Franklin/Organ Mountains Conservation Cooperative
Ft. Bliss Castner Range in the Franklin Mountains
Frontera gains support from the National Park Service (NPS) for regional conservation efforts.
In the summer of 2012, Frontera applied for technical assistance from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program to support our efforts to identify arroyos and other lands suitable for conservation around the Franklin Mountains. Frontera competed regionally with other organizations and communities in the grant process. The National Park Service (NPS) awarded Frontera a technical assistance grant in November 2012.
Frontera’s initial landscape project idea was to collaborate with the City of El Paso’s Water Utility District, Franklin Mountains State Park and other local partners to identify arroyos flowing from the Franklin Mountains that were the most suitable for conservation. “We at Frontera believe there are tremendous opportunities to partner with the Water Utility District in establishing conservation easements on certain arroyo’s” said Janaé Reneaud Field, executive director of Frontera. “The arroyos and drainages that are functioning properly from a watershed perspective and have wildlife and recreation values would be important conservation objectives for our organization.”
In November and December, Frontera and the NPS met with some of the key organizations and individuals who have been working on land conservation strategies in El Paso County and we agreed the scope of this large landscape conservation initiative should expand to include the corridors connecting the Franklin Mountains and the Organ Mountains in New Mexico.
A newly formed Franklin/Organ Mountains Conservation Cooperative will champion community efforts to develop a landscape conservation plan that helps identify lands for population growth and development while protecting components of the landscape that contribute to healthy ecosystem functions. Rick LoBello, Education Curator, City of El Paso Zoo, states: “A trans-boundary process involving all stakeholders, both public and private, to promote wildlife and habitat conservation is important to protecting the Franklin Mountains region including adjoining mountain ranges. This effort to conserve the biodiversity and participatory sustainable management of natural resources will help to ensure our quality of life and the desert ecosystem.”
The NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program supports community-led natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the U.S. In addition, RTCA supports “Scaling Up,” the NPS initiative to promote large landscape conservation to support healthy ecosystems and cultural resources. “It makes sense for RTCA to support this community initiative, especially with all the national focus on large landscape conservation. We’re looking forward to helping Frontera and other partners identify and protect ecological and working landscapes while recognizing the importance and value of development and regional growth,” said Attila Bality, an outdoor recreation planner with the National Park Service.