The Impact Outdoors NM projects will benefit wildlife, habitat, hunters, and a ranching operation.
In early August, I joined a group of volunteers with Impact Outdoors New Mexico on behalf of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership to help complete three projects on a local landowner’s property near Santa Rosa, New Mexico. The projects benefited wildlife, hunters, and the ranching operation.
Impact Outdoors is a nonprofit organization dedicated to impacting communities through education, conservation, and meaningful outdoor opportunities like hunting and fishing. By fostering strong relationships and community, for both veterans and youth, Impact Outdoors builds a cadre of strong volunteers who possess a deep passion for the outdoors. Through Impact Outdoors, many of the youth and veterans volunteer their time to assist with habitat restoration on public and private lands.
Private landowners play instrumental roles for conservation, ensuring that public and private working lands are conserved and managed correctly benefits us all. Thanks to a great working relationship with a landowner near Santa Rose, NM, volunteers with Impact Outdoors had already been able to help restore wetlands, fence off riparian zones to protect cattle from over grazing and restore native grasses, and install water valves to ensure water gets to the appropriate locations on the property. Due to these past efforts, the leopard frog, which is listed as a species of conservation concern in New Mexico, has returned to the property.
The Hermit Peak and Calf Canyon Fire in 2022 burned northwest in the headwaters of the Pecos River and was the largest fire in New Mexico State history. This property is irrigated with water from the Pecos River. After the fire the region received large amounts of rain causing a carbon kill off in the river. Due to the quick actions of the landowner and Impact Outdoors NM they were able to keep the carbon out of the restored wetlands and maintain an intact macroinvertebrate source to reestablish in the Pecos River.
In a continuation of this important conservation work, I joined about 30 volunteers from Impact Outdoors NM as they set about tackling three new projects in coordination with the landowner. We installed a catwalk over a ditch headgate to ensure the landowners safety when changing water allocations for irrigation and providing water to the wetlands. We built a fully accessible duck blind that will accommodate a track chair and allow it to fully turn around. Lastly, we built a ramp and pully system that allows a layout boat to be launched into the wetlands allowing a hunter using a wheelchair to hunt waterfowl from the water with a volunteer from Impact Outdoors beside them in the water in waders.
The event was a great success and the completion of the three projects helped prepare the way for youth and veterans to have a quality location to hunt turkeys and waterfowl as well as fish this fall.