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.

Our Mission

  • 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

District Map

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


John Arrington – Chair, Supervisor Position 4
DeAnne McKee – Vice Chair, Supervisor Position 1
Ralph Fenton – Treasurer, Supervisor Position 3
Cash Carruth – Supervisor Position 2
Catherine Thomas-Kemp – Supervisor Position 5
Vacant – Appointed Supervisor Position 6
Leo Pacheco – Appointed Supervisor Position 7

Recent Supervisors

Emma Lee Deyo, 2018 – 2020                                                                                                                                          Casey Spradley, 2016 – 2018
Carol Cloer, 2016 – 2018
Norman Rudd, 2009 – 2016
Frank Blackmer, 2012 – 2016
Paul Bandy, 2006 – 2015

Our Team

District Manager – Melissa May –
Assistant District Manager – Andy Bleckinger –
San Juan Watershed Group Coordinator – Alyssa Richmond –

Field Technician – Kathy McKim
Field Technician – Dick Otero
Field Technician  – Pat Otero


Invasive Weeds Coordinator – Gary Hathorn
Road Coordinator – Edicia Rodriguez

Our Partners

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!

NOTICE: During the COVID-19 outbreak, our staff is working remotely. To contact us, email or call our new office phone number (505-234-6040) which will connect you directly to us. We apologize for any inconvenience, and appreciate your understanding.