facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
LongView Adopts the Santa Fe River Thumbnail

LongView Adopts the Santa Fe River

LongView is excited to announce that we have partnered with the Santa Fe Watershed Association to become a sponsor of the Santa Fe River section from Sandoval to Guadalupe Street.

We believe a healthy river is essential to the health of the city. Running through the heart of downtown, the river is the lifeblood of Santa Fe. Investing in its protection and restoration means investing in the long-term resilience of our community.

The Santa Fe watershed, with the river running through it, is not only a major source of the water we depend on, but also makes the city and surrounding area more beautiful, green and livable, while providing critical riparian habitat for native plant and animal species.

About one third of the city’s drinking water comes from the Nichols and McClure reservoirs upstream from the city center. Along the Santa Fe river’s banks, an expanding network of trails and parks connect the city from north to south.

Successfully managing this precious resource, which runs 46 miles from deep in the Sangre De Christo mountains above Santa Fe to the Rio Grande near Cochiti Pueblo, is a complex task.

Prior to the twentieth century, the Santa Fe River was a mostly-perennial, spring-fed stream flanked by marshy wetlands, fields and orchards all the way from what is now Upper Canyon Road to La Cienega at the edge of La Bajada, passing through the centers of Santa Fe and Agua Fria village on its way. Residents of the area built dozens of acequias to divert the river flows for agricultural irrigation.

The first dam was built in the late 1800’s, creating a reservoir for city drinking water. By the 1980’s and 90’s, damming had caused the river to go almost completely dry, flowing only when the reservoirs were overfull from spring snowmelt and summer monsoons. In 2007, the Santa Fe River was named one of the nations “most endangered” waterways.

The Santa Fe Watershed Association was  founded by local hydrologist Paige Grant in 1997 to restore riparian habitat lost to gravel mining in the village of Agua Fria, where the bed of the Santa Fe River had been the primary source of gravel for the area since the 1940’s. Recognizing the precariousness of the entire ecosystem, SFWA then launched its Adopt the River program, followed by the campaign for a Living River Ordinance. 

In 2012, the city passed the Ordinance, allowing the city to release up to 1,000 acre-feet of water every year during spring and summer months. This vital flow keeps the riverbed wet, supports the restoration of the river ecosystem and has reestablished a thriving riparian corridor that provides habitat to hundreds of native plant and animal species, including 6 species of frogs, twelve species of snakes, and one species of wild native turtles.

Regular river flows also help recharge groundwater, refilling the underground aquifer that provides water to hundreds of wells in the city and the county.

There is no one agency or entity responsible for the river. At least 40 key stakeholders, including the city, the county, the forest service, and local land-owners, jointly control the fate of the watershed. Over the last 25 years, the Santa Fe Watershed Association has played an important role in fostering collaboration between all of the river’s key stakeholders and a shared vision for the future.

This has led to successes like the creation of a 20 year municipal watershed plan. Currently, the Association is working with the city, county and other stakeholders on the first ever comprehensive watershed plan for the whole local region.

Santa Fe is likely to face longer periods of drought, increased water scarcity, and a growing population in coming decades, making long-term planning and collaboration more important than ever.

As a river sponsor, LongView supports this effort, as well as projects to clean up the riverbed and restore the riparian ecosystem along its banks. We are thrilled to take part in this important work. 

If you are interested in how you can support the Santa Fe River, please reach out to the Santa Fe Watershed Association to learn more about their sponsorship and volunteer opportunities.