Ongoing Outreach Key to Community-wide Playa Conservation

For the past several years, PLJV has had the opportunity to work with city leaders and prominent landowners in Clovis, New Mexico, on a visionary plan that features playa conservation as an important aspect of ensuring ongoing groundwater recharge and a sustainable future for their community — and a key component of that plan is education. In June, the City of Clovis and PLJV formalized their partnership by signing a joint resolution to provide public education about the significance of playas to groundwater recharge and wildlife habitat and to restore playas in Curry County so they can better provide those benefits.

In Clovis, our playa education efforts started when the city invited us to present at their Water Conservation Summit in 2015 and again in 2016. During that time, conversations with city and community leaders continued, including discussions about including playa conservation in the city’s water assurance plan, which was approved in 2017. PLJV and the City of Clovis also held a field day for water conservation partners to tour playas in close proximity to Clovis and discuss playa restoration needs and opportunities.

Throughout this process, PLJV staff have given presentations on playas and provided educational materials to the city and county commissions as well as to more traditional partners such as the Curry County Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service District Conservationist, and Farm Service Agency County Executive Director. Earlier this year, we began expanding our education and outreach by holding playa restoration workshops for landowners who own playas, as well as city, county and agency partners. In the workshops, participants learn about the benefits playas provide, how to restore a playa and why it is important, and financial and technical assistance opportunities for restoring playas. The first workshop in May was attended by 10 landowners and 13 partner representatives, and the second one is scheduled for October 31.

“Ongoing outreach and education are important parts of any conservation model,” says Christopher Rustay, PLJV Conservation Delivery Leader, “and this partnership with the City of Clovis is a direct result of the many years of playa education and outreach that our partners have done in this area.”

As a conservation organization, PLJV is excited and inspired to see this community working to secure its water future, thinking about the long-range benefits playas provide, and developing innovative solutions that continue to provide clean water for generations to come. We support Clovis in their efforts and believe that ongoing, consistent messaging about playas and the benefits they provide will help them create a sustainable water future.

The City of Clovis has shown its support of playa restoration as a key component in creating a sustainable water future and included $3.5 million for playa restoration as part of their water assurance plan. To help fund outreach and restoration efforts, PLJV received a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Resilient Communities grant for $250,000.

Posted: October 14, 2018