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”
– 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.