Santa Fe Watershed


Improve Fire Prevention and SuppressionReduce Hazardous Fuels
Restore Fire Adapted Ecosystems
Promote Community AssistanceSummary Related Links

Update: Santa Fe Watershed, 2004


The USFS has developed an impressive plan to address the catastrophic wildfire risk facing the Santa Fe Watershed. Highlights of the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed Project (SFMWP) include a strong focus on restoration and a sound monitoring plan. In many ways the SFMWP is a poster child for collaboration between the USFS and the environmental community. The USFS created a consensus based process that ultimately secured the support of the Santa Fe environmental community, not an easy task. However, the plan has been slow to be implemented leaving many to wonder if the USFS has the political and fiscal will to address the problem in the short and long term. Moreover, the threat of a wildfire in the Santa Fe Watershed is not a concern for many Santa Fe residents. The complacency of neighborhoods at the greatest risk demonstrates the need for education and outreach with these residents. Education and outreach efforts by the USFS and city of Santa Fe ceased with the completion of the SFMWP. Residents closest to the watershed know little about the project's progress. Without reliable information, rumors, speculation and conjecture have room to grow. More recently, the City of Santa Fe hired a Wildland Urban Interface Specialist to focus on outreach efforts.

Timely and accurate implementation of the SFMWP is the greatest challenge remaining in the Santa Fe Watershed. Progress of actual fuels reduction inches along, while the watershed remains at a high risk of catastrophic wildfire. When fuels have been reduced, there have been instances where prescriptions laid out in the SFMWP were not followed. On several occasions workers misapplied the prescriptions due to poor oversight and project management.

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Copyright©2003 Toddi A. Steelman and North Carolina State University

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