The past few years, city leaders and civic activists within the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area have made an increased effort to help preserve the Rio Grande Bosque. The "Bosque" as it is colloquially referred, is recognized as an "exotic" ecosystem; it constitutes a stretch of wetland unexpectedly situated in the middle of the vast, dry plains of the Albuquerque Basin's desert region. Recent measures being taken in aid of this area include: improvement of walking trails in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque, as well as the possible establishment of new trails in open space areas to encourage walking and hiking.
However refreshing it is to see such efforts, they don't quite go far enough. And while I applaud the activities of ABQ Mayor R.J. Berry and groups like FORROS (Friends of Rio Rancho Open Space), it is in large part up to individual residents of the ABQ Metro to do their part to preserve this jewel of a desert forest. And the good news is that on an individual level, it's not a demanding feat.
Things each of us could do to help the woodlands would be to sign on to help groups like FORROS plant Rio Grande cottonwood trees; the woodland today is filled with plants called "invasive species," and while some, such as the Salt Cedar, are quite beautiful, they can threaten native plant replenishment if they flourish in numbers disproportionate to cottonwoods. Another thing that too many suburban New Mexicans in particular are overlooking is that we need to return to lawns, rather than stick with the environmentally stagnant option of gravel. Most of the Albuquerque Metro Area is a continuous slope on both the eastern and western sides which lead straight into the Bosque. Hydrating and irrigating plains of grass may seem water intensive in the short run; in the long run, it would serve to direct much needed water into both the ground and the river area.
Ultimately our character in any city is as good as how well we preserve our finest natural resources. Stepping up efforts to save our wonderful Bosque will serve a reminder to our children and grandchildren that we value stewardship over the land we were gifted to receive.
Jeremiah M. "Trip" Wall
Daily Lobo Reader