Watershed Restoration Leveraged Project
For us, having NMSBA connect us with Los Alamos enabled us to obtain expertise we could not find anywhere else.
In 2017, the U.S. experienced a record number of forest fires, with a total of
more than 9 million acres charred. However, the fires themselves are just the
beginning of environmental damage. Communities experience disastrous
mudslides, flooding, and impacts to drinking water supplies and fisheries.
Keystone Restoration Ecology, Inc., Earth Analytic, Inc., Global Conservation
Assistance, and Zeedyk Ecological Consulting, LLC have been working together
to rebuild wetlands and water tables in New Mexico and throughout the world.
For several years the companies were using a technique known as "Plug and
Pond," but wanted more data about the technique’s effectiveness in improving
hydrologic conditions and mitigating excessive nutrient loads from wildfires.
To address this issue, the collaborators reached out to NMSBA, which connected
them with Brent Newman at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Newman and
his team provided novel sampling methods to evaluate hydrological residence
times and obtain fingerprint nutrient sources, transport, and attenuation. The
results provided extensive biogeochemical and hydrological characterization of
a variety of restoration sites before and after using Plug and Pond.
Demonstrating that Plug and Pond works for post-fire watershed restoration
has enabled the collaborators to bolster this technique’s credibility, with
Global Conservation tackling places such as Tanzania and Uganda, and
Zeedyk Ecological Consulting restoring rangelands across the western U.S.
For Keystone Restoration Ecology, the results enabled the company to
expand its market, receive approximately $450,000 in grants, and hire two
crew members to implement restoration activities.