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WildEarth Guardians Awarded Funds for Jemez Mountains Restoration

Water Quality and Climate Change Adaptation the Focus of National Forest Foundation Grant

Santa Fe – The National Forest Foundation awarded WildEarth Guardians $35,200 to improve water quality and wildlife habitat in the Jemez Mountains. Beginning in October in partnership with the Santa Fe National Forest, WildEarth Guardians crews will begin work to restore ecosystem function, address non-point source pollution, and improve conditions for maintaining viable populations of native plants and animals in the Rito Peñas Negras. This is a one-year project that involves implementation of well-accepted and highly effective restoration and enhancement practices including native riparian plantings, exterior fencing to, prevent elk browse and livestock utilization to increase riparian vegetation and habitat and improve water quality.

“The Jemez Mountains are a critical source of water and wildlife habitat for New Mexicans,” Said Bryan Bird, Wild Places Program Director. “Climate change and the historic Las Conchas fire have put this cherished place in peril and we are working to restore and protect it.”

The project is part of a landscape-scale effort to restore watershed function and improve climate adaptation in the Jemez Mountains. The project will improve the conditions of National Forests and Grasslands in a measurable, hands‐on way, involves on‐the‐ground conservation, restoration and citizen‐based monitoring as its primary component and directly addresses watershed restoration as well as wildlife habitat improvement. , Animals that will benefit include the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, beaver, and the Rio Grande cutthroat trout.

The primary goals of this project are:

  1. To reduce and then stabilize stream temperature through native riparian plantings and fencing to protect plantings and the riparian zone from domestic livestock grazing, elk and motorized vehicle use;
  2. To restore the natural ecology of the site such that water quality is improved and wildlife habitat restored;
  3. To build consensus and support for a shared vision of a healthy riparian system for the Jemez Watershed; and,
  4. To engage and educate schools and local citizens via environmental restoration and environmental education activities throughout the duration of the project.

WildEarth Guardians is a non-profit, environmental organization with 20 years of experience whose mission is in part to restore the native wildlands and wildlife of the American West. WildEarth Guardians established its River Protection and Restoration program in 1994.

Founded by Congress in 1991, the National Forest Foundation works to conserve, restore and enhance America’s 193-million-acre National Forest System. Through community-based strategies and public-private partnerships, the NFF helps enhance wildlife habitat, revitalizes wildfire-damaged landscapes, restores watersheds, and improves recreational resources for the benefit of all Americans.

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