August 2015 Rio Brazos Field Tour

During the summer of 2015, both the CPLA board and the Rio Chama Watershed Sub-Committee identified the Rio Brazos as a watershed of great importance to the region. Given this great interest from diverse stakeholders, Frank Simms of Chama Land and Cattle and CPLA board chair offered to lead a tour of the upper watershed. Joining in the tour were representatives from Brazos Canyon Volunteer Fire District, NM Association of Conservation Districts, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Rio Arriba County, community members, and acequia users. Everyone was enthralled by the beauty of the landscape and diverse wildlife. Stops included overlooks of the East Fork, West Fork and and main stem of the Brazos. Participants discussed what they observed, including dense forests (with some of the stands having a high percentage of dead trees due to spruce budworm), and a shallow, wide streambed with algal growth and brainstormed what is needed for this landscape to address big-picture issues affecting the watershed including water quality and fish habitat, forest health, and wildfire risk. CPLA plans to continue the dialogue and will host a Part II Field tour of the lower portion of the watershed.

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