State of New Mexico > Environment Department > Surface Water Quality Bureau

Surface Water Quality Bureau
Watershed Protection
Best Management Practices
for Water Quality and Grazing Activities
on the Rangeland/Jarosa Allotment Project
United States Forest Service

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The Jarosa/Rio Puerco de Chama Riparian-Rangeland Management Project was established to reduce pollutants into the Rio Puerco de Chama, Jarosa Creek, and the Rito Redondo watersheds. This report explains the steps that were taken to protect and improve water quality in the Jarosa allotment. Since grazing is a primary source of activity in the allotment various structures or Best Management Practices (BMPs) were introduced to alleviate the grazing pressures in the allotment.

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A Trick Tank on the Jarosa Allotment BMP Project

One of the more innovative and original BMPs exploited in the project was the use of Trick Tanks.  Trick Tanks are structures that are naturally fed by rainwater or snow melt. Trick tanks should be located in grazing areas that have no access to water sources such as rivers, streams, or springs. Not only do trick tanks help in water containment and storage, but help alleviate grazing activities on riparian environments.

By placing trick tanks in waterless grazing areas wildlife and livestock are diverted away from riparian areas thereby reducing degradation of riparian zones and improving water quality in watersheds by reducing impacts to streambank stabilization, turbidity, and bacteria. The benefits are: 1) Less pressure of grazing activities in riparian zones. 2) Diverting of wildlife and livestock to unused forage areas, due to lack of water sources. 3) Reduction of fire danger from piled dry grass. The possibilities for trick tanks are endless for grazing activities. The trick tanks can be located virtually anywhere in any range and grazing area. Trick Tanks can and may seem expensive, but in the long run the benefits outweigh the cost.

This manual is intended to show those interested in grazing the benefits that will be gained using the trick tank implementation on the range. The photo documentation will address the process, which was used to implement the structures on the Jarosa Allotment of the Coyote Ranger District Santa Fe National Forest.


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