanks
thereby purify and cooling waters and providing important
habitat for wildlife.
See photos of ecosystem
Tree Planting: A Radical Path to River Renewal
The simple act of planting native streamside trees within rivers
systems can have a profound effect in hastening the recovery of
these “Arteries of Life”. Native riparian trees have the ability
to stabilize water temperatures, filter out impurities, and
provide nutrients, wildlife habitat, and future seed source for
future generations of trees.
Riparian zones, when fully functional, help regulate river flow
by mitigating the destructive potential of flash floods and
storing water for steady release throughout dry periods.
about streamside forests..
Our Conservation Preserves
We have leased parcels of land along the Santa Fe River, Rio Puerco, Rio
Embudo, and Babocomari Rivers. Our goal is to restore the ecological vitality
and aesthetic beauty of rivers providing both a home for species
dependent on these corridors of life and a natural area for the
community to enjoy.
Babocomari River Preserve
Rio Embudo Preserve
Rio Puerco Preserve
Santa Fe River Preserve
For specific questions about our conservation efforts,
contact Jim Matison,
River Restoration Director.