Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Volunteers needed for new Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District project

~Signpost Staff

The Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District is seeking volunteers to work on a new conservation project that will begin in December. This project will introduce new skills and extend the activities that were carried out in the Placitas Open Space from November, 2015, to April, 2016, with funding from the NM Soil and Water Conservation Commission. To carry out the project work, last year’s volunteers were trained in simple permaculture methods designed to slow run-off from heavy rain and promote better infiltration of snow and rainwater into the soil to facilitate regrowth of native vegetation.

Hikers in the Placitas Open Space, entering the site from the west entrance, will see a series of small parallel trenches (swales) across several hillsides, with downslope berms to catch and spread out the runoff from precipitation. These were put in place by a group of twelve mostly local residents who volunteered to learn the simple techniques and wield the hand tools provided for the work. The work team met every other Saturday for about two hours and walked from the parking lot to the work site. Evidence of the application is seen in the fine sediment that is accumulating in the swales, and even some tentative sprouts of grass from the native seeds that were placed in “sponge pockets” in the swales. According to project participants, such evidence should continue to increase across the next few years. The report from the project can be found on the CSWCD website at

The Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District has received another small grant this year to continue the application of specific permaculture methods in this same area of the Placitas Open Space. The primary objective for this year’s project is to arrest erosion in emerging drainage cuts in the same project area, to curtail the development of these drainages to becoming ever-deepening gullies created by rapidly flowing run-off. A permaculture technique referred to as “rock plating” will be applied to these emerging drainage areas. This technique calls for the use of small hand tools, rocks collected from nearby hillsides, and the creation of intermittent plates, one rock deep, in vulnerable areas. Volunteers will be given guidance in the technique and can apply their inner design talent to fitting the rocks together into the plates that will help control the flow of the run-off in these drainage areas. The project team also will continue applying the techniques from last year’s project.

CSWCD is seeking volunteers to work this project at least two times a month this winter. If you are interested, watch for flyers soliciting volunteers and look on the website— An initial training session at the work site for those who volunteer for the team is tentatively scheduled for December 10, 2016.

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