Caitlin's Year of Service is Ending Soon...

After a year of service, Caitlin Barbour, our current VISTA, will be completing her term on March 18th. She has spent the last year working on getting the Partnership reorganized, planning Congreso 2019, and building a platform for the next VISTA. During this year as an AmeriCorps VISTA, she has been rewarded with the experience of working in a professional setting, expanding her skillsets and knowledge, and has been exposed to more cultures and communities than she would have otherwise been able to experience.

Some of her most memorable moments include exploring the local outdoors, being able to visit multiple parts of New Mexico and Colorado through traveling for presentations & workshops, and meeting so many new people from different backgrounds.

The biggest challenge she faced was becoming familiar with the area quickly enough, especially as she is the first VISTA to come from out of state. Another factor of this was living in a rural area as the majority of her life has been spent in urban or semi-urban locations.

With the experiences and fun that she's had during this past year, the AmeriCorps VISTA experience is definitely something that Caitlin would recommend. Whether somebody is needing a foot in the door with experience, unsure if a certain career field is for them, or somebody taking a gap year, her experience as a VISTA is something that she will always remember and be grateful for.

Recently, the Partnership sponsors applied for another three-year VISTA project and were approved! This project will have a large focus on education and outreach and will also be working more closely with the Partnership than the previous project. Our next AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, Jared Daniels, will begin serving as VISTA in April.

Thank you to Caitlin for her service and best wishes for the next adventure!

If you’d like to reach out to Caitlin and thank her for her year of service or ask questions about AmeriCorps and VISTA you can email her until March 18th.

Learn more about the VISTA position.

Join us March 14th from 5 - 7 pm for a going-away gathering for Caitlin in Chama! Light pizza and drink refreshements will be served; please bring a dish to pass. RVSP to Emily for directions (email or 888-445-7708 ext. 1).

Will you help us support local graduating seniors?

Did you know that CPA offers scholarships to graduating high school seniors at Escalante and Pagosa Springs High Schools? These scholarships support advanced studies at any college, university, or technical college and are sponsored by 262 Ranches, of Tierra Amarila, New Mexico, and donors like you!

Students do not need to be majoring in conservation or the biological sciences, but must write an essay describing why private land conservation is meaningful to them. First place awards of $1,000 and runner-up awards of $500 are given to as many students as our fund can support in a given year.

Application materials are available through each school's counselor's office during the winter semester of each school year (pst…materials are available NOW!).

Interested in donating to support this scholarship fund? We’d LOVE to add your support for these amazing students! Click here to donate online or send a check made out to “Chama Peak Land Alliance” to PO Box 5701, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Make sure to indicate your donation is for the scholarship fund.

Read about the exceptional students that received scholarships in 2018 here.

Mule Deer and Elk Status Update Presentation - April 23rd

Please join us on April 23rd from 6-8 pm at the Chama Senior Center (next to Lowe’s grocery store) for an informative presentation from Tom Watts, Southwest Wildlife Services. Tom will provide an overview of his report "Mule Deer and Elk Status Report for the San Juan/Chama Basin: 2014-2016 Update" covering population trends of these two species. Tom will also discuss steps landowners can take to support big game populations in our region.

You can read Tom’s first report and the 2016 update on our Resources page here. Scroll down to “Wildlife and Fisheries”

 
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4th Annual Rio Chama Congreso - Registration Open Now!

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Sponsored by the San Juan-Chama Watershed Partnership, the 4th annual Rio Chama Watershed Congreso is to be held February 23, 2019 from 8 am to 5 pm at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

The congreso concept is that collaborative decision-making can combine local knowledge with scientific management to sustain indigenous cultures, provide educational and economic opportunity for young residents and protect our resources. Last year’s event explored a dozen river and watershed restoration projects that have potential to improve the quality of life for all residents-ranchers, villagers, and recreationists who rely on the Rio Chama. This year’s theme is “Infrastructure Challenges”.

You are invited to participate! Together with students and other citizens, agencies (Forest Service, Game and Fish, State Engineer) and non-governmental organizations (NM Association of Conservation Districts, Chama Peak Land Alliance, Rio Grande Restoration, and others) help to decide how to best address our water and land management challenges in the Chama Basin.

Please SHARE this invitation and if you find others in your community or agency are also interested, by all means urge them to register. There is no charge to participate and lunch is provided. More information, including a full agenda, will be made available on the San Juan-Chama Watershed Partnership website prior to the event.

REGISTER HERE

We're hiring! AmeriCorp VISTA Volunteer for 2019 - Apply by Feb. 15th

The Chama Peak Land Alliance (CPLA) and Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) are hiring the next VISTA Volunteer to support our organizations and the San Juan-Chama Watershed Partnership. This is a NEW position and will have a different focus than the current VISTA position. You can read about the current and past VISTA Volunteers here and learn more about this new opportunity below and on the application page.

Opportunity: We request that interested individuals respond to this inquiry for a Conservation Legacy DOI/AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer position to be based in Chama, New Mexico. This is a 1 year position beginning in March 2019, with the option of extending to a two-year term.
Deadline: Friday, February 15th.


Position Summary: The key purpose of this VISTA Volunteer position is to coordinate outreach to support an initiative that focuses on creating and enhancing multiple linkages between people and the land and waters of the San Juan and Chama watersheds. The people who live in the San Juan – Chama Watershed region are diverse, with many connections to the land and water: spiritual, financial, historical, and emotional. The San Juan – Chama Watershed Partnership honors the many links that exist between all these people and the land and water of these watersheds, with emphasis on funding and coordinating watershed and forest health improvements that preserve the land and water for both local residents and downstream water users. This VISTA Volunteer position will support existing programs and generate new opportunities to create links between the Rio Chama (and the San Juan) watershed with an emphasis on natural resources and the people who live within the watershed as well as those who live downstream who benefit from Natural Resources provided by the watershed. The VISTA’s efforts will help alleviate poverty and empower community members in the region by providing education and skill development opportunities for natural resource workers, small business owners, and other partnerships in the region. The VISTA position will help the San Juan – Chama Watershed Partnership build sustainable capacity by fostering relationships between partners, members, and agency representatives. These relationships will long outlast the VISTA Volunteers’ terms of service. The VISTA will engage in outreach specifically surrounding wildfire mitigation in the region with the intent to further protect the San Juan – Chama Project’s infrastructure and the forested watersheds that surround it.


Qualifications: Preference will be given to individuals who reside locally in the region, however, out of state candidates are welcome to apply. Candidate should have excellent communication skills and have an interest in organizational development, poverty alleviation, and conservation. Both college graduates and non-graduates are encouraged to apply; all applications from those 18 and older will be considered. VISTA Volunteers are government employees and must have a valid U.S. driver’s license.


Stipend and Resources: The VISTA Volunteer will be provided with a monthly stipend that is equivalent to 105% of the poverty line for Rio Arriba County. Housing, utilities, office space, computer, cell phone, and a vehicle will be provided by the Bureau of Reclamation. Other benefits from AmeriCorp include a limited health plan, forbearance on qualified student loans, an educational award, and a professional development stipend.

To learn more about the DOI/VISTA Program: www.doivista.org

Apply online HERE

Scholarship Opportunity for High School Seniors

The Chama Peak Land Alliance is pleased to once again support scholarships for conservation-minded area high school seniors who plan to pursue additional education after graduating in the spring of 2019. Scholarships are available to Pagosa Springs High School and Escalante High School seniors who are pursuing a degree or training at any university, college, or technical school. One first-place award of $1,000 and a runner-up award of $500 are available at each school.

Interested students should contact their school’s counselor’s office for application materials and information regarding submission deadlines.

Providing scholarships to deserving high school students is part of the Alliance’s Education and Economy Program. Biographies of our 2018 scholarship awardees can be viewed by clicking here.

RCPP Grant Round Two Application Period Open Now

A second signup period for the San Juan - Rio Chama RCPP grant is open now until January 18, 2019. Previous applications received after the first signup deadline will be included in this round. Only applications for Forest/Woodland projects are currently being accepted as funds for irrigation and grazing projects have been fully allocated.

This grant is a collaborative project to implement on-the-ground conservation practices across a large region of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, including the Alliance region. The  program and application process will be managed by the East Rio Arriba Soil and Water Conservation District. 

Private landowners and public land lessees within the project boundary may be eligible for project funds.

For more information, contact Norman Vigil (575-684-0042) or call the East Rio Arriba SWCD office (505-753-0477).

Read more about the RCPP Grant and find application materials HERE.

CPLA Winter Social February 1st! Join us!

You are Invited!

Please join us for our 2019 Winter Social! We will have food, networking, and an informative speaker on Environmental Education! All CPLA members, neighbors, and friends are invited—open to all! This is a great opportunity to meet other members, landowners and managers, and hear about the exciting projects and events we have planned for 2019.

Speaker: Claudia Reynoso, science teacher at Escalante High School and CPLA Board Member, will speak about her efforts to engage students with hands-on science learning in and outside the classroom!

February 1, 2019 at 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the Upper Chama Soil and Water Conservation District office in Tierra Amarilla (across from the Post Office).

 
Having fun during a forest health presentation by Mary Stuever at the 2018 Winter Social.

Having fun during a forest health presentation by Mary Stuever at the 2018 Winter Social.

 

Prescribed Fire on Private Lands Workshop Jan 25th

Have you ever considered using prescribed fire - also called controlled burning - as a land management tool on property you own or manage? Are you curious about why fire is an important management tool, what the process is, or what resources are available for private lands? If so, then please join us on Friday, January 25th for a workshop on prescribed fire on private lands in Chama, NM. We will cover a broad range of topics applicable to private lands, with a focus on the nuts and bolts of implementation from planning to burn day. We will also discuss permitting, state laws, liability and risk management. Landowners and managers will come away with clear next steps and an understanding of the process required to take full advantage of resources for prescribed fire that are available right now in our region! Early planning is important in order to implement a burn when environmental conditions are right, so please join us this month for this important discussion!

This free workshop is sponsored and led by the Chama Peak Land Alliance with support from our partners at the Forest Stewards Guild and The Nature Conservancy’s Fire Learning Network.

Friday, January 25, 2019 from 9 am to 4 pm at the Chama Senior Center next to Lowe’s grocery store in Chama, NM. Light lunch provided. No RSVP necessary.

Topics to Be Covered:

  • Why use fire for land management (forest or range), seasonal and other considerations

  • Timeline for implementation - the process start to finish

  • Resources available to private lands

  • Planning - burn unit design, burn plans, pre-burn preparation, permitting

  • Operations - implementing a burn, monitoring and patrolling a burn, how landowners can be involved

  • Liability and regulations - state laws in CO and NM, country ordinances (Archuleta and Rio Arriba), the liability of the burn leader, risk management and risk mitigation techniques

  • Insurance - available products, how state laws influence, what insurance contractors carry

  • Burn planning discussion - discuss an example burn unit, planning, and operational considerations

  • Planning for wildfire and prescribed fire across a large landscape

View the full agenda HERE.

 
Low intensity prescribed fire for habitat improvement on private land near Chama, NM.

Low intensity prescribed fire for habitat improvement on private land near Chama, NM.

 
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Archuleta County: New County Process for Burning Large Piles on Private Land

If you are a resident of Archuleta County, CO you may know that the County has previously restricted open burning of piles on private land to piles no larger than 4x4x4 feet in size. Over the last few months the County, with input from Alliance staff, has amended the pile burn ordinance to provide a new mechanism for landowners to burn larger piles. This amended ordinance is primarily targeted at landowners who are engaged in forestry projects, such as thinning, that produce byproduct, such as limbs and small diameter material, that is most cost-effectively removed by burning in piles.

The amended ordinance requires landowners to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding Covering Burns (MOUCB) with the County. This MOUCB consists of a simple application and submission of a pile burn plan. The pile burn plan outlines in writing where, what, when, and how piles are to be burned. The MOUCB is good for five years once approved.

The MOUCB application can be found HERE. An example pile burn plan can be found HERE. This pile burn plan is an example for reference only; landowners may use this plan or complete one of their own, provided all required information is included (see the MOU for requirements).

The Alliance stands ready to assist landowners in navigating this process, including assisting with pile burn plans or connecting landowners to independent contractors available to write pile burn plans and complete pile burns. Contact Emily Hohman, Executive Director by email or phone at 888-445-7708 ext. 1.

Archuleta County Office of Emergency Management can be reached at 970-731-4799 and staff information is available on their website.

 
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