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About The Project


The NM Environment Department (NMED), with many years of data, has determined that the Gallinas River, from its headwaters down to the City of Las Vegas diversion, and Porvenir Creek, along its entire length, have stream temperatures that exceed New Mexico Water Quality Standards.  For that reason, NMED prioritized the Gallinas watershed to receive funding to develop, and later to implement a plan to restore stream and riparian conditions needed to support cooler water temperatures.

The Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance (HPWA), a local nonprofit organization, received this funding and is starting work on this watershed planning project.  HPWA intends to pursue future implementation funding when this first planning phase is finished.  We hope to have the plan completed by June 30, 2012.  Our specific project goals are to:

1.        Identify likely causes of elevated stream temperatures;

2.        Determine potential remedies to those problems;

3.        Find landowners willing to collaborate with us to take on remediation projects;

4.       Identify resources needed to implement projects; and

5.        Seek project funding.

While funding from NMED targets stream temperature problems, HPWA will strive to use this project to better understand and address other related watershed health concerns.  We will further use this effort to gather important data on the condition of the upper Gallinas Watershed and offer educational programs on watershed stewardship.   We strive to make this a community effort while working with private and public land management organizations.

During this project we will:

1.        Seek input from the community through interviews and public meetings on watershed condition, land management challenges, and practical solutions to those challenges.

2.        Assemble existing information to help assess overall watershed health and stream and riparian health.  Also gather information on land cover, land features, landownership, and the locations of past restoration projects.  This information will be assembled in a GIS.

3.        Conduct research on stream temperatures and the condition of riparian and instream areas.  This field research will include community members and landowners when possible.

4.       Hold a local watershed festival, workshops and youth activities to further engage the community to participate in watershed work through seeking their input and through education.

5.        Develop the plan based on our work, help from experts and public input.


This grant offers HPWA the opportunity to help begin community based work to maintain and improve the condition of our watershed.   It is also an excellent opportunity for the Gallinas and Las Vegas communities to develop a vision for our watershed, obtain funding for watershed restoration, and learn about conscientious land stewardship to keep our watershed healthy.