Partnership with Socorro County
The Save Our Bosque Task Force has been active in the Socorro community for nearly 25 years. One of our strongest and most important partnerships is with Socorro County. Socorro County provides board representation which is crucial to coordinate our efforts with the County. Jerry Wheeler, Emergency Coordinator, currently holds a position on the Task Force board and provides an important connection for for our two organizations. For the past two years, Socorro County has provided office space for the Task Force program director in the county annex building. Along with this office space, the Task Force has access to a conference room that we use for our monthly board meetings and other collaborative efforts. Socorro County also provides the Task Force with access to office supplies and equipment including a printer and Smart Board. As a small nonprofit working with a limited budget, we simply do not have the resources to purchase these things on our own. The Task Force provides Socorro County with an ARCGIS license for the SmartBoard.
Since 2019, the Task Force has worked with Socorro County to implement a series of projects to reduce the threat of wildfires in the bosque, which is a critical issue for local communities. In 2020, we created a 71-acre firebreak in the bosque near San Antonio, New Mexico. The Task Force and Socorro County received a grant of approximately $40,000 for this work. The Task Force provides an important in-kind match for these projects by collecting pre-and post-project monitoring data that will help guide long-term management recommendations, in addition to seeking out and writing the grants. The firebreak is the first phase of a multi-year project which will decrease the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires in the area. Phase 2 of the project will begin in the fall of 2020 and will increase the fire break by 80 acres! We would like to continue restoration on these areas by planting native trees and shrubs, which not only provide a benefit to wildlife, but are much less prone to fire than the non-native Tamarisk (saltcedar) which was removed.
Through partnerships such as these, we are keeping our communities safe from the threat of wildfire while protecting wildlife habitat and scenic values for generations to come. The Task Force believes that our habitat restoration and fuels reduction projects, as well as our strong history of collaboration with other agencies, are complimentary to Socorro County’s goals. We hope that we can continue to partner with Socorro County to provide benefits to the Rio Grande bosque ecosystem and to the citizens of Socorro County.