A community advocacy newspaper for northern New Mexico
Box 6 El Valle Route, Chamisal, NM 87521
Agua/Caballos Again Appealed By Kay Matthews
The Loss of Las Trampas Common Lands By Mark Schiller
Aamodt, Schmaamodt: Who Really Gets the Water? By John Nichols
Santo Tomás Apostol Del Rio de Las Trampas Land Grant heirs, Tramperos, from all over the west, came together on a blistering hot day in July at the site of the old Trampas Lumber Company near Ojo Sarco to meet each other, picnic, and discuss efforts to organize. At several previous meetings, land grant representatives decided that the best way to be in a position to receive and administer the return of the common lands, or ejido, is to organize as a municipality, the Town of Las Trampas, which will include heirs and non-heirs residing in the communities that comprise the former land grant.
At the July gathering, Interim Mayor Filimon Sanchez introduced Jerol Arguello, author of A Pioneering Community and land grant heir from Colorado, who provided an overview of the history of the land grant and how it eventually fell into the hands of the U.S. Forest Service: "The worst obstacle our ancestors faced was when this part of the country became part of the USA. I'm as patriotic an American as you - I fought in Vietnam and my father fought in World War II - but history is history." Arguello stressed that everyone needs to work together, recognizing their diverse ancestry - Spanish, Mexican Indian, Pueblo Indian, and African American - to improve their lives and their childrens' lives.
Daniel Shreck of Chimayó, a representative of the Abelard Foundation, told the crowd that his foundation supports land based communities and will work with Tramperos to put together a proposal to fund the costs of organizing as a municipality. While 2004 state legislation recognized land grants as political subdivisions of the state, allowing them to apply for funds for economic development and land recovery, organizing as a municipality will create another organizational track.
Bert Lucero, interim trustee, led the discussion about creating a municipality. A charter has been drafted that delineates the structure and governing powers. Town officials, including trustees, a town council, and executive management team, would be elected by residents of the land grant communities, eighteen years or older, and heirs, twelve years or older, whether they reside in the communities or not. The Town "shall be entitled to exercise any and all powers granted by law or the Constitution to municipal corporations", including establishing assessments, taxes, and impact fees. The charter proposes that property claimed by non-heirs of the land grant be purchased from them when possible, all land sales to non-heirs be prohibited, and heirs would manage the ejido, if and when it is returned. Lucero explained that the goal is to man age the ejido to both protect the resource and explore economic development projects that would benefit the community.
Questions arose regarding the recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report on community land grants, and Lucero responded that it was his opinion the report essentially declared that the illegal activities that took place during the survey and adjudication of the land grants are not going to be redressed through the report. But the trustees plan to follow up with Representative Tom Udall, who told the Tramperos he thinks representatives of the GAO should come to Las Trampas to explain their findings to the community.
La Jicarita News again wants to thank all our loyal readers and subscribers for responding to our request for donations and renewed subscriptions to keep us going. And you did keep us going - until now. This combined August/September issue will be the last until more foundation funding becomes available, hopefully in the fall. We fully intend to keep publishing through 2005, so subscriptions will be extended once we are back in business.
EcoVersity will be hosting a free workshop on Implementing the Precautionary Principle in New Mexico, Saturday, August 7, 9-4 pm, 2639 Agua Fria Road in Santa Fe. The workshop leader is Carolyn Raffen- sperger ("Guru of the Precautionary Principle"), executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network based in Ames, Iowa, which advocates the wise application of science in efforts to protect the environment and public heath. Presenters of previous workshops in this series on the Precautionary Principle will participate in the discussion: Chellis Glendinning and Hilario Romero, Building Multi-Cultural Relationships; David and Loretta Fresquez, Promoting a Safe and Sustainable Agricultural System in New Mexico; Dr. Ann Campbell, Paul Robinson, Ruben Nuñez, The Precautionary Principle and the Laws that Should Protect Us; Helmut Ziehe and Paula Baker-LaPorte, Green and Clean: Giving the World Healthy Buildings; and Lynda Taylor and Betty Leggiero, Sustainable Business Practices and the Precautionary Principle.
Don't forget the Fall Permaculture Design Course, August 28-September 10, tuition $890.
To register, or for more information, contact EcoVersity at: www.ecoversity.org or 505 424-9797.
We had hoped to include the second part of our critique of the Community Forest Restoration Project in this issue, but we didn't receive the necessary information from the Forest Service in time for us to complete an analysis. We will finish this story in our next issue in October or November.
By Kay Matthews
State Engineer John D'Antonio recently wrote an op-ed piece in The New Mexican defending his office's "Proposed Active Water Resource Management Regulations" promulgated to "effectively manage and conserve our water resources, particularly in this time of drought." His defense might hold water (pardon the pun) if this was a world that was equitable and fair, where developers don't pursue unlimited growth, politicians aren't complicit, and water doesn't flow uphill to money. While we all need to conserve our water resources, unless there is equitable distribution of that water it's hard to focus on its conservation. And with D'Antonio's proposed regulations, there may be further erosion of that equity.
The proposed regulations call for the appointment of regional water masters who will have the authority to administer water rights in their districts, including priority administration and alternative administration, or water sharing. Through these water masters the Office of the State Engineer (OSE) would have the authority to require measuring devices on points of diversion and return flow. The OSE would allow junior users to "rent" a priority date from senior water rights holders when water use is curtailed because of a priority call, without going through the normal water rights transfer process that allows the public to protest a proposed transfer. Protests would be allowed only after the transfer decision is made and it would be incumbent upon the protestant to show that the approval was "arbitrarily and capriciously granted."
OSE representatives got an earful at hearings in Santa Fe on the proposed regulations, almost all of it negative. Former state engineer Eluid Martinez, testifying for the city of Española, claimed the OSE will be unable to enforce the regulations. Sterling Grogan of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District cautioned that OSE personnel cannot enter private property to regulate head gates and that the proposed regulations don't take into account the collaborative efforts to manage unadjudicated water. Lynn Montgomery, mayordomo of a Placitas acequia, gave a passionate indictment of the regulations as an assault on traditional agricultural users and an attempt to manage the resource from the top-down instead of at the local level.
John Brown, director of the New Mexico Water Dialogue, speaking on his own behalf, pointed out that the proposed regulations are inconsistent with the State Water Plan and contrary to state statute. Paula Garcia, director of the New Mexico Acequia Association, concurred with Brown that the State Water Plan recognizes that acequias must be protected by prior appropriation law and are furthermore protected by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. She also claimed that the so-called Replacement Plan that would allow junior water users to take on senior water users priority dates is unconstitutional and in violation of due process. And finally, she pointed out that holding one hearing in Santa Fe on such an important issue is a burden to members of the public who have to take time to travel from all over the state to attend at their personal expense.
The proposed regulations use the phrase "Expedited Marketing" as a rationale for minimizing "costly and time-consuming administrative procedures" (as does the State Water Plan). Only 15 to 20% of the state's stream systems have been adjudicated and these proceedings often last 20 or more years. What "Expedited Marketing" really means is allowing junior water users - urban, suburban, industrial - to shop around for water rights to underwrite unlimited growth and development. In a paper delivered at the New Mexico Water Dialogue 2001 annual meeting, New Mexico Legal Services attorney David Benavides had this to say about the prior appropriation system.
"Our problem here in New Mexico is that some of the most junior users, like the City of Albuquerque, Intel, and the City of Rio Rancho, expect to get their full water right every year, and moreover, they think no one should question their junior water right in a dry year. So not only did we over-appropriate our water supply, but we have junior water users who are taking water like senior users, resulting in the continued use of water each year at unsustainable levels. The important point is that we have the statutory tools to reduce water use to more sustainable levels, and there is nothing illegal or anti-private-property rights about using them. It's just that no one wants to start that war.
"The question of how to ration water to get to a sustainable level is a question of environmental justice. The principles of environmental justice encourage us to choose, among all the environmentally sustainable options for resource management, those options that address the most important issues facing society, particularly issues of inequity, poverty, and lack of opportunity. . . . [D]o we believe in righting historical wrongs, even if that means that the larger public does not get something it might desperately want?"
Obviously the OSE, with these new regulations that "expedite" water markets, is not about to deny the larger public what it desperately wants.
By Kay Matthews
Otra vez, environmental groups Forest Guardians, Wild Watershed, and Carson Forest Watch have appealed the Agua/Caballos timber sale in the Vallecitos Sustained Yield Unit (the Final Supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement). These same groups appealed the Agua/Caballos Record of Decision in 2002 (Wild Watershed was dismissed from the process due to lack of standing) and Carson National Forest was directed to complete an analysis of effects on management indicator species; a Supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement was released in 2003.
The history of this project is in many ways the history of forest politics in northern New Mexico: absolutist environmental groups taking a stand against any commercial logging, even if it pits them against community-based loggers whose livelihood is dependent upon that logging. The fallout from this position has had repercussions both locally, with the demise of small timber companies and mills, and nationally, with a rift in the environmental community that has left the movement divided and diminished.
The Agua/Caballos story began 12 years ago. Public involvement began in 1992; two Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS) were released, in 1995 and 1999; a supplement to the DEIS was issued in 1999; and many public meetings and field trips were held over the course of the project. The second DEIS was released to comply with the amended forest plan and the supplement to the 1999 DEIS was issued in response to discrepancies regarding the actual number of road miles that would be needed to implement the Preferred Alternative. Two new alternatives were included in the supplement that included no new road building, and an Alternative G was developed that kept road building to a minimum while still meeting the purpose and need of the proposal. Alternative G is now the Preferred Alternative.
Alternative G calls for the harvest of 6.4 million board feet of sawtimber (reduced from the original 16 mbf) and 6,039 cords of firewood. Designated operators within the Sustained Yield Unit, in a best case scenario, would be able to cut only 500,000 to one million board feet a year. According to Felipe Martinez, of Las Comunidades, one of the designated operators, his company has been slowly building capacity with the help of USDA grants that have been used to purchase equipment and develop a business plan. He pointed out that even if his company is not able to bid on sawtimber it could bid on the fuelwood, vigas, latillas, and cedar post sales.
Martinez went on to say that Las Comunidades has been working hard to raise awareness of the importance of the Vallecitos Sustained Yield Unit: "The Unit was all former grant lands that sustained the people of the villages of Vallecitos, Cañon Plaza, Servilleta, and Petaca. The environmentalists in Santa Fe just don't get it, these communities have been forest-based for hundreds of years. Horning [of Forest Guardians] thinks the people need to leave the communities and get other jobs. So where are these jobs? In Española, where the people already there can't find work? In the meantime, they don't care that community-based businesses become insolvent."
In an even more sober assessment of the fallout from the controversial history of Agua/Caballos, Ike DeVargas, former member of the Vallecitos-based La Companía Ocho, said, "The Forest Service and the environmentalists have succeeded in getting the people of the Sustained Yield Unit villages fighting each other. And until we find a unity of purpose, we will have nada. We're a community divided, beating each other up for the crumbs."
By Mark Schiller
While the Las Trampas land grant was among the first to be confirmed by Congress (1860), its subsequent history includes numerous injustices that resulted in the loss of almost 40,000 acres of land including all of its commons (ejido). An initial survey in 1876, approved by the Surveyor General, found the grant contained more than 46,000 acres. However, in 1884, during a period when the federal government was doing everything in its power to limit the size of land grants in order to keep as much land as possible in the public domain, the General Land Office "reviewed" the survey and claimed its eastern boundary conflicted with the western boundary of the adjoining Santa Barbara grant. A new survey was ordered and the grant was reduced to approximately 28,000 acres. This, however, was only the beginning of the ordeal.
In 1876 the Territory of New Mexico adopted "An Act Relating to Partition of Real Estate and for other purposes." This act set up a procedure for either the sale or physical division of jointly owned land when requested by one of the owners. The law stipulated that if the physical partition of the land was not practical then the sale of the land could be ordered and the land owners compensated in proportion to their holdings. It was never practical, of course, to divide land grant commons, which were often shared by several hundred people. This interpretation of joint ownership was in complete opposition to Spanish law, which asserted community ownership of the commons and prohibited its sale.
Partition suits proved to be the ruin of many land grants throughout New Mexico because lawyers who represented land grants customarily received between a quarter to a half of the grant for their services and initiated partition suits in order to convert their holdings into cash. Ironically, the partition of the Las Trampas grant, though it primarily benefited the lawyers who executed it, was not initiated by a lawyer but by one of the heirs who had accumulated a large debt and hoped to realize enough money from the sale of the commons to extricate himself. Tragically, the other heirs and legal owners of the commons were essentially swindled out of more than 21,000 acres of land for which they were never reasonably compensated.
The common lands subsequently passed through the hands of two members of the notorious "Santa Fe Ring": lawyer Alonzo McMillen, who represented the heirs in the partition suit; and Frank Bond, a wealthy sheep rancher and land speculator who bought it at auction. During Bond's tenure he actually had the impudence to refer to community members who resided on the grant's remaining private tracts as "squatters."
Bond sold the grant common lands in 1907 to a group of Albuquerque businessmen who established the Las Trampas Lumber Company and began to cut and mill timber on the grant. The lumber company, however, found that its title to the land was not secure and demanded Bond fulfill the warranties in his deed. At that point grant residents, whose private holdings had been woefully underestimated at 650 acres, got a more legitimate survey of the private tracts, which actually amounted to almost 7,000 acres. In return for signing off on the lumber company's quiet title suit, community members were promised deeds to their private tracts and "use agreements" that guaranteed them easements for their acequias and the use of their former common lands for grazing and wood gathering. While these guarantees were included in the agreements issued to grant residents, the lawyer for the lumber company tried to insure that they would not bind subsequent owners by deleting the clauses that guaranteed these rights from the final decree.
Despite the enormous timber resources on the grant, the Las Trampas Lumber Company went bankrupt in 1926 and was purchased by another lumber company that immediately traded it to the Forest Service for timber in the Zuni Mountains. Members of the grant communities have, on several occasions, demanded that the Forest Service honor the "use agreements" (copies of which have been handed down and retained by the heirs) without success. A 2002 ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court in the Taylor Ranch case, part of the Sangre de Cristo grant, may provide legal precedent for community members to regain access to their former common lands.
By John Nichols
Editors' Note: Author and activist John Nichols appeared at a Pojoaque Basin Water Alliance fundraiser in Nambe on July 18 to support the Alliance's efforts to negotiate a better settlement to the Aamodt Adjudication than the recently released proposal (see La Jicarita, July 2004). He got a standing ovation for his talk, "Aamodt, Schmaamodt: Who Really Gets the Water?", which told the story of his arrival in Taos in 1969, his initiation into the acequia community, the battle against the Indian Camp Dam by Taos Valley farmers and parciantes, and his thoughts on the proposed Aamodt settlement. Nichols has generously allowed La Jicarita News to excerpt the following parts of his talk. We hope you will find them as incisive and eloquent as we did.
Ever since I came to New Mexico in 1969 I have read articles in the newspapers about Aamodt vs. the State of New Mexico. It was your 800 pound gorilla down here like the Indian Camp Dam and the conservancy district were Taos's 800 pound gorilla up there. I never really understood what was happening in Aamodt, the same way that for years nobody really understood what was happening with the adjudication, the Indian Camp Dam, the conservancy district, and the San Juan-Chama diversion water in Taos.
I don't know what your experience has been down here, but up in Taos years ago, official representatives would arrive from the State Engineer's Office - like Paul Bloom or Eluid Martinez (who eventually became the State Engineer) - and they would call meetings to explain the conservancy district, the proposed dam, the San Juan-Chama Diversion Project, the adjudication suit, and also Einstein's Theory of Relativity. And after Paul Bloom and Eluid Martinez had spent five hours explaining all these things in both Spanish and English to maybe 100 small farmers and teachers and constructions workers and cabinetmakers sitting in the auditorium of the Garcia Middle School, there would be a long pause. And then one of those small farmers would stand up and say, "That's all very well, pero no lo hacemos asi aqui en Taos - but we don't do things that way here in Taos."
And after awhile the government authorities and the Bureau of Reclamation and the state and federal tiburones (I mean abogados) and local development sharks realized that they were talking to a wall.
And the wall never collapsed.
One reason the wall did not collapse is that the people of Taos realized the adjudication, the San Juan Chama Diversion, the Indian Camp Dam and conservancy district were probably going to ream them completely. Individual community acequias were going to lose their autonomy to a politically appointed conservancy board: i.e., we were going to lose control of our water systems. And we were going to have imposed upon us an open-ended taxation system over which we had no control. We weren't even going to be allowed to vote for the conservancy board that would govern us because the powers that be recognized that if we were given the opportunity to vote we would elect a board that would immediately dissolve the conservancy and that would end the Indian Camp Dam project.
The Tres Rios Association [that organized to oppose the dam] studied the history of other senior water projects along the Rio Grande, especially the Elephant Butte Dam and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, and it discovered that in every case water projects that were advertised as ways to help local farmers grow more and better crops for economic profit, wound up instead by running indigenous people off the land in favor of agribusiness corporations and urban/suburban development. . . .
Needless to say, little or no thought has been given to the rights and land use patterns of Native Americans during this same epoch until recently. And even then it often seems that today Pueblo rights are merely being touted as a way to partition and confuse indigenous communities in a form of divide and conquer, weakening both sides so that eventually most of the water will end up in golf courses for rich tourists, luxury hotels, developments like Las Campanas of Santa Fe, and in frantic urban development from which native and Latino and all working class New Mexicans will be excluded.
The proposed settlement agreement and regional water system being offered to the people of the Pojoaque/Tesuque/Nambe area reads to me like a nightmare of antagonistic and far-fetched water development. For starters, all the water proposed for future use in this area only exists on paper. It will cost a fortune to develop a regional system, but nobody can tell if the water really exists for this system or how much it will actually cost. I read in newspapers that the government will pay "most" of the estimated 280 million dollars for the system. During the conservancy and dam battle in Taos we were told that the government would pay something like 96.5 percent of the cost, but we figured out that last 3.5 percent plus maintenance of the dam would not only be exorbitant for the relatively poor population, but it was open-ended with no guarantee there wouldn't be endless cost overruns.
Today in the Southwest we are locked in a severe drought. Global warming is a fact of existence. In the last few years I have read 100 articles by scientists, sociologists, hydrologists, political and demographic analysts declaring that most of the major wars of the 21st century will be fought over water. It's not just in New Mexico, it's everywhere. U.S. America's Ogalalla aquifer is draining way down; the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan has half evaporated and is a disaster area. And you know that Israel will never give Palestine its own state because something like 70 percent of Israel's water comes from the West Bank.
I think if I had current irrigation rights or access to well water I would not in a million years give them up for paper water projected to cost me a fortune with no guarantee of future delivery in the first place. At the rate we're going the state of New Mexico could very well sink 280 million dollars into a regional water system that will just wind up drawing sand from the Rio Grande. The whole gambit is a rush to more urban development in a desert state already buggered by non-sensical growth, which seems like a formula for Land of Enchantment suicide. History teaches us that for sure the regional water system project is not geared to benefit the working men or women of this valley, or folks of modest means. It is more like a giant ploy to stimulate outrageous growth-oriented commercial development for the rich, and as such just another criminal boondoggle in a global world economy eager to self-destruct. I apologize to Indian water users who have been short-changed for centuries by the outside world, but we are now living in times that cannot tolerate more development insanity like golf courses and luxury hotels in the desert, which ultimately will destroy the biology that nurtures all of us.
Do you remember the 1980s under Ronald Reagan when the savings and loan industry collapsed, much of it because huge loans in the oil and gas industry were being given based on a collateral of future production that never materialized when the energy industry tanked? This disaster cost American taxpayers untold billions. Well, even as I speak, given the drought, global warming, and the expanding human population, future water as collateral for proposed regional systems and urban development is becoming a pipe dream. Edward Abbey once said, "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." We should be stopping all growth, going on emergency water rations, and completely retooling the economic philosophy that guides our behavior. Instead, we keep frantically trying to tread water and expand our numbers in a lake that is increasingly running out of H20.
A major serious problem confronting us all is philosophical. It's all about ideology. It's about our attitude toward our own lives of material well-being. If we need to keep consuming as we do, if we need to keep driving gas-guzzling SUVs as we do, if we need to live in big houses with air-conditioning as some of us do, if we need to have lots of gim-cracks and gee-gaws and entertainment centers and vacations in Mexico or Hawaii . . . if, in short we need to be typical American consumers in a world where our habits are causing 27,000 species to go extinct each year and a forest the size of New York State to be logged each year and almost three billion people elsewhere on the globe to live on less than two dollars a day . . . then there's no point in resisting the proposed regional water system to settle the Aamodt case. Because as far as I can tell the settlement is an attempt to keep up U.S. America's excessive material lifestyle against all evidence that that lifestyle is destroying the planet we live on. . . .
The development future being offered us in New Mexico and around the world is grim indeed. Here in Northern New Mexico we still have partial access to a precious way of life. From my outsider's perspective, the current solutions offered to Aamodt seem negative for all parties concerned. If possible, I would band everyone together in this valley to demand a more benevolent social, economic, and environmental solution that does not destroy the infrastructure that took hundreds of years to produce by crushing it under a massive water project that has enough costs and other hidden variables in it to sink a battleship.
Authorities have told you that if you don't accept the current settlement you'll lose everything: I'd guess that's BS. . . . The fact is: If many people in this area believe the current solutions to Aamodt are unjust, unfair, and untenable, the fight ought to go on until a more equitable and a more sane conclusion is realized.
You know, it's been awhile since I've walked the length of an acequia in Taos. Today I live in a small house, I have no irrigated land, I'm not a commissioner any more. But I think often of the Pacheco and Lovatos ditches that used to give me water. I can see myself walking along the bank with a shovel, checking it out, looking for problems. . . . One of the Pacheco boys is shooting at a prairie dog in their garden: "Orale, bro', cuidadito!" And I better call the Córdovas and tell them it looks like there's a hole in the fence where the sheep could move through to the Romero's pasture where the alfalfa would bloat those idiot sheep to death in 15 minutes. And when can we get a crew to repair the desague just below Medina's corrals? . . .
Water can still be like that in Taos, in Northern New Mexico: up close and personal. Nobody is making much money from irrigating small pastures and little gardens. . . . People don't hang onto the acequias or their little wells and fight for them because of all the profit involved anymore. No: We hang onto this way of life and fight for it because water and the local organizations that dispense it are the blood that keeps our communities alive.
In Taos, people say this: "Buen abogado, mal vecino."
They also say: "Sin agua no hay vida."
When Reies Tijerina was up north fighting for the land grants I would see signs everywhere that said: "Tierra o muerte."
And I myself always and ever end a talk I give by saying: "Hasta la victoria, siempre!"
Many people in the Peñasco area have met Cordell Arellano, the La Jicarita Enterprise employee who is working on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 319 Clean Water Act project in the Rio Embudo watershed under the auspices of the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). Arellano has been busy networking and recruiting individuals and organizations to help him implement the project to address water quality problems associated with non-point source pollution.
Arellano's first task was to pull together information describing water quality problems in the watershed and draft an action strategy based on EPA guidelines to improve water quality. With the help of local forester Sean Kelly, who provided aerial photographs of the area, Arellano identified riparian land on the Rio Santa Barbara in Rodarte that was negatively impacted by grazing, houses built in the floodplain, and levees that have changed the natural course of the river. He contacted the owners, some of whom agreed to work with Arellano to improve their property by building fences, constructing alternative water sources for their cattle, and planting riparian vegetation. While Arellano has taken courses in river geomorphology and visited projects such as the Galisteo Watershed Restoration Project where "induced meandering" helps restore a river's natural course, he told La Jicarita News that because residences are built so close to the river it is hard to employ some of these techniques.
In August Arellano will be working with his NMED supervisor Abe Franklin to set up two reference sites and two demonstration sites for grazing management.
The reference sites will be located on Picuris Pueblo on ungrazed land. Larry Rael of the Pueblo and Peter Vigil of Taos Soil and Water Conservation District will work with Arellano on the grazing project, which will hopefully continue for several years.
Arellano has been busy with other projects as well. He is certified to facilitate Project Wet training for school teachers in Peñasco, a program that helps instructors design curriculum on water issues. And he works closely with Border Waterworks, the non-profit organization out of Santa Fe that has been helping coordinate efforts to implement a wastewater treatment system in the Peñasco area (see following story).
Arellano also wanted to publicly thank other members of the community who have worked with him on the watershed project: Michelle Hamilton, Joanne Kelly, Tim Wellman of New Mexico Rural Watershed Association, Greg Miller of the Forest Service, and Ryan Rodriguez of Rocky Mountain Youth Corps.
La Jicarita Valley Wastewater Committee and Border Waterworks celebrated the completion of the recently completed water survey for future wastewater facility funding at the Peñasco Community Center on Saturday, July 31 from 12 to 4 pm with live music and refreshments.
The water survey project was conducted to obtain information on failing wastewater systems, polluted or uncapped wells, and public health through door-to-door surveys of the homes within La Jicarita Valley: Placitas, Vadito, Peñasco, Llano San Juan, Rodarte, the Llanos, Chamisal, the Ojitos, and Rio Lucio to Picuris Pueblo. With grant money from Picuris Pueblo and the Environmental Protection Agency, Border Waterworks, a Santa Fe-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving public health, and La Jicarita Valley Wastewater Committee (consisting of one leader from each community in the valley) joined together to sponsor the survey efforts as part of the goal to complete a full watershed assessment of the valley and develop wastewater infrastructure improvements and management systems that can "sustain future population growth and health in La Jicarita Valley."
The survey team completed 940 surveys and Border Waterworks is working to digitize and read all the data to determine what the priorities and next steps should be. Fund raising efforts will continue to underwrite the costs of the continuing feasibility study.
For more information please contact Sasha Earl, President, Border Waterworks, 505 988-4270, or Courtney Tucker, Project Coordinator, 505 587-0074.
Copyright 1996-2002 La Jicarita Box 6 El Valle Route, Chamisal, New Mexico 87521.