The San Juan Watershed Group (SJWG) is a group of citizens and local agencies working to improve water quality in the San Juan River and its tributaries so that they meet national water quality standards. We spearhead watershed-based planning, coordinate water quality research, provide assistance and funding to landowners for agricultural and livestock Best Management Practices (BMPs), conduct education and outreach about sources of water pollution, and work to improve water quality in numerous other ways.
The San Juan Watershed Group is overseen by a five-member Steering Committee, composed of local citizens, who provide planning, support, and guidance to the Coordinator and the group at large.
Meet the Team
Watershed Group Program Coordinator Alyssa Richmond
Steering Committee Toni Sitta – City of Farmington Associate Project Engineer Jimmy Hodges – San Juan Water Commission Melissa May – San Juan Soil & Water Conservation District Manager Edward H. Bulloch – Retired Soil Scientist One Seat Vacant
The Steering Committee offers professional planning, support, and guidance, however our direction and actions are determined by you – the local community. All people concerned of the health of our rivers are a member of the San Juan Watershed Group. Please join us at our monthly meetings or contact us directly to learn more on how we can help each other and work together!
Formed in 2001, the San Juan Watershed Group (SJWG) works to find collaborative solutions to improve water quality in the San Juan River and its tributaries. The SJWG works with partners to conduct water quality sampling to identify impairments and their sources while implementing bacteria and nutrient reduction projects, with the goal of mitigating these impairments to acceptable levels. These projects involve working with landowners, government agencies, local entities, and other partners to implement best management practices (BMPs), and they have shown considerable success in implementation and restoration results. Learn more about us through our Interactive Story Map.
Are you experiencing heavy riverbank instability and need professional solutions? Is your septic tank malfunctioning or in need of some maintenance? Are you a new or experienced farmer looking for technical assistance on conservation plans? We may be able to help!
Through an agreement with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), the Watershed Coordinator and assessment team offers free riparian assessments to landowners along the Animas and San Juan Rivers. Not along the river? No problem: homeowners along drainages and ditches qualify as well. Funding is currently available to conduct best management practices (BMPs) and restoration projects along the Animas River. Private landowners are encouraged to fill out our Request for Riparian Assessment Form to be added to our list of potential projects. After the form is received you will be contacted to begin the consultation process and schedule an appointment for a property visit and assessment.
What is a Riparian Assessment?
Our assessments follow the New Mexico’s NRCS Guide for Planning Riparian Treatments in New Mexico. These protocols allow us to provide a “Percent Functional Score” of your area of concern in regards to ecological function, meaning that a “Report Card” and recommended pathways for project planning and design are provided. Please fill out the form or contact us directly to learn more about our program and our ability to work together:
Alyssa Richmond Watershed Coordinator 505-234-6040 Ext. 3 firstname.lastname@example.org
The San Juan Watershed Group assists in funding and management of restoration projects throughout the San Juan Watershed. If funding is not available to cover your particular project, we are always looking for projects to apply for funding to include in our watershed-scale restoration projects and Lower Animas Watershed Based Plan.
More information coming soon!
More information coming soon!
More information coming soon!
Reports and Documents
Every month the group gathers to coordinate ongoing projects, identify priority projects to develop Best Management Practices (BMPs), plan water quality research, and arrange outreach and education events to broaden the public’s awareness of and involvement in water quality activities.
- All of our meeting minutes since 2005 are available for the public to follow our progress.
- Join us and our federal, state, non-profit, and local agency partners by checking our Facebook for meeting events.
- Sign up for our email group to stay up to date on all resources, updates, events, and meetings.
Watershed Plans are an ever changing strategy and work plan developed through a collaborative process to improve water quality throughout specific watershed(s). Under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act every state is required to assess sources of pollution and implement projects to mitigate this pollution for public health, ecology function, and to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Quality Standards.
The San Juan Watershed Group was first formed in 2001 after the New Mexico Environment Department observed high concentrations of algae blooms in the Animas River. Since then, the SJWG has coordinated with the state government, other watershed groups, and non-profits to conduct water quality testing throughout the San Juan Watershed. Monitoring continues by the state and the group as areas and/or drainages of concern are further identified and prioritized for project implementation.
- Several nutrient and bacteria sampling result reports have provided direction to drainages and tributaries to the Animas River should be prioritized to reduce pollution, including the Florida River, Kiffen Creek, Steven’s Arroyo, and Ditch Canyon.
- From 2013-2014, San Juan Watershed Group and San Juan Soil & Water Conservation District conducted a Microbial Source Tracking study and collected water samples along the Animas and San Juan River to track the sources of E. coli and human fecal bacteria pollution. The presence of ruminant (cattle, deer, sheep, etc.) bacteria was a significant concentration throughout both rivers. Human bacteria was less pervasive, but still showed a consistent presence in both rivers.
After conducting bacterial and nutrient water quality sampling in coordination with the New Mexico Environment Department in the early 2000’s, the San Juan Watershed Group has applied and received multiple grants from the Clean Water Act (319) funded NMED Watershed Protection Section to start working towards solutions. Several stretches of the Animas and San Juan Rivers are impaired for fecal bacteria, nutrients, temperature,and/or sedimentation, and our 319 projects are targeted to address a variety of contributing pollution sources.
- Between 2011 and 2014 the SJWG oversaw the Collaborative Water Quality Improvement Project for the San Juan River Watershed. Several manure management, livestock fencing, soil conservation, fertilizer management, and restoration Best Management Practices (BMPs) were done on the La Plata, Animas, and San Juan Rivers.
- Since 2017 the group has been coordinating the projects under the Lower Animas Watershed Based Plan Phase 1 Project, which aims to reduce fecal bacterial pollution to the river through riparian restoration, manure management, and bank stabilization BMPs.
- The momentum of the Phase 1 Project continues in the Lower Animas Watershed Based Plan Phase 2 Project, which funds educational workshops, a Septic and Illegal Dumping Campaign, and free riparian assessments for landowners along the Animas River.
Over the years the San Juan Watershed Group has shared our legacy and mission to partners and the public via conferences, workshops, and meetings. A variety of presentations are available as an educational resource on water quality, invasive species management, and riparian restoration.