Football Lobos will be prowling the Corrales Bosque Preserve this Saturday morning, not looking for touchdowns, but collecting dead and downs— tree debris, that is.
Ten to 15 Lobo players and 10 varsity Volcano Vista players have signed on so far to do a Bosque Preserve clean up effort, starting at 8 am on Saturday at the Andrews Lane entrance to the preserve. They will be hefting out dead trees and limbs and other debris in an effort to reduce fire risk in the Bosque. The cleanup with end at 11:30, followed by a tailgate lunch grilled by a Lobo booster at La Entrada Park in Corrales.
“Keeping the Bosque clean is a crucial step in preventing wildfires that threaten the Preserve and the Corrales community. We are so glad to have football team member lend us their strength and effort to reach this goal,” said Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission Chair Joan Hashimoto. “Parts of the Bosque have a huge fuel load of dean and down and we really need to reduce the risk of fire in those areas.”
The Corrales Fire Department will be coordinating the effort, she added.
- Facts About the Corrales Bosque Nature Preserve
- The Corrales Bosque is a 662-acre narrow strip of land bordering the entire east edge of the Village of Corrales.
- The Preserve land is owned by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) and is co-managed by the MRGCD and the Village of Corrales.
- The Bosque was declared a protected area by the Village in 1978. In 1990, the Bosque (“Nature”) Preserve Ordinance was passed.
- This forest has been primarily a Rio Grande Cottonwood riparian forest. Other prominent species are Siberian Elm, and NM Olive.
- A primary management issue for the Bosque is balancing natural vegetation growth, habitat and environment with wildfire risks.
- In its mission statement, the MRGCD mentions protecting the environment, wildlife and endangered species… Balancing this with mitigating wildfire risk is important. Towards this end, the Corrales Fire Department with Chief Anthony Martinez and the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission have worked together to address this balance.
- Twelve years ago, the Village and its Fire Department created eight “shaded fuel breaks” transversely across the narrow Bosque at generally equidistant intervals north and south. These shaded fuel breaks have been thinned of invasive vegetation and provide staging areas where the Fire Department can place equipment in an attempt to block north and south progression of any Bosque wildfire.
- Reducing dead and down material has been increasingly recognized as a wildfire mitigation strategic intervention.
- “Dead and down woody debris (DWD) is a major component of surface fuels affecting surface fuel consumption, potential crown fire initiation, and resulting crown fuel consumption and overall head fire intensity.” (International Journal of Wildland Fire 2021, 30, 871–885)
- “The Forest Service should prioritize surface fuel over tree-removal treatments (surface fuels first, then ladder fuels, and crown fuels last), complete follow-up treatments in a timely manner, and establish and enforce strict parameters for residual surface fuels.” (Reduction of Surface Fuel Should be a Forest Service Priority Prepared for the Forsythe II Monitoring Group Mark Foreman, Ph.D. Dec 2, 2019)
- Reducing fire risks in the Bosque means reducing combustible fuel load (especially wood).
- The Bosque has an extraordinary amount of dead and down limbs and other tree parts because of the predominant cottonwood trees continually auto-pruning and dropping limbs. This is accelerated by dry weather spells and normal aging. Also, because of our relatively dry climate, the dead and down wood decomposes slowly and accumulates. This is a huge fire threat.
- Although this issue has been recognized in the past, it has not been addressed because of the lack of funds to implement clearing of the dead and down.
- The Corrales Fire Department with Chief Anthony Martinez, assisted by the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission are sponsoring the Lobo Football Removal of Corrales Bosque Dead and Down Wood — Fuel Load Reduction. Chief Martinez has been in contact with the UNM Lobo Football Team and local schools to participate.
- The Event – Saturday, Oct. 29 from 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. in the Corrales Bosque at Andrews Lane ead and down wood will have been previously cut by Corrales Fire Department so that no active chainsaw cutting will take place.
- Ten to 15 Lobos will help in carrying the cut wood to a collection place on the Corrales levee from which it can be carted away.
- The Volcano Vista High School Football team will also provide muscle-power to carry out the accumulated fuel load.
- Beverages and snacks courtesy of the Fire Department and Bosque Advisory Commission members and lunch courtesy of a Lobo Football booster will be served.