Galisteo Basin

Galisteo Basin Watershed

SFCT Focal Area

Conserved Land: 33 easements, 11,899 acres

Description & History
The Galisteo Basin Watershed is celebrated for its spectacular scenic, wildlife, and cultural resources. Covering 730 square miles just south of Santa Fe, the Galisteo Basin’s varied geography includes grasslands, forests, mesas, rolling hills, rocky escarpments, streams, small lakes, and wetlands. The watershed lies across three counties: San Miguel to the east, Santa Fe in the center, and Sandoval to the west. The Galisteo Basin lies at the intersection of four western ecoregions: the Southern Rocky Mountains, Arizona/New Mexico Mountains, Southwestern Tablelands, and Arizona/ New Mexico Plateau, each contributing to a rich biodiversity. Regionally, the Galisteo watershed serves as a wildlife linkage area—for cougar, black bear, mule deer, and potentially elk—between the Southern Rockies Wildlands Network and the area encompassed by the New Mexico Highlands Wildlands Vision. The Southern Rockies Wildlands Network and the New Mexico Highlands Wildlands Vision are two prominent regional green infrastructure planning initiatives that have been developed in the past by consortia of national experts and organizations concerned with conservation biology. Galisteo Creek and its tributaries form a functional wildlife corridor network that establishes the linkage between the ecoregions. Additionally, the surface water drainage system also forms a regional and local hub of water resources and water related ecosystems of riparian zones and wetlands in an otherwise arid landscape. The riparian and wetlands system of the watershed serves in particular as a small stepping stone (i.e., an “island”) for waterfowl and other migratory birds that follow the alternative eastern fly routes parallel to the Rio Grande.

The Galisteo Basin is complex and nuanced landscape containing the material record and place-based cultural heritage for generations of ancient and modern peoples, extending back more than 10,000 years. The federal government recognized and protected the prehistoric Native American archaeological value of the watershed in the 2004 Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act (S.210, H.R.506). The Act specifically seeks protection for 24 sites of immense prehistoric significance, including several large pueblo ruins and petroglyph sites. It is this richness of culture and wildlife, coupled with its raw natural beauty that makes the Galisteo Basin and critical region to protect.

The Galisteo Basin Watershed was adopted several years ago as a landscape in need of protection, and we established a conservation goal of conserving 50,000 acres. SFCT, along with Earth Works International and Earth Analytics, undertook the Galisteo Watershed Conservation Initiative (GWCI), an initiative that created a plan for the protection and restoration of the basin’s watershed resources. At this time, SFCT began working closely with Commonweal Conservancy at their Galisteo Basin Preserve, a conservation development, on a common goal to conserve over 12,000 acres of land for wildlife, prehistoric, and public recreation purposes.

Within the Basin is the Galisteo Basin Preserve (GBP), a large-scale, community stewardship initiative spearheaded by Commonweal Conservancy. Designed to permanently protect more than 12,000 acres of open space, wildlife habitat, and cultural resources in the Galisteo Basin, the Galisteo Basin Preserve is considered a “keystone property” in the region; inappropriate subdivision into widely distributed, large-lot “ranchettes” would irreparably compromise the region’s scenic, wildlife habitat, water, historic, cultural, and traditional economic values. SFCT now holds 13 conservation easements on 3,971 acres of the GBP and plans on receiving an additional 10,000 acres in the future. The Santa Fe Conservation Trust and nineteen landowner partners protect 11,899 acres in the Galisteo Basin Watershed.

Return to Protected Lands

Upcoming Events

Apr
24
Wed
9:00 am La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, La Cuchara Trailhead
La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, La Cuchara Trailhead
Apr 24 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, La Cuchara Trailhead | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
Come help SFCT trail volunteers to maintain public trails in the City La Tierra Trails area.  Bring work boots, long pants/shirt sleeves, sun protection, snacks, and water.  I’ll bring the tools! To sign up, contact Tim[...]
Apr
27
Sat
10:00 am Happy Earth Day / Acequia and Ri... @ Railyard Park Community Room
Happy Earth Day / Acequia and Ri... @ Railyard Park Community Room
Apr 27 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Happy Earth Day / Acequia and River Cruise @ Railyard Park Community Room | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
Join this mellow community bicycle ride visiting trails, parks, and mellow streets down the Acequia Madre and up the Santa Fe River.  The ride will begin and end at the Railyard Park, with a half-way[...]
12:00 pm Earth Day Celebration @ Railyard Park
Earth Day Celebration @ Railyard Park
Apr 27 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Earth Day Celebration @ Railyard Park
Enjoy a day in the sun at The Railyard Park, Santa Fe’s award-winning green space, to celebrate the Earth and local biodiversity in honor of 2019’s national Earth Day theme: Protect our Species! This free Earth Day[...]
May
1
Wed
9:00 am La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, Junction 22 Trailhead
La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, Junction 22 Trailhead
May 1 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, Junction 22 Trailhead | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
Come help SFCT trail volunteers to maintain public trails in the City La Tierra Trails area.  Bring work boots, long pants/shirt sleeves, sun protection, snacks, and water.  I’ll bring the tools! To sign up, contact Tim[...]
May
11
Sat
10:00 am Vamanos Hikes
Vamanos Hikes
May 11 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Vamanos Hikes
2nd Saturdays of the month 10 AM – 11 AM (Except in September when it’s on the 28th ) May 11th  “Find a View” Meet at Upper Canyon Road and Cerro Gordo Road  and walk[...]

2017 Annual Report