Hope Through Recovery
This is our home, and Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance joins its neighbors in the long-term commitment to restoring our lands and water from the damage caused by the Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon Fires.
We are here to provide you, our neighbor, with expertise, tools, materials and labor to stabilize soils and restore plant coverage of your lands to reduce flood threats, soil erosion and to protect the quality and quantity of our waters. If you or a neighbor would like a site visit to discuss what treatment and support would help, please complete the site visit request form by clicking here.
Working alongside our neighbors in the Gallinas, Sapello, Mora and Tecolote watersheds, HPWA has learned what treatments work best on our lands and for our waters. Landowner Guides for Post-Fire flooding mitigation, soil erosion control, restoring plant coverage and tree management are available for you to download here. We hope that you’ll find them useful when considering the best restoration treatments for the long-term post-fire recovery of your land and protection of our water.
Post-Fire Seeding and Mulching Instructional Video
Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance has been hard at work on our neighbor’s land in Gallinas Canyon. As part of our seed distribution efforts, we’ve created an instructional video highlighting our recommended strategy for seeding the land. Planting seeds and mulching are effective restoration treatments that help to increase herbaceous vegetation and reduce flooding in a post-fire landscape.
It takes us all working together to restore our land and water post-fire. The National Resource Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection program can also provide assistance to you as a private landowner through Tierra Y Montes Soil and Water Conservation District. Click here to download their application form, which is for the people in Gallinas Canyon. If you live in Mora, click here to downad the Mora Soil and Water Conservation District assistance form.
Given the high percentage of intense burn (click here for map), much of the area impacted is at risk of flooding during our Monsoon season this year and up to five years from now. In fact, a 1.5″ rain event could cause a 100-year flood occurrence and dangerous debris flows. Federal, state and local government agencies are at work to meet this impending threat (click here for map). HPWA is, also, at work with landowners to reconnect our streams and rivers with their natural floodplains and to build ‘natural’ structures called PALS to absorb and reduce the intensity and quantity of flow and to capture debris at intervals throughout the Gallinas canyon watershed.
If you’d like to view a live stream from the Santa Fe National Forest about flood mitigation, please click here.
The high intensity of the fires burned a vast percentage of grasses, shrubs, trees and litter layer that stabilize our soils by reducing the impact of precipitation and increasing absorption of water. Coupled with the steep slopes of our watersheds, we face the prospect of losing our surface soils during precipitation. These soils and remnant ash are washed away into our streams and rivers, increasing sediment in the water and scouring of our stream and riverbanks to impair our watersheds and the quality of our water for drinking, agriculture, recreation and wildlife.
Loss of Herbaceous Plant Cover
When the ground is bare and void of plants, soils are easily eroded and they lose their vital organic components, like nutrients and insects. Plants soften the impact of raindrops and slow rainwater over the surface of the ground. When rain slows down, it can enter the soil where it is stored or travels downward, replenishing streams, water table, and aquifers. Restoring plant cover through initial cover crops and grasses will stabilize the soils and begin the process of returning it to productivity while protecting our water. Over the long-term, more native plant species, including shrubs and trees can be introduced and some species will return on their own if we stabilize their environment.
Daily Fire Updates: If you’d like to view daily fire update live streams, please click here to go to the official Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon Fire Facebook Page.
Full Incident Report: If you’d like to read the full Hermit’s Peak & Calf Canyon Fire incident report, which is an investigation into the cause of the fires, click here.