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Living Snow Fence on La Veta Pass

A project that involves sixth graders at the local school district, it teaches these students the value of conservation first hand by getting to replace standard highway snow-fence with living trees. The projectwhich begun in 2004, is a collaboration between the Conservation District,  Colorado State forest service and the local schools. The students involved in this years project began planting at 9:00 am on May 19, 2014 and planted replacement trees for the past plantings that didn't take.


Living Snow Fence Vega Commons in San Luis

This project involved the Centennial 6th grade students.  The project took place on May 19, 2014 at 1:00pm.  This project was an extension of the La Veta Pass project  a collaboration between the Vega Board and the Costilla Conservation District and the Centennial School District students.  The students involved received a first hand lesson on seedling tree planting and a bit of math and science were incorporated in the project as well.This was the second time the district was able to do this project involving the South end of the county school district and was assisted by NRCS staff, board memebers and other volunteers.




Acequia Project

Acequia Project

The Acequias are not simply a part of the local culture, but are an organized system to distribute and allocate the irrigation water.  The law of the community Acequias depends on the two values of equity and community: shared duties in the construction and maintenance of the community water supply systems, sharing water in times of scarcity, and full participation and equal rights among the parciantes (members of the ditch community).

The Acequias users are generally limited resource farmers and have, in some cases, only 5 to 12 acres of land. Because of this, they are often not viewed by traditional farmers as “real” farmers.  In 2004, the local Watershed Workgroup, spearheaded by Costilla conservation District< acknowledged this and recommended that the State Conservationist set aside $75,000 for the Acequias Program.

In response, $75,000 of EQIP funding, under the water quality resource concern, was provided to the Acequias in Costilla County.  There were 38 Acequias applications of which 30 were approved, totaling $53,599.  The average Acequias contract was $1,786 in fiscal year 2004.  In 2005, with the same funding, there were 54 Acequias applications, of which 17 were approved, totaling $64,207. The average Acequias contract was $3,776 in fiscal year 2005.  This amount is well below the state average per-contract funding of $27,600.


Acequia Day Event

This event took place on May 21, 2013 at the Centennial School District which involved Kindergarten to seniors rotated through four different stations and had the chance to see farm animals up close, plant habas bolita beans and other heirloom crops, learning about wildlife, water and conservaton values, and work the compuertas (headgates) at the Quintana Ranch, alongsider former Mayordomo (ditch rider).  Staff from the Costilla County Consrvation District and NRCS Field Office were on hand to help man the stations, Chris Benton, Lydia Benton, Alan Steube, Joseph Lobato, Jenny Stricker, Ruth Lewis and Tracy Miller.  Students went home with wet shoes on their feet, dirt on their jeans, smiles on their faces and valuable lessons to keep the Acequia tradition very much alive.  It was a great event for everyone involved especially the students.P6210011 The schedule was organized as an outdoors teaching event and an indoorrs as follows; OUTDOORS: 1, Planting-Gilbert Apodaca, Centennial teacher & Allen Stuebe, NRCS; Animal Display-Helen Vessels, teacher, Tino Rael, student; Head Gates-Charlie Quintana, farm owner & Joseph Lobato, NRCS; Flow & Manipulation-Robert Quintana, teacher and farm owner.

INDOORS: Plant & Weeds-Jenny Stricker, NRCS & Chris Benton, CCD; Culture & Ceremonies-Eugene Jacquez; Water Rights, Shares & Priorities, Tom Stewart;  Soil Erosion & Ground Water-Judy Lopez, RGWSCEI.



Soil Pit Profile

This event was held in October, 2013 involving the Centennial School District students 5th through 12th grades educating them in soil profiling and conservation and erosion.  The event was hoste at the Centennial School District grounds involving school science teachers, NRCS staff and District staff.  The students involved were amazed with all that was taught to them and enjoyed the entire days event.

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