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Gallinas Watershed Plan

The Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance (HPWA) has received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NM Environment Department to develop an Updated Watershed Based Plan for the Upper Gallinas River.  The EPA supports local watersheds through a substantial grant known as the Federal Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant (319 grant for short).  We have been awarded this grant to help support a healthy Gallinas watershed.  We’ll do this by identifying issues affecting the health of our watershed then by proposing solutions to those issues.  Once we have done this, we will be eligible to receive more funding to actually do some of the restoration work we propose.  The issues we address and solutions we propose will be directed at creating a healthier watershed to benefit us all.  This project began on February 11, 2011 and is planned for completion by June 30, 2012.

The specific concern in the upper Gallinas watershed, identified by our local NM Environment Department, is that stream temperatures are warmer than they should be.  Warm water results in unhealthy fish populations, reduced water quality and increased water loss through evaporation.  Likely reasons that the water is warmer than it should be include a lack of shade along the river and its tributaries and that the river is wider and shallower than optimal.  These conditions, and others, will be researched during this project to determine how we can restore cooler temperatures to the Gallinas. 

While stream temperature is the driving force behind this project, we will also work to better understand and solve other related watershed health concerns.  We will further use this effort to engage and educate our community in watershed stewardship.   This project will be a community effort with a foundation at the grass roots level while coordinating with and using the expertise and resources of private and public land management organizations.