Our conservation projects on public lands require permission from and collaboration with the responsible land management agency. Consequently, project schedules and locations sometimes change because of changing agency priorities or other constraints. Most of our projects are on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF). Typically, we work with them early in the year to decide on a list of mutually-acceptable projects and dates. Most of the time the projects are held as scheduled. When there are changes we will notify the membership through Constant Contact e-mailings and with notices posted on our website.
There are two significant happenings on the SFNF that will affect our volunteer projects over the next few years. The first was the 2014 endangered species listing of the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse (NMMJM). In Fall 2014 the SFNF issued a closure order on the meadow portions of the Rio Cebolla and Rio San Antonio, enforced by the encircling barbed wire fencing. Now the SFNF is proposing a permanent steel pipe fence to replace the barbed wire. Mouse recovery will depend on improvement of riparian habitat along those streams. So far, the SFNF has not disclosed any plans for how they will do any restoration, beyond building the fence. Once they get through all their planning, which could take a long time, I expect that there will be a lot of possible project work, which may provide volunteer opportunities.
The second happening is the completion and approval of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Southwest Jemez Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project, a mouthful that is usually referred to as the CFLRP. The CFLRP is a funded, agency collaboration that encompasses the whole west side of the Jemez to do all kinds of work to improve forest and stream health and function. With the EIS approval, significant funding has been freed up and projects will soon be underway. One of the first will be stream improvements on the lower Jemez downstream of Jemez Springs. As of now, the work will be done by contractors, but there may be opportunities for us at a later time.
The 2016 Volunteer Conservation Project Schedule:
April 9 – Rio Guadalupe corridor cleanup
June 4 – Stream bank restoration, willow planting, and annual stream side BBQ on Rio Guadalupe and Cebolla
July 23 – Continuation of June 4 project
August 20 – Riparian fencing near San Antonio campground