Watershed Resiliency

The Chama Peak Land Alliance is working to build resiliency in the San Juan – Rio Chama Watershed region of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Our primary resource concern is water availability and water quality degradation due to decades of fire suppression resulting in overgrown forests that are susceptible to catastrophic fire outside the natural range of variation. Resulting debris flows that reduce the efficacy and overall function of the San Juan – Chama Diversion tunnels and reservoirs have the potential to degrade water quality in tributaries of the Rio Chama Watershed impacting downstream water users, including the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Secondary concerns include soil quality degradation, inadequate fish & wildlife habitat, degraded plant conditions decreasing agriculture opportunities, and climate change.

In order to address this resource concern taking into consideration climate change impacts, we are utilizing “resiliency” thinking rather than a more traditional restoration approach that would mimic pre-settlement conditions. Resiliency addresses our approach to conduct forest and watershed health treatments that allow the system to “bounce back from disturbance while maintaining the same basic structure and function into the future.”

For more information about our fire ecology and resiliency project with the Rio Grande Water Fund, click here.

For more information about our update to the Rio Arriba County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), click here.

To read our 2015 “Chama Healthy Forest and Wood Utilization Study” click here.

San Juan – Chama Diversion Map: Click on the image below for a larger version of the map.