Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mesa Del Sol: New Urbanism in Albuquerque


"Mesa Del Sol will be located just outside of downtown Albuquerque and is comprised of twenty square miles of land, 3,200 acres of which are said to remain as open space.' Albuquerque is famed for it's 300 days a year of sunshine, was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the best places for businesses and careers in the U.S., is just under a three hours drive from world class skiing in Taos, and is a short two hour flight from L.A.' Mesa Del Sol's New Urbanism approach means that virtually everything you need will be within walking distance -- stores, work, schools, homes, and parks etc.'

Mesa Del Sol's first completed building is LEED certified and occupied by a solar company.' Their site says that the community will embrace the idea of sustainability by conserving water, promoting walking instead of driving, promoting renewable energy use, and offering recycling

The community is in the beginning stages and while no homes or lots are for sale yet, home prices are estimated to start at a reasonable $150,000 to upwards of $700,000.' Homes will be Energy Star certified.'

One feature I was surprised to see in the renderings was double-lane roads running down the middle of the community, something that I have not seen in many green communities.' Perhaps this is necessary due to the size of the community and it certainly gives off a more urban feel, but I think it distracts a bit from the walking theme of the community.' The other element that I prefer to see utilized by green urban communities is the re-use of previously developed land instead of development of a completely new tract of land.' But again, with the size of this project, that probably would not have been an option.'


Overall, there is a wealth of information to take in on Mesa Del Sol's site.' This is a truly impressive large-scale project.' It will be wonderful to watch this community emerge as homes,
businesses, and the town-centers begin to develop.' Visit Mesa Del Sol's site to learn much more about the community and to sign-up to be kept up to date with the project.



All renderings credit: Mesa Del Sol."


Anouncement of Examination: Master's Exam/Project and Thesis Defense (Ryan Weiss)

School of Architecture and Planning

Community and Regional Planning and Water Resources

Title: Fluvial Geomorphic Response to In-Stream Structures: the Effects
of Design, Planning and Restoration of the Comanche Creek Catchment,
New Mexico, USA.

Date: November 12, 2008

Time: 11:00 AM

Location: SAAP, RM. 327

Committee Chair: Dr. William Fleming

Committee Members: Dr. David Henkel, Jr., Abraham Franklin

Anthropogenic impacts to the Comanche Creek catchment of northern New
Mexico have resulted in impaired water quality and aquatic habitat for
Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Federal and state policies promulgating
collaborative, multi-stakeholder watershed-based restoration endeavors
have driven the implementation of in-stream, riparian and upland
treatments in the catchment. This research addresses restoration
endeavors through a review of stream channel and watershed planning,
policy and restoration. Drawing upon case studies from current
literature, policies driving watershed restoration and the use of
in-stream structures to improve aquatic habitat and water quality were
reviewed. A stream hydrograph was extrapolated utilizing streamflow
evaluations from a hydrologically similar gaged catchment. Analysis of
fluvial geomorphic trends was completed through field observations and
channel geometry surveys of cross-section, longitudinal profile and
substrate throughout reaches impacted by in-stream structures. Trends
in fluvial form and processes at discrete locations indicate response
to present flow and sediment regimes. Downstream trends in channel
geometry suggest overall disequilibrium within the catchment. Data does
not reveal whether goals and objectives of in-stream structures and
overall catchment restoration endeavors have been achieved. Monitoring
over multiple spatial and temporal scales and a post-project appraisal
are recommended for objective determination of success or failure of
restoration endeavors. Critical data analysis and reporting to funding
agencies by both restoration practitioners and scientists is proposed
for policy review and development at federal and state levels to
further refine collaborative watershed-based restoration endeavors.

Announcement of Master's Project Defense of Ruji Rajbhandari

School of Architecture and Planning

Community and Regional Planning Program

Title: Monitoring Water Quality and Riparian Health in the Rio la Casa
Forest Restoration Project,Mora County, New Mexico

Date: November 4, 2008

Time: 10:00 AM

Location: George Pearl Hall RM. P130

Committee Chair: Prof. William Fleming

Committee Members: Prof. Jose Rivera, Andrew Erdmann

Fire suppression for many years has been created smaller trees and
denser forests. These conditions act as fire fuels as well as
decreasing the health of the forest. Increased density not only
affects the health of forest but also has an impact on communities due
to fire hazards. In response to these concerns, a mechanical fuel
reduction project is being implemented in the Walker Flats areas in
Mora County.The project is a Collaborative Forest Restoration Program
funded by the U.S. Forest Service. This program involves many
different stakeholders including the United States Forest Service, the
Santa Fe National Forest, the University of New Mexico, New Mexico
State University, New Mexico Highlands University, La Jicarita
Enterprise Community (as contractor) and other state, local,
non-profit and educational agencies. The goal of this study is to
monitor changes in watershed health, riparian health and water quality
in response to forest thinning in Walker Flats area.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Local Food Rebuilds Small Town (And Inner-City) America

La Finquita Community Garden Image

"La Finquita Community Garden via Nuestras Raíces

Our uncertain times, both economic and environmental, have businesses, individuals and all levels of government scrambling for a positive way forward. On one end of the solution spectrum is the short-sighted U.S. financial bailout. On the other end are thousands of far-sighted individuals, community groups, neighborhoods, and towns, planting, growing, preserving, cooking, and eating food grown in their own (literal and figurative) backyard..."

(Via TreeHugger.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wetland Restoration: The Best Alternative to Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technologies?

wetland photo
Image from doortoriver

"While widespread wetland destruction could unleash the mother of all 'carbon bombs,' scientists are discovering that the restoration of these vulnerable ecosystems could provide a valuable bulwark to climate change by creating a worldwide network of potent carbon sinks. A $12.3 million research project to capture and store carbon by growing tules and cattails in wetlands launched by the U.S. Geological Survey this..."

(Via TreeHugger.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Minnesota Piloting "Productive Conservation on Working Lands"

grasses kittelson wetland photo

"Wise people in the US State of Minnesota are working on an program for rural landowners and/or farmers who would like a way to maintain bio-diversity without fully 'idling' present, or prospective, cropland. It's called the Productive Conservation on Working Lands or 'PCWL' program. Instead being stuck with the binary choice of using wet or erodible acres to feed the ethanol beast, versus a 5-year contract to keep land in 'conservation reserve' (currently the only taxpayer supported program for protecting nesting game birds and other wildlife), farmers can 'kill two birds..." (More Via TreeHugger.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Mexico Forestry and Climate Change Workshop

New Mexico Forestry and Climate Change Workshop

New Mexico Forestry and Climate Change Workshop
November 20, 2008, 8:15 am—5:00 pm
Albuquerque Grand Hotel
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Workshop Goal

The goal of the workshop is to provide foresters and other natural resource professionals with information about climate change's projected impacts on New Mexico's forests to incorporate into their management decision making. Forest managers, researchers, landowners, students, activists, and the general public are encouraged to attend.

Working Group Approach

We’ve organized four working groups, each comprised of researchers and forest managers focusing on one of New Mexico’s dominant forest types (bosque, piñon-juniper, ponderosa pine, and mixed conifer/aspen). Leading up to the workshop, each working group will develop a 45-50 minute presentation about the projected impacts of climate change on their assigned forest type, including practical on-the-ground knowledge and management considerations for use by resource managers. The presentations will occur sequentially, with each followed by 30 minutes for open discussion, so all workshop attendees can participate in all sessions. The workshop will also include a plenary overview session about climate change and New Mexico's forests.

Workshop Registration

Registration for the daylong event will cost $40 before October 15 ($45 after October 15) and includes a luncheon with a guest speaker(s), morning and afternoon coffee breaks/refreshments, and a conference packet. Click here to register.

For more information about this workshop, please contact:

Howard Gross
The Forest Guild
505-983-8992, x42
howard@forestguild.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ken Smith
New Mexico Forestry & Watershed Restoration Institute, NM Highlands University
kensmith@nmhu.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Funding for the New Mexico Forestry and Climate Change Workshop is provided by the Biophilia Foundation, Thaw Charitable Trust, New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute, US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, US Forest Service Region 3, the Bureau of Land Management New Mexico State Office, and Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation.