Mission, Vision & Case Statement
Facilitating a shared community commitment to protecting now our open spaces for future generations.
The Frontera Land Alliance protects—forever—natural areas, working farms and ranches, water and wildlife in the West Texas and southern New Mexico region of the Chihuahuan Desert by:
- Ensuring the region will enjoy steady water supplies, ample open space, and well planned growth
- Investing in the sustainability of our natural assets with education, resource management, stewardship, and collaborative public-private partnerships
- Supporting our economy while enhancing our quality of life by making smarter choices
- Passing to future generations the beauty, wildlife, water and natural resources we have today
We conserve water and wildlife resources forever through the preservation of open land.
The Frontera Land Alliance Strategic Report 2017:
Facilitating a shared community commitment to protecting now our open spaces for future generations
The Frontera Land Alliance Goals:
We all have a shared responsibility to conserve and educate the community about our natural world: to use what we need, make smarter choices, and pass on to future generations the beauty, wildlife, water and natural resources we have today. Investing in conservation is also an investment in our economy, since tourists are drawn to the region for the mountains, the Rio Grande, our parks and our natural areas.
The Frontera Land Alliance Core Values:
The team of strategic thinkers proposed and prioritized the following core values.
- education causes smarter choices regarding the protection and conservation of our natural resources.
- we impact the region’s quality of life and contribute to the community’s health.
- our environment creates a unique identity and a sense of place for our region.
- in the protection of and equitable access where appropriate to our natural world.
- investing in our conservation is investing in our economy.
Summary & History
The Frontera Land Alliance, a non-profit organization, began in 2005 when a group of community members realized there was an urgent need to help preserve some of the important remaining natural and working lands in the greater El Paso and southern New Mexico region. The organization has developed the knowledge and expertise to provide guidance to land owners wanting to maintain the character of their land.
The El Paso region sits within the northern portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, one of the three most biologically diverse deserts in the world. It also has a rich history of human occupation from its earliest hunter/gatherer residents through its ranching and agricultural heritage on to the bustling El Paso/Juarez metroplex of today. The Rio Grande is one of the world’s major rivers and its waters are the lifeblood of the El Paso region. For millennia, the people of this region have benefited from the exceptional diversity of our natural resources, not just from a monetary standpoint, but also from the strong sense of community and spiritual strength derived from the rigors and beauty of the land. Outdoor recreation is part of our way of life from hikers to young children who play in parks. Protecting our natural areas will ensure that we still have places to hike, bike, boat, fish, hunt, see wildlife, or just enjoy the quiet pleasure of nature.
As the population of this region has increased, an imbalance between the developed and natural landscapes has arisen, resulting in disproportionate amounts of land being urbanized without adequate preservation of natural and working lands. The City of El Paso encompassed 25 square miles in 1950. By 2012 it had grown to 255 square miles. Ranches and farms that effectively preserved open space while working the land were lost as the city expanded. Native desert lands that controlled runoff helped clean our air and nurtured wildlife that enriched our lives and provided free pest control on working lands, were replaced by urban infrastructure. Open space and parks are important for quality of life and are important for attracting individuals and companies to our community. El Paso has roughly one acre of in-town open space for every 760 residents. The national average is around 11 acres per 760 residents. Clearly, there is a need for improvement.
While many of the connected natural areas have been irrevocably altered, there remains a significant amount of un-impacted native open space and important working lands. These include City of El Paso public lands, Department of Defense lands no longer needed for their mission, working ranches and agricultural lands, as well as unused water rights that can provide important water resources to sustain restored wetlands that are designed to mimic the historic Rio Grande bosques. Future generations will benefit from the immeasurable beauty and vitality of Chihuahuan Desert natural areas. Additionally, preserving working farms and ranches which form the core of communities that have thrived here for centuries should also be saved for the future of those communities. Through a rigorous review of the significant lands remaining, Frontera will be able to target those places in greatest jeopardy and work with willing landowners to get them preserved.
The Frontera Land Alliance has achieved a number of important successes in land conservation as well as community outreach. The ninety-one acre Wakeem/Teschner Nature Preserve at Resler arroyo was acquired in 2006. It serves as an oasis for wildlife within El Paso and an important refuge in which community members can unwind and re-engage with nature. It also acts as an important wildlife corridor and conduit for water to another nature preserve downstream, the Keystone Heritage Park.
Thunder Canyon is a 24 acre arroyo set aside through an exciting partnership between local residents, the City of El Paso and Frontera. The people living around the arroyo worked with the City and Frontera to forge an agreement through which the City purchased the land from the developer and the residents agreed to repay the City for the initial costs. Frontera holds the conservation easement that insures the land will never be developed.
Frontera is committed to educating the public about land conservation. In this capacity, the organization has set up workshops for landowners, government officials and the general public to help them learn about the various methods that can be applied to conserve lands and the benefits to be derived from that process. This is an ongoing effort on Frontera’s part and has positioned the group as the go-to organization for the how’s and why’s of implementing land conservation and preservation.
The Frontera Land Alliance is a member of the national Land Trust Alliance and subscribes to LTA’s revised Land Trust Standards and Practices to guide Frontera in conducting a legally and ethically sound program of natural resource transactions and stewardship.