Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Lobo The Independent Voice of UNM since 1895
Latest Issue
Read our print edition on Issuu
Water conservation.jpeg

The Rio Grande River from Alameda Boulevard in Corrales on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022.

Soil & Water supervisor board election

This upcoming election, three of the five elected positions on the Ciudad Soil and Water District Supervisor Board are up for election. Of them, two are landowner positions – meaning you must own land in the district – and one is an at-large position.

There are several soil and water conservation districts (SWCD) across the state. The SWCD are volunteer positions and the board is responsible for the control and prevention of soil erosion, flood water damage, promoting conservation and water recreation, according to the Act creating the districts.

The board sits under both the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and the National Resource Conservation Service, which is positioned under the federal U.S. Department of Agriculture – providing perspective to both state and federal matters.

“Their knowledge to accomplish conservation work appropriate for the locale, by their own work or by coordinating with and advising federal and state agencies, as well as other local government entities such as counties and municipalities,” the Supervisor Handbook reads.

At large candidates

There are two candidates on the ballot for the singular at-large position. Voters will select one of the two at-large candidates on the ballot.

Kaelan Dreyer

Candidate Dreyer said he decided to run, being a young smallholder farmer from the North Valley and he wanted representation for micro farmers on the board. He currently supports the East Mountain Water Runoff programs and wants to expand farmer training programs.

“I've always been interested in the growing industry. As a neurodivergent person, I find it (to be)much more rewarding, conventional work. I'm currently going to Central New Mexico College right now to do the brewing program because I want to supply grains for local breweries here,” Dreyer said.

He sees potential for Albuquerque to become an “urban agriculture oasis” as a solution to food deserts or lack of grocery stores and affordable fresh food available.

Daniel Conklin

Incumbent Conklin has served on the board for eight years and volunteered since 2012 after graduating from Bernalillo County’s Master Naturalist program. In the Naturalist program, he worked on the Tijeras Creek Remediation Project. If re-elected, he would want to continue restoration on the creek.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox

“We have grown dramatically during my tenure with over $3 million in grant funds to be spent this year. Almost all our funding comes from grants which we compete for and must continually replace. We have six dedicated – may I say passionate – employees who get the job done,” Conklin wrote.

Conklin said the board intends to seek voter approval next year for a tax that would secure the board's long-term funding. He also supports the ongoing education projects, East Mountains Forest Heath Program and restoring natural and native ecosystems.

Landowner candidates 

There are five candidates on the ballot for the two landowner positions. Those voting are allowed to select up to two candidates on the ballot for the landowner position.

Incumbent candidates for the landowner position, Thomas Allen and Maria Young, are running in support of each other as well as at-large incumbent Conklin due to the current functionality of the board and wanting to keep the current team in place, Allen, Conklin and Young said.

Thomas Allen

Also working as a teacher, Allen is the current Vice Chair of the Board and has served 16 years on the board in total. Being an urban board, Allen said their goals are focused on conservation and education.

“We do a lot of education programs to fund a lot of education programs and run them. We also are partners with Open Space (and) we get to do a lot of conservation through that. We do a lot of things like help small farmers and some fire protection thinning in the East Mountains,” Allen said.

His priorities are the environmental education component of the board, specifically the River Exchange and Arroy classroom which both focus on elementary school environmental education alongside the adult education program, the Watershed Stewards.

Other priorities would include removing invasive species out of the Bosque and a new middle and high school water education called Sponge City.

Maria Young

Young, a gardener in Albuquerque for the past 30 years, currently serves on the board. She said her priorities are awareness of the board and overseeing education projects.

One priority Young mentioned in particular is the East Mountain Forest health programs which includes educating the community on their vulnerability to forest fires and doing assessments on what they can do to prevent them.

In addition to expanding educational projects, Young wants to work on the general awareness of the board in the community.

“There's a lot of things that the district board has engaged in that is actually completely underneath the awareness of the general public and we would really like to change that,” Young said.

Leonard Pederson II

Pederson II is an avid outdoorsman who is running out of concern for misuse of public lands, aquifers and water levels.

In one word, Pederson said his priority would be “conservation.” He would seek to work with the legislative branch to see tax breaks for individuals who plant regional plants and revisit agreements with ranchers to limit grazing on public lands due to soil erosion.

He also wants to encourage the community to use water-friendly landscaping and cut down the water footprint in Albuquerque.

“At some point, complaining about what’s going on is only complaining about it. If you actually try to do something about it, you are actually taking the steps to make everyone's lives better,” Pederson said.

Robert Coburn

Coburn, another candidate for the landowner position, wants to bring conservative representation to the board.

He served 23 years in the Marine Corps and earned a Physical Sciences degree from the U.S. Naval Academy. His goals are to keep conservation at the local landowner level and bring Universities into the decision-making process for water conservation.

“There has to be a smart way to use our limited water and possibly some sources for freshwater that have yet to be developed. This is why we have agriculture programs in universities. We need to tap that research ability,” Coburn wrote.

Richard Torres

Torres is a small business owner who was born and raised in Albuquerque. He would want to implement transparent policies that have effective communication between those involved.

“After the onboarding process, I would strive to identify and prioritize key issues that impact the effectiveness of our mission,” Torres wrote.

Maddie Pukite is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at on Twitter @maddogpukite

Maddie Pukite

Maddie Pukite is the 2023-2024 editor of the Daily Lobo. 

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Lobo