A community newspaper for the Jicarita watershed, including the
Rio Mora, Rio Santa Barbara, Rio de las Trampas, Rio Pueblo, & Rio Embudo
Court of Appeals Dismisses Logging and Grazing Injunction By Mark Schiller and Kay Matthews
Infiltration Gallery Update By Mark Schiller
Puntos de Vista: Economic "Growth" vs. "Development" of Rural Communities&emdash;It Means the Difference Between Local and Outside Control By Maria Varela, Ganados del Valle
Letters RE: Puntos de Vista by Estevan Arellano, November issue
Let's All Just Drink Coke By Pat D'Andrea
Another No-Logging Bill Wends its Way Through Congress By Kay Matthews
By Mark Schiller and Kay Matthews
On December 15 in San Francisco the U. S. District Court of Appeals dismissed an injunction (the result of a 1996 lawsuit by Forest Guardians and the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity) that had held up four timber sales in New Mexico (including about 200 acres of the La Manga Jo timber sale) and threatened to enjoin 50 to 80 per cent of Forest Service grazing allotments in New Mexico and Arizona. Now the Forest Service can use its own discretion in setting a schedule to bring grazing allotments into compliance with amended forest plans, which set stricter guidelines for protection of endangered species habitat.
Loggers and permittees across the state are breathing a sigh of relief. But several other lawsuits filed by environmental groups are currently being litigated. A December 1997 suit filed in U. S. District Court in Phoenix by Forest Guardians of Santa Fe seeks to remove all cattle from national forest land along the Verde River, Blue River, Gila River and Eagle Creek in Arizona as well as the Gila, San Francisco, and Tularosa rivers in New Mexico. A previous suit, filed by the Arizona-based Southwest Center for Biological Diversity (SWCBD), seeks to limit cattle ranching on 92 ranches in Arizona and New Mexico to protect native fish.
Despite Forest Guardians and SWCBD's initial claims that their 1996 lawsuit would primarily target allotments in the Gila and Lincoln national forests, Ben Kuykendall of the Camino Real Ranger District told La Jicarita that his office was notified that every allotment on their district was cited. What will this mean for permittees? Kuykendall said that the main emphasis will be on upgrading riparian areas within the allotments. On the Camino Real, where most of the terrain is mountainous, this will necessitate moving lifestock away from streams, rivers, springs, and cienegas, into upland areas. Unfortunately, the forage in these upland areas is not as good as the riparian areas. Kuykendall says that the district is implementing a program to improve forage and overall forest and watershed health by using the public as a resource management tool. "The idea is to work on areas of one to 300 acres. By allowing the public to thin trees in these areas for fuelwood, vigas, and latillas, we can get resources to the public. We'll then treat these areas with control burns. These two practices can help eliminate the heavy buildup of pine needles and branches on the forest floor, open up the overstory to allow sunlight in, and allow the herbaceous understory to reinstate itself." Kuykendall emphasized the importance of a healthy herbaceous understory to overall forest and watershed health. "The herbaceous understory," he said, "is the foundation of a healthy forest. It provides the medium for the nutrients that feed all the other plants and animals within the forest, it is the primary habitat for insects, small mammals and birds, and it stabilizes the soil. Thinning also allows trees which are stunted because of over-density to grow larger and healthier."
However, in order to meet new standards, Kuykendall said there will also have to be a reduction in the number of cows allowed in some allotments. He hopes to offset this reduction by allowing permittees to move
some of their cows to allotments within the district which are not currently being grazed.
Additionally, five allotments on the district have been specifically sighted as habitat or potential habitat for the endangered willow flycatcher. The lawsuit claims that all livestock must be eliminated from these areas because they attract cowbirds which feed on the eggs of the willow flycatchers and disturb their nests. Kuykendall, however, feels the district has already taken action to protect these birds, noting that no active nests were found in the area during a survey conducted last year. He explained that two of the five allotments have not been grazed for years, one has eliminated grazing from the area of potential habitat since 1992, and the one area in which willow flycatchers have been sighted in the past continues to attract cowbirds even after all livestock has been removed from the area.
The Camino Real Ranger District and the Quivira Coalition, a group dedicated to proving "ecologically healthy rangeland and economically robust ranches can be compatible", are currently planning a grazing workshop in the Peñasco area in the spring. The workshop will hopefully bring together permittees, Forest Service range management personnel, and groups and individuals who are working on innovative grazing and range management programs. The projected speaker list includes Virgil Trujillo, Superintendent of Ranchlands at Ghost Ranch, Palemon Martinez of the Northern New Mexico Stockmen's Association, and Bill deBuys of The Conservation Fund, which is currently establishing the state's first grass bank. La Jicarita will provide the date and schedule for the workshop in the next issue.
By Mark Schiller
As reported in the last issue of La Jicarita, the city and county of Santa Fe andthe Pueblo of San Ildefonso are engaged in a highly controversial joint project to build an infiltration gallery on San Ildefonso land above the Otowi Gauge to divert water which seeps into the sand and gravel aquifer beneath the river. Critics of this project claim:
1) It violates the rules of the Rio Grande Compact by allowing the transfer of water from above to below the Otowi Gauge.
2) It will have an adverse affect on the "native flow" of the river and groundwater in the vicinity of the infiltration gallery.
3) It will yield water which may be intermingled with water from the Los Alamos drainage. This water could potentially be contaminated by radioactivity and heavy metals from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
4) It could yield water that is so low quality that it will not be cost effective to make it potable.
Under the terms of the agreement the city and county will each put up $300,000 to initiate a pilot program which would dig a test shaft and monitor water quality. Construction could begin as early as May of 1998.
Santa Fe City Councilor Cris Moore, a member of the Green Party, has already expressed his reservations about the project's potential adverse affects upon northern New Mexico acequias. He told La Jicarita that he would like to introduce a resolution to the Santa Fe City Council to provide assurances that the city will not use this system to seek the transfer of agricultural water rights from northern New Mexico. However, at its January 14th meeting the city council agreed only to consider such a resolution if the pilot project proves successful. Moore has also signed on to a protest lodged by 20 groups and individuals to contest the transfer of 600 acre-feet of groundwater from Top of the World Ranch in northern New Mexico through the infiltration gallery for county use (see previous issue of La Jicarita). Critics of the county's proposed transfer also contend that the county did not seek public input on this proposal before acting. City and county officials maintain that this is only a pilot project, and if test results show that the water is not potable or that the gallery is having an impact on the river or groundwater, they will reconsider going forward with the drilling of more shafts. Critics, however, counter that once they've invested all this money it's unlikely that the project will not proceed.
Citizens concerned about this project are urged to call Santa Fe County Commission members Marcos Trujillo, Paul Duran, and Javier Gonzales at 986-6210, Santa Fe Mayor Debbie Jaramillo at 954-7129, or City of Santa Fe Water Services Director Mike Hamman at 954-7129.
Puntos de Vista: Economic "Growth" vs. "Development" of Rural Communities&emdash;It Means the Difference Between Local and Outside Control
By Maria Varela, Ganados del Valle
I am a community organizer. My work is about how rural communities, rural cultures and rural ecosystems will survive and flourish. In this process of organizing to survive, my vecinos and I are joining together with other communities, other cultures in other ecosystems so the whole of our parts will survive and flourish. We mimic biology in this process. Relationships between our cultural experience (its science), our ecology and our economic activities either sustain or starve our communities.
We make a mistake if we think sustainability&emdash;a much overused word today&emdash;is an end product or goal. Sustainability is the means by which plants, animals and humans adapt and adjust to each other's development as species. Nature is not static, it evolves. Sustainability is the womb which gives birth and rebirth to life.
Much of my organizing today is with endangered land-based cultures in rural communities wishing to regenerate their economic lives. Rural communities are more than pretty backdrops to sell jeeps, butter or laundry soap. Rural communities contain important cultural wellsprings, which recharge the cultural diversity of this nation. Rural communities are critical buffers to watersheds, wildlife and human habitats, sacred places and scenic treasures. Many rural human habitats contain generations of people with longterm experience in living on and watching the land. They have learned through experiences and mistakes the sciences of sustainability where they live.
Many of these rural communities have depressed economies yet are wary of the "economic growth artists" who promise jobs in exchange for land and water resources. Economic growth is different from economic development.
Growth increases the amount of money running through a community's economy but may not increase that economy's capacity to steer its own direction. Growth is characterized by dependence on outside capital, technologies and management talent. Economic development, conversely, increases the capacities of the people in the community to attract and pool capital and acquire technologies and management skills. Most of the wealth stays in the community. An example of economic growth is the economy of Taos County New Mexico which has become extremely dependent on resort or destination tourism. In the 1950s
local people were told that expanding resort and recreational tourism would increase jobs and incomes. Since the 1960s Taos County's gross revenues have risen commensurately with the popularity of alpine skiing and other recreational activities, more than doubling between 1980 and 1990 from $80 million to $172 million.
But the poverty rate of the county remained unchanged. Destination tourism offers primarily minimum wage jobs. The jobs lowest in wages and opportunities usually go to those who do not share the same class ethnicity or educational background as the visitor. According to the 1990 census 67 percent of the families in Taos County, where a little more than 70 percent of the population is Hispano and Native American, make less than $25 000.
Economic development examples are difficult to find in rural America. We are just learning the basic elements necessary to insure the development of an economy that benefits the many instead of the few. Ganados del Valle (Livestock Growers of the Valley) has worked for 13 years to begin this development process in northern Rio Arriba County, which is a sister county to Taos for being among the poorest rural counties in the United States. Ganados members are primarily sheepherders and artisans who have created five enterprises and 45 new jobs by adding on value to lamb and wool as well as by marketing the arts, crafts and foods of more than 200 farm and artisan families in our region.
We have strengthened the Rio Grande weaving tradition and rescued the endangered Churro sheep breed used by our people and the Diné (Navajo) people in traditional weavings.
Member ranchers are encouraged to address organic markets and keep their land free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. We use livestock guard dogs for predator control instead of poison. Gradually young people are getting back into agriculture.
Ganados recently established a small business that uses discarded tires to make such products as door, floor and livestock trailer mats. We have renovated historic buildings in our community and encouraged cultural tourism in order to educate the American public about the diverse cultures in northern New Mexico. We have worked to discourage resort or destination tourism because we feel it is damaging to our ancestral land and waters and ways of life. Eighty percent or more of the revenues of Ganados' businesses recirculate within the community and region. Our greatest challenge has been to develop the capacities of our leaders to produce, market and manage. We are still learning how to do that.
These are the beginnings of a sustainable economy regenerating itself from the lessons of the past and a vision of the future. This economy has prospects for taking care of our culture and our ecology. The lessons we have learned over the past 13 years may be of use to the environmental community. As practicing environmentalists, we make the distinction between sustainable environmentalism and conservation. Conservation is similar to economic growth. Just as the goals of economic growth are to increase dollars and jobs, the goals of conservation seem to be primarily concerned with increasing the numbers of saved species, saved landscapes and waters. It is trickle-down environmentalism deploying litigation and lobbying to regulate and legislate biological processes. It relies on moribund government and corporate bureaucracies to act as the "womb" of the new green age.
Conservation worships academic science as that higher power which will stop the debate about whether to or how much to graze, timber or make use of other resources. It is the science administered by high priests removed from the community affected by that science. It doesn't matter that academic science has too few longterm trials in too few places; to it, that affected communities might have developed their own sciences from testing and observation is irrelevant. In the view of academics, these people are not objective. They may live on and use the land to feed their families, but if their way of life is based on critical resources to be conserved, then they need to look at other jobs, any jobs&emdash;as long as they don't end up on welfare. And if they are in the way of recreating "pristine" ecologies for wildlife, then it is time for them to leave the land.
Conservation is not sustainable when it omits an important biological component: people&emdash;hunter and gatherer, sheepherder, woodworker, medicine man, and curandera. When human, animal, and plant communities adapt to each other, they take care of each other. When one component is missing, the ecosystem becomes out of balance.
We cannot afford to have ecosystems taken care of by weekend or summer stewards&emdash;ivory tower researchers, corporate conservation warriors, and urban-based policy makers. The end result will be similar to an economic growth strategy: enlarged areas of lands and waters saved for increasing numbers of animal and plant species. These lands and waters will be surrounded by impoverished cultures that will resist, by whatever means necessary, the gentrification or eradication of their cultures. Gated and fenced "public" wilderness areas and baronial land holdings will benefit the few. Ancient sciences will become extinct. Human, plant and animal health will decline because their ability to regenerate each other will have been destroyed.
Sustainable environmentalism, like sustainable economic development, takes a long time. It is more labor intensive than capital intensive. It is hard because it rests on a belief in people. And the people need to be true to their origins and believe that they can develop themselves and their communities. This is a lot harder than leaving for the city or leaving everything up to the outside expert who will "give" us jobs and let us complain our lives away.
Sustainable environmentalism develops people to use the best of ancient sciences and meld them with the best of modern technology. It values and takes great stock in the observations and experiences of rural people who live on and watch the land. It creates partnerships from within and outside the community in order to bring the best thinking possible to solve problems. But the result is awesome to envision: the regeneration of rural America, which will draw forward the future of this nation from ancient well springs of our cultural heritages.
In the next issue of La Jicarita, Stanley Crawford, Dixon farmer and author of Mayordomo and A Garlic Testament, will continue the discussion of how to sustain rural economies with the development of farmers' markets.
by Estevan Arellano, November issue
I enjoyed Señor Arellano's article and was heartened by it. Ten years ago I would not have dreamed the land rights struggle would be so alive and kicking. Señor Arellano is certainly a true hero.
However, I have one small bone to pick. In his article Señor Arellano called "Greens" liberals and implied Sam Hitt was a typical" Green". Last year I attended meetings at Oñate Center over La Manga issues and distributed many copies of the New Mexico Green Party Platform. Here are some excerpts:
"We support the resolutions of Native Americans and Hispanic land claims and believe the federal government should abide by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with respect to common land grants and water rights, and treaty adjudication should include land exchanges as necessary and/or appropriate."
"The Green Party supports second-growth logging in local, rural economies . . . . We are sensitive to the needs of local and rural communities and do not endorse overly restrictive or punitive restrictions on local logging."
"We support the rights and preservation of Acequias."
It is not easy to amend our Platform and we are very proud of it. I would hope Señor Arellano will not fall into the same pit of ignorance and bias that we Anglos seem to love to wallow in.
Lynn Montgomery, Placitas
NM Green Party State Council, Sandoval County Rep.
NM Acequia Association Board of Directors (1997)
The Quivira Coalition is sponsoring several free workshops and tours in the next few months to address the issue of ecologically sensitive grazing.
Silver City Workshop
Saturday, January 17, 1998, 8:30 to 4:30 pm
Holiday Motor Hotel
3420 Highway 180 East
Silver City, NM
Speakers: Dan Dagget, Jim Winder, Dr. Kris Havstad
Call 505 982-5502 or 466-4935 for information
Tour of Jim Winder's Ranch
Sunday, January 18, 10:00 am
2 miles north of Nutt, NM: Take I-25 to Hatch, then drive 19 miles west on Highway 26 to Nutt
Call 505 267-4227 for more information
Tour of USDA's Jornada Experimental Station
Saturday, February 28, 10:00 am
From I-25 turn east on Highway 70, drive 3 miles, then turn north on Jornada Road, drive 12 miles to boundary fence.
Call 505 646-7018 for more information
By Pat D'Andrea
I thought a lot about food stamps while I was reading the Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission report on managed water in the upper Rio Grande Basin.
In 1992, almost twenty-five years after the last national review of western water, Congress instructed the Commission to review western water resource problems and policies, and the problems of rural communities, among other things. As part of the Commission's work, the Rio Grande report studies "major problems associated with competition for water in the basin."
In the preface to their recommendations the authors say: "Insofar as possible federal policies and actions should strive to increase (1) the net value of the bundle of goods and services derived from the Basin's water and other resources; (2) the levels of employment, income and other indicators of standard of living associated with these resources; and (3) perceptions that the resources are managed fairly." (p. 128)
And what's wrong with that? We should all have jobs, make money, and have a good standard of living, right?
What's wrong is that water has other values besides the ones that make money, and they haven't gotten into the report. Water is a resource like no other&emdash;there's no life without water, there is no food without water, there are no acequias without water and no rural communities without water. Water on the land has glued Rio Grande communities together for thousands of years. Along with the corns, beans, squash, apples, pecans and chile, water grew culture, histories, and beauty. It's hard to get those things into numbers, but that's no excuse.
For thirty years or more, we've been hearing that water runs uphill to money, knowing there is something perverse about the idea. Now comes a study that says, in effect, federal agencies should help water run uphill to money. Intel Corporation's recent attempt to resurrect water rights south of Socorro in order to make up for its use of Rio Grande water in Rio Rancho, Santa Fe County's plan to buy water north of Taos, and dozens of other ideas fit well into this money-moves-water scheme.
And yes, transferring water to monied interests might increase "the net value of the bundle of goods and services." It will also increase the pressure on rural people to migrate to the cities, where there's hope for a better standard of living, only to have to migrate back to the country when that hope fails or when it's the only way to "relax" from city pressures.Money is one thing, the role of water in keeping communities intact is something else.
The intrinsic value of water along the upper Rio Grande is being commodified; water is becoming no more than an object to be counted, to be moved from one place to another as the new world order requires, and it seems that federal agencies are going to lead the way.
That's why I was thinking about food stamps. On the U. S.-Mexico border and in thousands of other places in the world, people without money do not have access to clean water. If water runs uphill to money, how many of us will have to have food stamps to get clean water? Or should we just grow beans with Coke?
Last year Congress initiated a Pilot Fee Program whereby the Forest Service will charge fees at various recreation sites but will allow local districts to retain 80% of these fees to maintain facilities, make improvements, and provide security at fee sites. The other 20% will be retained by the Southwest Region (15% of that will be donated back to the districts to help defray collection costs). The Camino Real District of Carson National Forest is currently conducting a public scoping on this project for area residents to help decide where fees should be collected and what constitutes a reasonable fee.
Areas where fees are currently collected include the Duran Canyon, Agua Piedra, Capulin, and La Sombra campgrounds. The typical fee for a full-service campground is around $10-12 per night. The Forest Service is asking for input on what constitutes a reasonable fee for day use areas such as the Rio Pueblo corridor, Taos Canyon, and La Junta Canyon. A seasonal pass for locals could be offered to keep collection duties manageable (current Forest Service personnel will collect fees) and give locals a break financially. There is also discussion of charging an ATV (all terrain vehicle) fee for use of district trails.
The district has already consulted with the Peñasco Area Communities Association (PACA) but would like more input from the public. The project will be implemented in May of this year and run through the 1998-99 season. If the project is successful, perhaps concessionaires will be attracted to the district to operate the full-service campgrounds. If you would like to comment on the proposal you may contact Terry Dilts at the Camino Real Ranger Station, P. O. Box 68, Peñasco, NM 87553.
By Kay Matthews
In the November issue of La Jicarita we reported on the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act ("Zero Cut") bill that was introduced in Congress by Representative Cynthia McKinney to ban all commercial logging on public lands. This bill has created controversy within the environmental community because it would stop all commercial logging&emdash;not just commercial industrialized logging&emdash;effectively shutting down the forests to small, local operators as well as corporate raiders.
There is another bill currently making the rounds of Congress, The Act to Save Americas' Forests, introduced by Senator Robert Torricelli and Representatives Anna Eshoo and Carolyn Maloney, that allows for some commercial cutting on public lands. An outgrowth of a bill formerly introduced that outlawed only clearcutting, this bill also prohibits logging in ancient forests, roadless areas, and alongside rivers.
La Jicarita asked a representative of Save Americas' Forests, a Washington D. C. based environmental group that has provided research for the bill and is pushing its passage, to define what the bill means by "ancient forests." In the Northwest, these include forests that have been sanctioned in federal inventories, primarily the west slopes of the Cascades and selected areas on the east side. Another federal survey has determined what qualifies in the Sierra Nevadas.
The rest of the country has not seen federally sanctioned inventories: Save Americas' Forests has relied on independent sources to recommend areas that qualify as ancient forests. One criterion in the west is that the forests encompass 5,000 or more acres. La Jicarita asked what areas have been classified ancient forest in New Mexico: the list includes the Angostura area of Carson National Forest (10,000 acres); La Manga, in the Vallecitos Sustained Yield Unit (5,000); Elk Mountain (7,000 acres); and the Jemez Highlands (54,000 acres). The representative did not know who had supplied this list of areas to the organization, and was not personally familiar with them, although he was aware of the controversy over logging in the Vallecitos Sustained Yield Unit. He also stated that while his group obviously thinks its version of a bill banning certain kinds of commercial logging is a better approach to managing public lands than the McKinney bill, the group's public position is to be supportive of both bills. La Jicarita will try to get more information on the New Mexico listed areas and how they came to be included.
Oñate Center Schedule of Events for 1998 to Commemorate the Cuarto Centenario and Tratado de Guadalupe
January 28th-30th: Kickoff activities for the Cuarto Centenario in Santa Barbara, Chihuahua, México.
February 2nd: Official beginning of the Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo at the Oñate Center in Alcalde.
February 6th-8th: Cultural activities relating to the Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo&emdash;music, dance, poetry, etc., to be held at the Oñate Center in Alcalde.
February 13th-15th: Dedication of fresco by Frederico Vigil of Santa Fe. Symposium on the Tratdo de Guadalupe Hidalgo, to be held at the Sweeney Convention Center in Santa Fe.
February 21st-March 14th: Trip to Spain sponsored by the Oñate Center, with travel to Madrid, Sevilla, Granada, Barcelona and San Sebastian.
April 24th-May 3rd: IV Feria Regional del Libro de Antropología e Historia, "El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro," Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua, México.
May 3rd: Dia del Niño, book fair for kids.
May 26th: Official Spanish Delegation to visit Center and have lunch with people from northern New Mexico. Los Moros y Cristianos de Chimayó.
May 26th-June 3rd: Fourth Annual Cultura Nuevo Mexicana activities to be held at Oñate Center in Alcalde.
June 24th: Dia de San Juan/Summer Solstice activities at the Oñate Center in Alcalde.
June 21st-July 4th: The River is Ours: Culture and Ecology in the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo River Basin at the National Mall in Washington, D. C.
July 9th-11th: IV Coloquio International del Camino Real de Tierra Adentro to be held at the Oñate Center in Alcalde and other villages throughout northern New Mexico. Los Moros y Cristianos de Chimayó.
August 8th-10th: Conference on the History of Agriculture in the Rio Arriba Bioregion, to be held at the Oñate Center in Alcalde.
September 20th: Fall equinox festivities; La Cosecha at the Oñate Center.
September 21st-25th: Cuarto Centenario, la muerte de Rey Felipe II, in Zacatecas (21st and 22nd) and Guadalajara (24th and 25th).
October 12th: Día de la Raza activities at the Oñate Center.
November 7th: Third Annual Chile Cookoff! at Oñate Center
December 4th-New Year's Eve: Fiestas de Navidad activities at the Oñate Center in Alcalde.
Copyright 1996-2001 La Jicarita Box 6 El Valle Route, Chamisal, New Mexico 87521.