Rio Grande Water Fund
Albuquerque , New Mexico
NbS Interventions: Forestry best management practices, fire management, revegetation and riparian restoration
The Nature Conservancy and partners launched the Rio Grande Water Fund in 2014, following the devastating 2011 Los Cochas Fire which burned 156,000 acres in the Jemez mountains and disrupted water delivery to Albuquerque for 40 days. The collaborative large-scale effort—which now has 100 signatories—is designed to restore 600,000 acres of at-risk forests from southwest Colorado to Albuquerque. The effort includes thinning over-dense trees followed by leading controlled burns, restoring streams and, as of 2020, planting trees with drought-resistant seedlings to bring wildfire-scarred land back to life.
Project benefits include reduced wildfire risk, source water protection for one million people, safer communities, economic growth, enhanced recreational opportunities and improved wildlife habitat. Already, four potentially serious fires that hit forested areas treated by thinning and prescribed fire changed behavior and became more controllable.
Website: Rio Grande Water Fund