North American Wetland Conservation Act Small Grant Awarded to CPLA!

CPLA’s Stewardship Program recently received word that we were awarded $75,000 in funding from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Small Grant Program to conduct wetlands enhancement and restoration work along the Rio Chamita. The Rio Chamita Habitat Resiliency Project’s goals are to improve waterfowl and migratory bird habitat in the Rio Chamita watershed by working with two private landowners — one in CO and one in NM — to undertake a number of activities including:

1. Re-establishing native forbs, grasses, and woody vegetation and exclosures to protect plantings from wildlife and cattle
2. Expand and connect a 10-acre wetland complex and build a variety of habitat types within the complex
3. Conduct a prescribed burn to recycle nutrients, and initiate re-growth of wetland herbaceous cover.

“When writing the proposal for this grant, some of the most compelling aspects were that there are other investments happening in the watershed, like forest health treatments funded by the Rio Grande Water Fund, and the new Village of Chama Wastewater Treatment plant scheduled to break ground this year,” says Emily Olson, CPLA’s Stewardship Coordinator. “That, and the fact that both of these properties are already under conservation easement. Funding partners like to see that their investment in a property will continue to benefit the landscape, even if the ownership changes.”

Wetlands are a critical habitat type in the CPLA region and, in addition to wildlife habitat, provide critical ecosystem services to people, including improving water quality, water retention, and groundwater recharge. The Rio Chamita Habitat Resiliency Project engages 10 partners from Colorado and New Mexico and is a great example of how CPLA works to identify and leverage funding and technical resources for coordinated landscape-scale conservation projects across multiple properties.

Wetland site along the Chamita in the Chama Peak Land Alliance region.

Wetland site along the Chamita in the Chama Peak Land Alliance region.