The Lower Embudo Watershed

Ecotone began working in the Lower Embudo Watershed in 2012, continuing Earth Works Institute’s work that began in 2009. Ecotone’s involvement with the Lower Embudo Watershed focused on community engagement through several hands-on projects aimed at environmental health and safety. These included a large trash cleanup initiative, experiments with the removal of invasive trees without using herbicides, erosion control and sediment management, and wildfire prevention through thinning of some small parcels in the bosque along the Rio Embudo. Ecotone also led a series of erosion control and wetland restoration projects and the improvement of the headgate system for the Acequia de la Plaza.

Between 2013 and 2015, Ecotone was deeply involved in the development of an updated watershed plan for the Lower Embudo Watershed and a forest plan for the forested parts of the watershed. Based on the forest plan, in 2015-2017, Ecotone participated in a woodland restoration pilot project on State Trust Lands in the watershed. In 2019 and 2020, Ecotone completed the final Watershed-Based Plan: “Proyecto Embudo de Agua Sagrada: A Plan for Restoring the Rio Embudo Watershed”. In 2020, Ecotone presented a series of four webinars on soil health and soil restoration opportunities in the Dixon area. The Youtube videos of these presentations are available under the “News and Events” tab.

The watershed plan laid the foundation for a project that aims at stabilizing, protecting and restoring springs and wetlands on State Trust Lands in the Lower Embudo Watershed which began in late 2021. This webpage provides information about this evolving project.

Ecotone was recently awarded EPA Clean Water Act funding to continue to build on previous work in the Embudo Valley, this time focusing on springs and wetlands located on State Trust Land. The  project area encompasses scattered springs, seeps, slope wetlands, and riverine wetlands. Throughout the project area, springs and wetlands have been degraded in the last century due to channel modifications, extreme weather conditions (drought and flash floods), erosion, grazing impacts, mining, wood removal, wildfire, off-road vehicle traffic, and/or Russian olive and tamarisk encroachment. The project goals are to reduce sediment loads and erosion, halt headcuts and channel degradation and raise the channel elevation, restore native riparian and wetland vegetation, remove invasives where it is feasible to do so, and to protect the riparian areas, seeps, springs and wetlands from identified impacts. The project will also create a Wetlands Action Plan, as further detailed  below.

Click on the image to the right to view the public presentation summarizing the project. 

A recording of a recent community meeting further detailing the project can be viewed, here

Restoring Springs and Wetlands in the Lower Embudo Valley



As part of the ongoing project to restore springs and wetlands in the lower Embudo Valley, Ecotone will be preparing a Wetland's Action Plan. A Wetlands Action Plan (WAP) is a guide for the planning and implementation of projects and activities essential to the understanding, conservation, protection, restoration and management of wetlands in a specified area. 

An important component of this plan will be to incorporate feedback from local community members and stakeholders. If you have insights regarding uses, values, and concerns of these precious wetland resources, please follow the link to our public survey below to share your input:



Lower Embudo Wetlands Action Plan (WAP)

Lower Embudo Watershed-Based Plan

The 2019 Watershed Based Plan aimed to outline steps toward improving the water quality of the Rio Embudo between 2020 and 2040. Compiled by Ecotone Landscape Planning, this plan serves as a tool for the Embudo Valley Regional Acequia Association (EVRAA) and other local leaders in their efforts of improving the water quality of the Rio Embudo. Over a period of more than 5 years, the plan grew out of the work of many partners, including the Arid Lands Institute, landowners, forest and watershed groups, and government agencies. The New Mexico Surface Water Quality Bureau provided oversight and funding support for the plan.




Click on the image to open the 2019 WBP summary.