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Coronado SWCD to fix acequia reservoirs

—Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District
On April 5, Governor Martinez approved the Legislature’s appropriation of $75,000 for the Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District’s Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan to improve the reservoirs of the three acequias of Placitas. They are: Acequia La Rosa de Castilla, Las Acequias de Placitas, and Las Huertas Community Ditch. The capital outlay was sponsored by Senator John Sapien in the Senate and Representative James E. Smith in the House.

The three acequias use reservoirs constructed in the 1800s to develop a head of water to be able to reach the bottom of their ditches. Because of deterioration only the Las Acequias de Placitas’ reservoir is able to be used this way, and it is in need of repair and renovation. The three acequias would also like to line their reservoirs to conserve as much water as possible. All three acequias were established prior to 1907, and all are self-governing bodies with their own officers and bylaws. Since the three acequias of Placitas share a common need for reservoir renovation, and because the three projects are similar in nature, the Coronado SWCD combined them as a regional ICIP. The Coronado SWCD will be the fiscal agent and each acequia will determine the design and execution of the work on the reservoirs. An acequia engineer from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will examine the reservoirs in May to make recommendations and give cost estimates.


Home gardeners needed to grow for local pantries

Each year, the Seed2Need Garden in Corrales, a project of the Sandoval County Master Gardeners, grows produce for local food pantries. The amount of produce for the food pantries has increased each year, reaching 65,238 pounds last year. Even though the volunteers are able to grow more vegetables each year, the need for fresh produce at the food pantries continues to increase. This year, the Seed2Need project is asking home gardeners to join in the effort.

Seed2Need will have a table at the Corrales Grower’s Market each Sunday beginning June 30 to collect extra produce from home gardeners. The Corrales Grower’s Market is held Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to noon and is located on Corrales Road, just south of the Post Office.

For more information, contact Sandoval County Extension at 867-2582.


Governor Martinez vetoes Solar

—Esha Chiocchio

Using line item veto power within the capital outlay requests bill, Governor Martinez struck down a project to develop solar power for the Capitol complex on April 5. Proposed by citizens group, Got Sol, and with bipartisan support of 27 Democrat and Republican legislators the $185,000 funds would cover immediate start-up costs to construct a solar array on the parking structure adjacent to the Roundhouse. This project was expected to offset twenty to 25 percent of the approximately $60,000-per-month electricity costs incurred by the Capitol Complex that New Mexico taxpayers are responsible for. This cost-saving measure, and overall economic savings for New Mexico, would pay for itself in three-to-six years.

A press release posted on Governor Martinez’s website on April 5 says that, “capital projects signed into law have a regional or statewide impact and have been vetted and prioritized by local communities, state, and local agencies, and elected leaders.” The use of a solar array to offset electricity on the Capitol Complex has an impact to every New Mexico taxpayer. Additionally, the Governor emphasized wanting “shovel ready” projects from capital outlay funds. This solar development project is ready to begin and the $185,000 in funds from the 27 New Mexico legislators would cover most of the project costs.

After countless hours of work by several citizen volunteers in Got Sol to move this project forward, questions arise over why the Governor would oppose a project that would save taxpayers money and move our state forward as a leader on renewable energy.


Landscaping app teaches xeriscaping

— Julie Maas

A landscaping app, created by the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer Water Use and Conservation Bureau, New Mexico State University’s Center for Landscape Water Conservation, and NMSU Learning Games Lab teaches homeowners and landscapers how “xeriscaping” (landscaping with water-smart plants), can be more than covering an area with gravel or rocks. The app includes a reference for hundreds of plants to choose from when designing low-water-use yards.

Information and photos can be accessed for the wide variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, cacti, turf grasses, ornamental grasses, groundcover and vine plants in the database of water-wise plants developed by the Office of the State Engineer.

The SW Plants app can be downloaded for free from iTunes. A link is also available at: www.xericenter.com/swplants; and at: wuc.ose.state.nm.us/Plants.

 
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