OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects

San Juan Watershed Group

Conn Fraser

OSMRE / VISTA: Conn Fraser
Supervisor: Dave Tomko
Address: 1427 W. Aztec Blvd., Suite 1, Aztec, New Mexico 87410
County: San Juan
Voice Telephone: 505-632-8008
Email: jtomko73@msn.com
Web site: www.sanjuanswcd.com/watershed
Congressional District: 3rd
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)


San Juan Watershed Group is a community group working to find collaborative solutions to improve water quality in the San Juan River and all its tributaries in NW New Mexico.

About the Surrounding Community

San Juan County has had a history of gold, silver, and coal mining since the 1860s. While gold and silver were the largest industries in the earlier years, coal production increased in the 1960s. Currently, all the New Mexico’s coal production comes from the San Juan Basin. The majority of the San Juan River is listed by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) as impaired for fecal coliform bacteria and sediment. The main reach of the Animas River from the Colorado border to Farmington is listed for excessive nutrients and fecal coliform, and the La Plata River is listed for fecal coliform, sediments, and dissolved oxygen.  Of the residents living in the zip codes served by the San Juan Watershed Group, 24.3% live below the national poverty level and live 43.15% below the national per capita income level.

Project Overview

The project promotes the San Juan Watershed Group’s (SJWG) mission to protect and improve local water quality within the San Juan Watershed by bolstering group membership and facilitating funding opportunities for agricultural producers and landowners to improve water quality. The OSMRE/VISTA also develops education and outreach opportunities to local schools, community groups, and Non-government organizations to increase awareness of SJWG initiatives and the negative health impacts of impaired water quality. Additional outreach efforts include the development and release of informational articles to the local news media to explain the mission and goals of the SJWG, activities and practices that contribute to pollutant loads, and methods to reduce those loads. The OSMRE/VISTA assists in the compilation and development of a comprehensive Watershed Based Plan by incorporating existing research and reports, assisting in monitoring the installation and effectiveness of Best Management Practices (BMP), and developing an overall strategy to reduce pollutant loads.

Sponsors and Partners

Animas Watershed Partnership

Four Corners Paddle Trail

River Reach Foundation

San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District

BHP Billiton

Mountain Studies Institute