Since the launch of the San Juan – Chama Watershed Partnership (SJCWP) in 2014, Chama Peak Land Alliance (CPLA) has served as the de facto executive director. In spring 2017, CPLA underwent a significant staff transition that provided an opportunity to change the leadership structure of the SJCWP to focus on broader watershed partners, although CPLA remains the fiscal agent for the Partnership.
The Partnership is now led by a rotating chair position. The chairmanship position rotates every two years between members of the Partnership’s Advisory Group, which is to be composed of representatives from founding and other key partners. Members of the partnership hold voting power to elect additional advisory board members as needed. Advisory Group members retain voting power on key decisions for the partnership. This will provide a more sustainable and equitable structure that is less reliant on a single organization. Mary Stuever with New Mexico State Forestry is currently the acting chair for the partnership.
From 2016 through spring of 2019, the CPLA is partnering with the Bureau of Reclamation to host the first San Juan Chama – Watershed Partnership DOI/VISTA Volunteer. VISTA is a national AmeriCorps program focused on poverty reduction in communities throughout the United States. VISTA Volunteers work to increase the organizational capacity of the nonprofits, tribal and local governments in which they work implementing programs that last beyond their term as volunteers.
During the year-long position, the VISTA promotes the resiliency and restoration goals of the region through his or her on-the-ground presence in Chama, New Mexico working to engage individuals and support the efforts of the San Juan – Chama Watershed Partnership, the Chama Peak Land Alliance, and the Bureau of Reclamation as a whole. The VISTA also works to secure funding through grant applications for additional training and funding avenues for the Partnership.
Acting Chair for the Partnership – Mary Stuever, NM State Forestry, Chama District
Mary has served as District Forester for the Chama District of NM State Forestry since 2010. She has a B.S. in Forest Management from Oklahoma State University, and a M.S. in Biology (Fire Ecology) from the University of New Mexico. As Acting Chair, Mary provides oversight for Partnership programs, general outreach to partners, and the fostering of new membership. Mary works closely with the SJCWP’s AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer in planning outreach events and seeking additional funding for the Partnership.
AmeriCorps DOI/VISTA Volunteer
Year 1 – Will Donahoo
Will served as the Partnership VISTA from May 2016 to April 2017. Will grew up in Albuquerque, NM and received his B.A. in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico. In his time as the VISTA Volunteer, Will actively sought funding to further the Partnership and its mission. He also worked closely with the Partnership’s sponsoring organization, the CPLA, in outreach to Rio Arriba County to develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. With the completion of his year of service, Will has gone on to work for Adelante Consulting, specifically working on their Biomass initiatives in Sandoval County, NM.
Year 2 – Emma Kelly
Emma is the current San Juan – Chama Watershed Partnership VISTA Volunteer serving in a joint venture between the Chama Peak Land Alliance and the Bureau of Reclamation. She was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM and grew up camping, hiking, skiing, and enjoying northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where her senior thesis work focused on watershed health and storm water management. Emma has aided the Partnership in seeking and applying for additional funding opportunities and planning the annual Congreso forum.
Year 3 – TBD, we’re hiring!
Interested in becoming the next VISTA? Apply online here!