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Through funding projects, organizing workshops, and working with young people, the RPMC invites the public to participate in stewardship of the watershed. We undertake a variety of projects in the Rio Puerco watershed to achieve the following restoration goals:
  • Sediment reduction.
  • Vegetation and habitat improvement.
  • Support other watershed factors, such as:
    • Inter-jurisdictional and inter-agency cooperation.
    • Socio-economic benefits.
    • Recognition and protection of cultural resources.
    • Public awareness, education, and participation.
Our diverse projects include in-channel stream restoration, water harvesting and erosion control, monitoring, and watershed education through youth projects, working with schools, and presentations to the public. Such projects are funded by congressional funds, 319 grants from the NM Environment Department, and the EPA's Watershed Initiative Program. We are currently working almost exclusively in the Upper Main Stem and Torreon Wash sub-basins.

For more information on specific restoration techniques, please see Methods.

what the user should see

The Rio Puerco Management Committee was established in 1996 by Congress (U.S. Public Law 104-333). As a congressionally authorized watershed committee, the group can receive funding on an annual basis through the Interior Appropriations Act. When funding is authorized, the RPMC releases a request for proposals to the public. This funding has enabled numerous restoration projects and activities within the watershed. Over 40 projects have been congressionally funded since 1998.
The San Pablo Project was a three-year project of the Rio Puerco Management Committee (RMPC), beginning in July 2002 and ending in the fall of 2005. The project was primarily funded by a 319 grant from the New Mexico Environment Department and supplemented by additional RPMC funds. The project focused on restoration and outreach efforts in a small sub-watershed of 35,000 acres a few miles south of Cuba, NM. A single sub-watershed was selected so that individual projects could complement each other and perhaps have a more visible impact
When Highway 44 was built in the 1950's, they decided to straighten the river, rather than build bridges. By reducing the lenth of the river by cutting of long meanders, the river began to downcut. The water was traveling faster in a short distance. Over time the river channel has dropped at least 60 feet. The RPMC received EPA funding to rebuild the meanders. The highway department built bridges when highway 550 (formerly hwy 44) was built.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Watershed Initiative (WI) program supports innovative watershed restoration approaches. Projects will address the causes of degradation in this watershed by involving communities in the watershed in demonstration projects and workshops. The main strategies focus on decreased sedimentation and erosion on the treated sub-basins. Riparian and stream strategies include increasing desired vegetation, decreasing non-native and invasive species, and developing stable stream geometry. In upland areas the strategies include increasing vegetation cover and enhancing infiltration of precipitation, resulting in decreased runoff.