San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District is one of 47 conservation districts in the state of New Mexico working to put conservation efforts on the ground. Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are local political subdivisions or “special districts” (similar to irrigation districts or water and sanitation districts) which are governed by a board of supervisors elected by the voters of our district.
- To protect, restore, enhance, and promote the wise use of natural resources
- To promote stewardship through education
- To provide financial and administrative assistance to citizens and groups in the district
San Juan SWCD covers half of San Juan County, the westernmost edge of Rio Arriba County, and the northwest corner of Sandoval County. It includes some Navajo Nation chapters and a section of the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. San Juan SWCD is bordered on the west by chapters of the Navajo Nation, on the east by the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, on the south by McKinley SWCD, and on the north by the Colorado state line. The District includes large sections of the San Juan, Animas, and La Plata rivers, as well as the New Mexico portion of Navajo Reservoir. San Juan SWCD works with numerous partners on both private and public lands to ensure that resource conservation is a priority in Northwest New Mexico.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts were formed by Congress during the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s. Congress knew that conservation would not succeed without the support of our nation’s private landowners, so they recommended that all states allow local landowners to form soil and water conservation districts as independent subdivisions of state government. The San Juan SWCD was incorporated on October 24th, 1941.
Today, there are nearly 3,000 conservation districts in the United States. The unique strength of conservation districts is that they are able to coordinate assistance from public, private, local, state, and federal sources, in order to develop locally-driven solutions to local natural resource concerns. This includes conserving and developing natural resources, providing for flood control, preserving wildlife, and promoting the health, safety and general welfare of the population.
Board of Supervisors
San Juan SWCD Board of Supervisors. Clockwise from top left: Ralph Fenton, Leo Pacheco, Cash Carruth, Emma Deyo, DeAnne McKee, John Arrington, (Vern Andrews Absent)
John Arrington – Chair, Supervisor Position 4
DeAnne McKee – Vice Chair, Supervisor Position 1
Ralph Fenton – Treasurer, Supervisor Position 3
Leo Pacheco – Supervisor Position 2
Vern Andrews – Supervisor Position 5
Emma Lee Deyo – Appointed Supervisor Position 6
Cash Carruth – Appointed Supervisor Position 7
Casey Spradley, 2016 – 2018
Carol Cloer, 2016 – 2018
Norman Rudd, 2009 – 2016
Frank Blackmer, 2012 – 2016
Paul Bandy, 2006 – 2015
District Manager – Melissa May
Assistant District Manager – Andy Bleckinger
San Juan Watershed Group Coordinator – Alyssa Richmond
Community Agriculture VISTA – Karyn Denny
Field Technician – Kathy McKim
Field Technician – Dick Otero
Field Technician – Pat Otero
Invasive Weeds Coordinator – Gary Hathorn
Road Coordinator – Edicia Rodriguez
While some conservation districts receive annual funding from a mill levy (similar to how counties and school districts run), San Juan SWCD does not currently operate this way. We run 99% of our programs with funding from our partners via grants and cooperative agreements. We would like to recognize the contributions of all the organizations that make our work possible – we could not do it without you!