MHCD Aquifer Recovery and the Future of Ag SLV Project Receives Additional Funding

The Mosca-Hooper Conservation District has been awarded grant funding to assist with its multi-faceted ,project ,to support Aquifer Recovery and the Future of Agriculture in the San Luis Valley. 

In partnership with its fiscal sponsor Soil Carbon Coalition, the Mosca-Hooper Conservation District received a combined $27,544 from the Calhoun/Christiano Family Fund, an advised fund of the Community Foundation for San Benito County and from Richard Rainaldi and Martha Records, and $9,500 from the New Belgium Family Foundation. , This funding will support overall project coordination, field and soil observations and the purchase of a compost extractor to evaluate the utility of static-pile compost as starter material for extraction and evaluation.

The first component of the Aquifer Recovery and Future of Agriculture in the San Luis Valley Project addresses aquifer recovery and includes pilot-scale work to map depths from 5 feet to 40 feet below soil surface to locate site-specific locations where recharge has the greatest potential. Previous grant funding from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado State Conservation Board, Rio Grande Water Conservation District and Miller Coors was awarded for the aquifer mapping component.

The second component, addresses soil health, is farmer-centered and includes a large-scale static compost pile which will yield high-fungal compost to be applied to 500 acres in late summer/fall and in some cases paired with cover cropping in order to study its impact on agriculture soils.

The third component addresses data observations, collection, analysis and interpretation and the fourth component features communication, cooperation and collaboration by sharing interactive, accessible, digital mapping of time-series data on landscape function with water managers, landowners and public citizens. These combined efforts will result in a greater understanding of regenerative agriculture in the region.

The Mosca-Hooper Conservation District has partnered with Dr. Kate Zeigler, owner of Zeigler Geologic Consulting LLC, a consulting business based in Albuquerque, NM specializing in groundwater resource management for agricultural areas, to perform the aquifer mapping study and with 16 commercial-scaled farmers to participate in the static compost study. Additional partners will be secured as the project progresses over the next two years.

Mosca-Hooper Conservation District is a special district within the State of Colorado responsible for facilitating natural resource conservation opportunities for landowners within Alamosa County. The District’s efforts at incentivizing soil and water conservation and soil health building practices are long-standing. , The District also works alongside farmers and ranchers in the region to implement voluntary conservation efforts and regenerative farming practices. Mosca-Hooper Conservation District is a member of the Rio Grande Watershed Association of Conservation Districts, and financially supports the educational work of the Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative (RGWCEI), and the advocacy and education work of the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts (CACD) and the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) around soil health and watershed stewardship.

Each of the above organizations assists the District to inform a broader audience of landowners, policy makers, and members of the general public about our soil health and watershed stewardship efforts.