Notes from the field: BECY Update

Posted on June 16, 2015 by Borderlands Restoration in BECY
Joe Austin addresses the group about the impact of watershed restoration on his ranch.

Joe Austin addresses the group about the impact of watershed restoration on his ranch.

By: Allegra Mount

The Borderlands Earth Care Youth Institute is well underway with students from Douglas, Arizona! Borderlands Restoration has partnered with Sky Island Alliance and the USFS to bring hands on, land based education to Douglas high school students.

This past week, they had the opportunity to learn from Joe Austin of El Coronado Ranch about the long-term effects of building rock structures for watershed restoration. The El Coronado Ranch has over 10,000 rock structures on the property that have raised groundwater levels in drainages and provided crucial water resources for wildlife during the dry season. Student participants in the BECY Douglas program are constructing identical structures in a watershed at the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains. 

The students are all members of Future Farmers of America, and many have families that actively ranch land in the U.S. and Mexico. Joe was joined by Michelle Girard and wildlife biologist Reuben Gay from the USFS in a conversation about how these restored riparian areas are beneficial for both cattle and wildlife. The success of the structures demonstrates how watershed restoration can be the bridge between conservation professionals, land managers, and ranchers.

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