Southwest Jemez Mountains Collaborative Landscape Restoration

 

 

The Southwest Jemez Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project is a long-term effort focused on forest and watershed restoration activities, which will increase the landscape's resilience to severe wildfire and other large-scale disturbances.

The Landscape

The landscape area is approximately 210,000 acres in the Southwest Jemez Mountains comprising the entire upper Jemez River watershed, including a portion of the Santa Fe National Forest (110,000 acres), the nearly 86,000 acre Valles Caldera National Preserve, and the Jemez Pueblo, along with parcels of state, private, and tribal lands (Vicinity Map,  Project Map).

The habitats consist of ponderosa pines, mixed conifer forests, aspens, piñon juniper forests, grasslands, meadows, riparian areas, and aquatic habitats.

The Need for Restoration

The effect of human activities has significantly changed the ecological complexion of the landscape within the Jemez Mountains.  Over time, the suppression of natural fires has resulted in major changes in the diversity, age, and productivity of native plant species.  Our forests have grown more decadent, with dramatic increases in tree densities, thick understories, and ground covered with dead pine needles.  Unmanaged livestock grazing has left our river and creek embankments without vegetation to hold the soil and shade the waterways necessary to optimize temperatures for native trout and other aquatic species.  Invasive plants and noxious weeds have encroached throughout the landscape, diminishing the quality, quantity, and diversity of native forage for both wildlife and livestock.

Project Goals

Our overall goal is to transition the landscape to healthier conditions similar to those that existed before human-influenced change while accomplishing the following:

  • Restore the forest to a more fire-adapted ecosystem  (desired condition)
  • Protect cultural resources
  • Improve wildlife habitat and watershed conditions
  • Create local economic development opportunities

Forest Restoration Activities

Prescribed fire is an important tool for forest restoration.  Learn more about other forest restoration activities.

Collaboration

Collaboration is about doing more together than any of us can do alone!  Read more about the partners and their contributions in finding solutions to the challenges in the restoration efforts.  More about our partners and their contributions.

Accomplishments

During the past five years, about 24% of the vegetation within the project area has been treated, including areas within unplanned burns.  More. . . .

Our Future Plans

During the spring of 2015, we anticipate the approval of the environmental impact statement for the Southwest Jemez Mountains Landscape Restoration Project.  The EIS outlines a variety of projects that will mechanically thin approximately 30,000 acres and burn about 77,000 acres on the Santa Fe National Forest.  Projects to be implemented on the Valles Caldera include thinning on 21,000 acres and prescribed fire on 50,000 acres.  More on our restoration plans for 2015 and beyond. . . .

Your Opportunity to Help Us!

Be a part of restoring our forests!  Our forest is an integral part of our community and who we are.  It is a place for recreation and rejuvenation, as well as resources.  Help us ensure that the vital connection between our forest and our community continues for generation to come!  We need volunteers to help us work on projects, monitor outcomes, and spread the word of our accomplishments!  Contact us to learn how to help.

Is Your Home Firewise?

Do you love where you live, nestled in the quiet forest and surrounded by nature?  Please help us protect your treasured haven.  Check out Fire Adapted New Mexico to learn how to protect your property or contact the Jemez Ranger District's Fire Prevention Officer.