Members in Action
Sandia Nordic Ski Club
The Sandia Mountains are a popular place to cross-country ski in the winter and there are approximately 4.5 miles of trails located between the Ellis and 10K parking areas. However, the trails need consistent grooming and maintenance to improve the quality of the groomed cross-country skiing experience and to be designed to minimize their year-round impact on the environment. Therefore, the Sandia Nordic Ski Club submitted an application to the US Forest Service to make physical improvements to the existing trails and additional segments to the trail system. Trail improvements are in progress, with the Klaus Trail nearly complete and excavation being completed on the lower trail system (especially to re-engineer turns). Additional information may be found at sandianordic.org
San Antonio de Las Huertas Land Grant
The San Antonio de Las Huertas Land Grant, a member of the Sandia Collaborative, worked with the University of New Mexico Architecture School to develop and build a campground and picnic area just outside the village of Placitas just east of Bernalillo. This site was developed to enhance the recreational opportunities in the local area and as an opportunity to share the history of the Land Grant. UNM students and land grant community members built a covered picnic area with multiple tables. Local mid school students worked with community members to build a kitchen area with work tables and a grill and smoker along with additional picnic tables. The Sandia Collaborative representative worked with community members to create multiple tent sites and an available full Civil War type tent, and a tent platform. The facilities allow users to experience spectacular views and the natural tranquility of the Sandia Mountains. The campsites and picnic area has served groups from one to 40 users. Campsites and picnicking is offered thru the HipCamp website. The team is currently working with PLIA to design and install signage using a format consistent with those employed by other public land management agencies.
Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District
Sandia Collaborative member agency Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District, with grant funding from Bernalillo County, the City of Albuquerque and USEPA via the NM Environment Department (NMED), hired Global Hydrologic Solutions, LLC to develop a nine-element watershed-based plan (WBP) for the Upper Tijeras Watershed. Tijeras Creek nutrient levels exceed state water quality criteria, and NMED has prepared a Total Maximum Daily Load document to document possible nutrient sources and the need for reductions in nutrient discharges. The WBP defines potential sources of nutrients within the watershed and details responsive best management practices (including implementation schedules, estimated costs and possible funding sources) that can help reduce nutrient discharges to Tijeras Creek. Additional information can be found at ciudadswcd.org
Las Huertas Forest Thinning Alternatives Focus Group
The Las Huertas Forest Thinning Focus Group conducted a field trip up the Canyon on May 12, 2023 to assess the ecology and conditions. Drafting of a plan continues. Current efforts include addressing dead trees in the watershed, but disposal methods are a challenge. The team plans to thin the riparian area to remove juniper and Siberian elm.
FOSM/SRD Project: Limiter and Steel Pipe Fences at La Madera Gate
On Monday through Wednesday, June 12 through 14, 2023 FOSM volunteers, Sandia Ranger District personnel, and TTYL/YCC (Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps) crew members completed a project to remove half of a vehicle gate, install a steel pipe limiter with a width of 3 feet, and install a welded steel pipe fence on both sides of the gate/limiter. The purpose of the project was to support the District's Travel Management Plan that prohibits motorized vehicles on this part of the District. Vehicles were able to bypass the old gate to get onto the pipeline road, and this project was intended to remedy that. The FOSM Project Leader was Joelle Hertel. Installation of the fence required drilling holes 10 feet on center, placing and leveling vertical posts, and filling the holes with concrete. Twenty-foot-long horizontal rails were welded to the vertical posts which were set 4 feet above the ground. The full report is available in the Documents tab.
San Antonio de Las Huertas Land Grant
The San Antonio de Las Huertas Land Grant, a long-standing member of the Sandia Collaborative, has continued to work with community resources to improve its offerings. Working with a State of New Mexico anthropology studies group, we had a study done of the properties around our Campo de Oso site. Historical artifacts and structures were found and will become part of a display available to the general public in the near future. In the meantime, the State has provided us with signs that explain the history of the area and the history of Land Grants in NM and particularly the San Antonio de Las Huertas Land Grant. The signs are located at the Campo de Oso site, the Land Grant building and at the Land Grant Cemetery. Please come visit if you can.
Native Plant Society of NM
The importance of our native flora, its ecologically functioning habitats, and the impact of human activities upon them are often overlooked in the management of our lands. The Native Plant Society strives to overcome "plant blindness" by offering environmental education and experiences to the community, and directing conservation advocacy to public agencies. We also provide volunteer services, modest grants, invasive species monitoring and removal, botanical surveys, and support for research. In the Sandia Mountains we have surveyed USFS treatment areas for cheatgrass, the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center for Dalmation toadflax, and are monitoring exotic poppy spread at Tres Pistolas with some containment achieved. We are also targeting tumbleweeds at Petroglyph National Monument, Rinconada Canyon Trail.