ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Volunteers participated in events at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Albuquerque District lakes in observance of National Public Lands Day, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023.
NPLD is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. It began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers and became a yearly tradition. Held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, the event brings out thousands of volunteers to help restore and improve public lands around the country.
Last year 6,990 volunteers served 26,000 hours on USACE-managed lands, removing 86,394 pounds of trash, cleaning 852 miles of roadways and shoreline, maintaining 90 miles of trails, improving 1,044 acres of habitat, and engaging 270 partner organizations.
Abiquiu Lake, New Mexico:
Volunteers joined lake staff in cleaning up the lake and shoreline after one of the busiest recreation seasons in several years. Exceptionally high-water levels this year inundated recreation infrastructure necessitating clean-up efforts in these areas as well.
Cochiti Lake, New Mexico:
There were two NPLD events at Cochiti this year. For one event, Cochiti Lake staff coordinated with Earl Conway from New Mexico Bass Nation to host a Fish Habitat Building Workshop.
The workshop was designed to support the Cochiti Lake Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Project (AHEP), which is being implemented with the support and partnership of New Mexico Bass Nation, Pueblo de Cochiti and volunteers.
The goal of the project is to improve the aquatic ecology of the lake. Artificial habitat and spawning structures will increase fish populations and support lower trophic level organisms as well. This will help provide recreators, visitors, and community members access to a healthy reservoir ecosystem and a sustainable fishery.
Future workshops will take place at Cochiti Lake to support the forward momentum of the AHEP. During these workshops, lake staff, New Mexico Bass Nation, and volunteers will build floating island structures which provide habitat for variety of aquatic organisms and reduce the intensity of Harmful Algae Blooms.
“Planting for Pollinators” was the second event at Cochiti Lake. The Cochiti Lake pollinator garden is an ongoing project where pollinators can seek shelter, food & and water. It continues to expand with the support of volunteers and neighboring communities. In addition to supporting native pollinator populations and biodiversity, the garden is used for education purposes, community involvement and has its own intrinsic value.
This NPLD, volunteers came out and assisted Cochiti Lake staff in providing more habitat for native pollinators such as insects and birds.
Park ranger staff at the Cochiti Lake Project intend to install interpretive signs, native bee nest boxes, a plant-walk brochure station, and plant labels over the next several months in the garden.