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Town of Taos recommits to revitalizing historic Acequia Madre del Rio Pueblo de Taos

Updated: Oct 25, 2018

by Fritz Hahn

The Taos News, 3/30/2017


The Town of Taos is a parciante on the Acequia Madre del Rio Pueblo de Taos.

Under the direction of Mayor Dan Barrone, the Town has recommitted its support for

our acequia and endeavors to assist our acequia’s Commissioners in the repair and

revitalization of our ancient, beloved acequia. Wholeheartedly supported by the Town

Council, this initiative has been expertly guided by Manager Rick Bellis along with the

technical expertise of Mark Henderson and Public Works Director Francisco “French”

Espinoza.

– In 2015 collaborating with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, the Town was able to

repair and bring water into the Kit Carson Park lateral ditch. It was the first time in a

number of years that the park had been irrigated.

– In 2016 the Town participated in a Youth Conservation Corps acequia-mapping

project conducted by the Taos Soil & Water Conservation District offering dual Taos

High School/ University of New Mexico credit with pay. This unique class was

designed and monitored by Mr. Peter Vigil and Ms. Tanya Duncan and taught by

Miguel Santistevan, David Gilroy and Enrique Gonzales.

– In 2017 under the guidance of the Acequia Madre’s Commissioners, Mr. Charles

Chacon, Jim Schlaurbaum, Nick Romero, Mayordomo Bobby Jaramillo, the

parciantes, the Town and the Taos Soil and Water Conservation District, engineering

has begun to design repairs to revitalize the La Loma lateral of the Acequia Madre

from the Kachina Lodge through the desague at the Lovatos ditch at Ranchitos Road.

Reconstruction will begin shortly with the goal of bringing water to Parr Field by the

start of the Fall semester at Enos Garcia, so that students will have the opportunity to

bring the water down to their garden. It is hoped that total restoration of the La Loma

lateral will be completed by the Fall of 2018. – As the New Mexico Department of

Transportation is scheduled to redesign and repair Paseo del Pueblo Norte in the

summer of 2018, the Town is exploring the possibility of rehabilitating the Paseo

Lateral of the Acequia Madre in conjunction with these road repairs.

– Hoping to apply for another Youth Conservation Corps grant for the summer of

2018, the Town along with the Taos Land Trust and the possible involvement of the

Taos Valley Acequia Association, under the guidance of Chairman and Mayordomo

Cipriano Medina, plans to participate in the reconstruction and revitalization of the

Vigil y Romo Lateral off the Acequia Madre. It is expected that this YCC grant will be

a THS/UNM dually credited paid work and learning experience.

– Currently, acequia revitalization requires a community wide, collaborative, holistic

approach to the Rio Fernando Watershed. As a result, the Town of Taos with Louis

Fineberg, Senior Planner John Miller as well as the Taos Soil and Water

Conservation District, the Taos Land Trust, Amigos Bravos, acequia commissioners

and mayordomos and the anticipated participation of the Taos Valley Acequia

Association, have formed the Rio Fernando Watershed Working Group – designed to

enable coordinated revitalization efforts and strengthen our presentation and grant

application process to funding resources.

Ensuring the protection of our rich, cultural acequia heritage requires institutional

change. To enable that, a number of ordinances are currently progressing through the

Town’s Planning & Zoning Department. Additionally, the Town hopes to reinforce

intergenerational acequia knowledge by involving our youth wherever possible.

The Town is committed to revitalizing our acequia commons, helping to stabilize our

aquifers, and solidifying future generations’ sustainability.

Hahn is a town councilor.


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