Minutes - Conservation Committee

Conservation Committee Meeting Minutes

June 4, 2019

Attending: Carol Beidleman, Paul Butt, Thomas Bredenberg, Tom Brimacombe (Vice Chair), Jim Daniel, John Parker (Chair), Elizabeth Maclaren (ECIA Liaison), Mark Young (HOAMCO representative)

  • Approval of agenda; Tom Bredenberg motion to approve, Jim Daniel 2nd
  • Appointment of recording secretary: Tom Bredenberg
  • Approval of the May minutes: approved with final changes 05-11-2019 Motion Jim Daniel 2nd Carol Beidleman
  • Excused absences: Mary Clark, Introduction of guests: John Oberhausen, John Reynolds
  • Report from the Board Liaison; Elizabeth reported that the ECIA now has a full board with the seating of Nancy Sulzberg. Ad hoc committees and task forces are reviewing by-laws, environmental stewardship committee., welcome packet, fire mitigation, drone policy task force, dark skies, accessory dwelling. The stable water system replacement will be expensive.  Finance committee reports that ECIA will need to replenish its reserves, assessment increase likely. Committee budgets are due in August
  • HOAMCO report — report on drone task force, educational component, designated area, Compadres Park, e.g., vandalism at Compadres Park. Pool renovation is progressing slowly. Due to commitments to these task forces Mark Young will no longer be our rep and Mike Rogers will be attending our next meeting.


  • Open Forum, John Oberhausen (Obie) of the Cactus Rescue Project  wants to remove the cages on SF cholla project (last year’s planting off 101) with the State Botanist on 06-25-2019. Seeking our permission, will also get permission from Ms. Chapman to drive through her property. Cages currently not visible due to vegetation growth. Jim Daniel motion to allow, Paul Butt 2nd with assurance they will not to drive on the Preserve when it is muddy. They will also start the Eldorado garden tour again, 1st year only cactus gardens, scheduled for 06-05-2020. Is seeking Conservation Committee’s support for first year only, which we will. On 06-25-2019 at 6:00 there will be the first meeting at the ECIA conference room to begin planning next year’s cactus garden tour.
  • Library Trail completion: see attached map. Paul Butt, mowing done and mowing flags removed, 2 spots need blade work east of the dam. Parker will follow up with Julie. SW Mountain surveys will finish the surveying west of the dam and we need to be present to document the locations on GPS and PVC pipe markers. Social trails trespassing Valencia Loop, Mariano Road area. $5K budgeted for the survey, cost with be $2K. Schedule survey and HOAMCO for August. Notify all lot owners prior. Post closed for restoration signs. John Reynolds cautioned to keep social trails open until permanent trail is firmly established. Paul Butt will draft action plan for communication with lot owners with feedback to Mark. Should be a win-win for all concerned. Tom Brimacombe reported the Melado trail has also been mowed.
  • Review and discussion of Landscape Practices Document: Obie will circulate and provide his group’s feedback. Mark will follow up with Karen Murray. John Parker got some feedback from Cheri Payne.
  • Holian Ranch Tour 05-16-2019: We visited several areas on the ranch that had been restored using rock structures, with which we are familiar, and palisade dam/branch mat restoration (see 404 below), filter dams, and log step downs.

Preserve Trail work schedule JWJ projects and committee work days

         - 401 head cut remediation project status: We contacted PNM and the easement agreement is in force for two more years. Need to hire equipment contractors, $5K maximum without going through the procurement process, schedule this work for autumn.

          - 404 meadow head cut project: (See JW’s Trail 404 Gully and Meadow Treatment Plans, attached) Oscar’s has the best posts for palisades, 26 x 6’ and 5’, Paul will work it out with Julie and he and John Parker will check out the posts, buy and store at ECIA. Upstream brush mats should be laid prior to palisades, rock rundowns. Member recon, scheduled for 06-21-19 and volunteer day 06-22-19. Publicity will be released 06-14-2019 (Next door, email blast, marquee). 08-10-2019 volunteer day with JW, late July 07-19, or 08-05 preliminary Committee members only

  • New Business; Trail width maintenance safety v. fire mitigation in the greenbelts, particularly Gallina, Los Alamos Park, Library Trail.   New hires for lifeguards (pool attendants) could work clearing trails with committee supervision, Mike Rogers has trail building experience.   Fire mitigation is a bigger topic. Standing dead and tumble weeds on fence lines could be a problem later in the summer. We must be honest about our limitations as a committee; control burns are out, goats are out. Sparks from gas powered mowers and trimmers limit their use in the greenbelts. We do not have the resources to do more than make recommendations based on current literature. We need to have some more informed discussions, maybe contract it out to someone with an ecological perspective.
  • Adjournment: next meeting Tuesday, July 2, 2019 at 7:00 PM.

Conservation Committee Meeting Minutes, May 7, 2019

Attending: John Parker (Chair), Jim Daniel, Tom Bredenberg, Tom Brimacombe (Vice Chair), Mary Clark, Elizabeth Maclaren (ECIA Board Liaison), Mark Young (representative of HOAMCO), Carol Beidleman (recording secretary)

The meeting was called to order by Chair John Parker at 7:03 p.m.
1. Approval of Agenda: Approved on motion of Tom Bredenberg, Jim Daniel second.

2. Appointment of recording secretary: Carol Beidleman volunteered to record minutes for the meeting.
3. Approval of the April minutes: Approved on motion of Tom Bredenberg, Tom Brimacombe second.

4. Excused absences and introduction of guests: Paul Butt is excused. Guests included Betsy Walker, John Reynolds, Paul Fink, Andra Nyman, Justin Robison, and John McCarthy.

5. Report from the Board Liaison: Elizabeth Maclaren said there is a new Board member, David Sorkin, and another person was interviewed today. There were lots of items on the Board meeting agenda: approved new stable rules (with fines); pool update; David McDonald and Elizabeth Maclaren found common ground in discussing the proposed civil conduct policy, and together wrote the ECIA Community Standards for Communication (see May Vistas); discussed recall petition for David McDonald (see May Vistas); re ECIA Drone Task Force (Mark Young is on it, trying to come up with recommendations); and website work by ECIA Information Committee (Courtney Handy resigned, replaced by Ashley Springer). Elizabeth worked with Julie Navarro and other HOAMCO employees Leonard, Joey, and Angelo to chip (mostly) Siberian elm on Saturday; Mark said he will be using the wood chips as mulch around the ECIA grounds. The stables have asked for $125,000 to redo a broken water system.

Additions to Agenda: Carol added a brief discussion of the new Environmental Stewardship Committee, after reading in the May Vistas that the former Environmental Advisory Ad-Hoc Committee was dissolved and a standing Environmental Stewardship Committee was created, with their charter approved (not on ECIA website yet). Carol wondered what the purview of this new committee was and how their work might overlap with that of the Conservation Committee. Elizabeth said they are promoting green building, working on pesticides, etc. She will send CC members their charter.

6. HOAMCO report: Mark Young said Ashley Springer was new, as the Community Relations & Events Coordinator, otherwise same staff. The pool will open 7/4; the new pool manager is Mike Rogers (worked at hardware store).

7. Participation in upcoming events (Explora, Garden Fair, Earth Day, MTB): Regarding the MTB race, John Parker wondered if the Board had heard from the race coordinator. They had talked about using one of the Greenbelt trails, but may have chosen an alternate area. It is coming up this month. Mark Young will check on the status and report back.

Open Forum:
John Reynolds: The Melado trail [=the Biblioteca trail which runs between Avenida Torreon (across from the Senior Center) to Melado Drive] is 6” wide and needs to be mowed. He’s not sure if a gas mower is acceptable; can HOAMCO staff do it? John Parker said we had recommended mowing once a year and this is usually not our growing season, but there has been more moisture. Mark Young said there is no prohibition on using a gas mower. John Reynolds said there is a company that has a battery-powered mower (walk behind, weed trimmer on wheels), and Tom Bredenberg said it is quieter and not polluting. Mark Young asked John Reynolds to send him an email regarding that mower.

Andra Nyman: Just interested in trail maintenance.

Justin Robison (The Housing Trust), and John McCarthy (La Pradera): Mark Young suggested they come to this meeting. They said The Housing Trust owns 121 acres, which they have had for 15 years, contiguous to the Eldorado Community Preserve, and they are trying to figure out what to do with it. [Note: This parcel is north of the northern sections of the 101 and 301; see attached map.] They want to monetize that land, but be good neighbors. They would like whoever purchases this land to have legal access to our Preserve, for walking access/horses, as this would enhance its saleability, and asked about whether this could be possible. They were told that since this property is not in Eldorado, it would not be possible. Their asking price is negotiable and they would like to get back their historical cost, but it would be about $600,000. Mary Clark asked if EAWSD might be a possibility, for the water. Jim Daniel said there are all kinds of restrictions including not allowing nonresidents to use the land, even though we don’t enforce it. The sellers wanted to know if we wanted to change that law so anyone could use it. Mark Young said if someone has a lot in Eldorado and is paying assessments, they could use the amenities, including the Preserve. A trade might be possible. Carol Beidleman suggested they provide a brief written description, to be shared with possible interested entities like Santa Fe County (protecting contiguous land) or Santa Fe Conservation Trust, etc. John Parker said he appreciated not subdividing this area, but is unable to render a decision; he asked for a copy of the deed restrictions. The real issue is that they want the legal ability to cross the boundary and walk/ride in the Preserve.

8. Library Trail completion (Hire equipment operator? Are known boundaries adequate to blade entire length?): Paul Butt had the surveys done. Tom Brimacombe said we need an operator with tractor and blade. Jan-Willem Jansens (JWJ) gave us the name of a contact who would be willing to work on the 401; see the April 2 minutes (Gary Bates, first choice; Jeremiah Kidd, backup choice). Mark Young said there was no project manager (Russell Winslow, only for the pool). Elizabeth Maclaren said they are trying to find someone to replace Mike Bullock. Mark Young said the new person, Joey, knows how to drive Kubota. Tom Brimacombe said it would be nice to do in-house, although John Parker thought contractors would be more beholden. Mark Young said HOAMCO might pay to help out. Tom Brimacombe thought it would be good if Committee members would be on scene, with guidance. Elizabeth MacLaren thought Julie Navarro from HOAMCO wouldn’t object to having Committee members supervise the operator. Tom Brimacombe estimated we would need somebody for half a day. Mark Young will talk to Julie, about the Kubota and blade. John Parker offered to come with one HOAMCO employee, and wanted to have this work down before the rainy season (and per John Reynolds, before school starts again).

9. Review and discussion of Landscape Practices Document: John Parker needs to shop this around; he ran it by a Master Gardener and it needs work. He asked if this might fall under the purview of the new Environmental Stewardship Committee (Chair, Karen Murry). It wasn’t a how-to, what we really want, just informational. He mentioned that people can create a berm on their property, but they should stabilize it with native plantings, and there is a list of recommended plants from the Architecture Committee. He prefers not to invest a lot of our time on it. Mark Young will send the documents to Karen.

10. Preserve Trail work schedule [JWJ projects and committee work days]:
-Work day on 401 bypass, and remaining rock work on 404
-401 head cut remediation project status
On April 13th a small group worked hard on the 404, including Justin Poehnelt. Tom Bredenberg said the corridor is clear, you can follow the flags. Tom Brimacombe did grubbing at the south end, and all that is left now is some more grubbing; we need to send in crews from both the north and the south until they meet. John Parker said there is one gully crossing (4’ deep) with a steep bank. He’d be willing to help. Tom Brimacombe said we don’t need JWJ for this extension bypass trail; if we had 6 people could get a lot done. The date for this work was set for Wednesday, May 15th to meet at ECIA at 8:30 a.m.; probably can finish by 1 p.m. We need to grub tufted grass, with McLeods, and create some one-rock dams (or can do later), for the 401 bypass work. John Reynolds will try to come. We received a hiker compliment that it was a really nice trail, a good addition. Tom Brimacombe put up green stake signs on both ends, and they work well. John Reynolds said they are simple but clear. John Parker said we should redo the Preserve map in the fall. John Reynolds said PNM has been driving on the 404 in areas that are not in their right of way. Carol Beidleman suggested John Parker talking to PNM to prevent that detrimental activity in the future.
We still have work on the 404 rock work in Cougar Canyon; we need to get a group out to decide on the wash crossing. John Parker thought we also need some more one-rock dams (marked on map sent by email), which would take about a half day of work plus time hiking in. The date for this work was set for Saturday, June 1st to meet at ECIA at 8:30a.m. There was no discussion on the 401 head cut remediation project status.

11. Visit to Holian Ranch: This visit is scheduled for Thursday, May 9th, meeting at ECIA at 1:30 p.m. for carpooling. The site is past Trailhead 4 on the County Road up on top of the mesa. The purpose of this tour is to see some erosion control work JWJ did that we could apply on the 404 meadow where the head cut is. Rain predictions may cause a postponement.

Old business – PNM Notification: John Parker and Mark Young met with PNM’s contact, Tom Dominguez, about the remediation of the 401 head cut near the 403 junction, since PNM has a right of way through this part of the trail. Tom, who is the regional rep for PNM for northern NM, assured us that he was going to talk to his superiors and would get back to us, and we gave him copy of JWJ’s proposal (without budget page). He wanted to see a copy of the agreement with PNM, which has a 5-year term. He would like to come out with others at PNM and look at the site. We would need their input on the remediation project before we went further. JWJ has contacted the person who is willing to do this work. John Parker said the only other question is if they have grant money to help defer part of the cost; nothing has been firmed up. We had some assurances that we could pay part of it out of the budget, and because it is a two-year budget we could add more next year. Mark Young suggested we contact Tom Dominguez again soon.

Old business–Amelia Adair’s (Stable Committee Chair) request for new trail
Mary Clark met with Amelia and was shown the two projects requests related to horse trails. The first problem is crossing 285. There is a property right on the edge of 285 at the entrance of Avenida Eldorado that goes almost all the way to Vista Grande that would give them access, away from but north of the stables and about 50’ wide. Mary said the need is for a direct approach; there is a bridge on Vista Grande where it would require cutting away chamisa, and coming through this other way would make it more convenient. There is a portion to the north which are private stables, owned by someone from Kansas. The idea would be that stables people could ride north on the western side of 285 and then cross at the light. Mark Young thought the property in question was owned by NMDOT and is a right of way, so suggested the Stable Committee would have to contact the NMDOT office on Cerrillos Road.
Mary Clark also talked about Amelia’s request for a new trail near Highway 51. She said on 51 there are two parking lots, and they prefer trailhead 2 but it is difficult to cross to the 300 trailhead. There is a social trail opposite trailhead 2, which if improved would allow horses to ride up on edge of the preserve, then they could go back to 301, making it less of a social trail. John Parker rejected this out of hand, as we don’t like creating more crossings, even though the one we have is not ideal, with an unstable slope, and we recognize the need for better space to put a trailer. John Reynolds suggested instead of crossing the road, they could ride along the 201 trail from parking lot 2 to parking lot 3, which we could improve. John Parker said we have a good trail between those parking lots, and we don’t want horse riders to go along the road or encourage more crossings. The land along the west side of 51 is unstable, so creating a trail on that side may not endure. He asked Mary to tell them about the existing alternatives that they could use.

Old Business –Jim Daniel’s status of the signs: Tom Brimacombe talked to David at Fast Signs; it is easier to go with a whole order. We have noted the 200 trails (just a little faded), and Jim Daniel said the 400 trails will need new signs, and the 300 and 100 trail signs could need improvements because they are faded. John Parker said we could get more of the numbered stickers for junctions, as a temporary remedy, and can just put fresh dots on until new signs are ready to be made.

There was a motion to adjourn (ca. 9:05 p.m.) by Jim Daniel, second by Tom Bredenberg.


Conservation committee minutes April 2, 2019


John Parker, Paul Butt Tom Brimacombe, Mary Clark, Jim Daniel, Mark Young and Elizabeth McLaren


Tom Bredenberg and Carol Beidleman


Jan Willem Jansens, Paul Fink and Joan Shankin

Recording secretary: Jim Daniel

The meeting was called to order at 7 PM by John Parker

The agenda was approved on motion by Paul Butt and Jim Daniel

March minutes were approved on motion by Paul Butt and Jim Daniel

Report from The Board Liaison

The resignation of Mike Bullock, Russell Winslow has been appointed as acting project manager until a permanent replacement can be found. The big item is the pool and cisterns, back splash, and infrastructure in the Community Building which is projected to cost about $685,000.

Presentation by Jan Willem Jansens – remediation of the 401 trail Head cut near the 403 junction.

We need to stabilize the head cut on the trail and the head cut on the west side of the dike. To do that we need to control the water flow on the trail. There’s about 12.8 feet of elevation difference over the 390 feet of trail that needs to be Address slope in this area is around 3.5%.

A big rainstorm would produce a flow of water of about 15 ft.³ per second. Remediation would be planned over two years carried out with a series of berms across the trail and a rock run off in the trail head cut with a series of one rock dams below the rock runoff. Deadfall will be cleared above the trail head cut to allow water to exit the trail. Rock will be used on the hill side next to the trail to slow water coming from the hill side. In addition, the Plug and Spread technique will be used which entails the creation of wide berms in two locations across the trail. The berms will be a couple feet wide and only about 4 inches high.

The second-year would be used to remediate these head cut on the west side of the dike. A  filter dam will be constructed. In additions bays will be constructed behind the dam to increase water storage behind it. Logistics and cost of this project were discussed required equipment would include a Bobcat. An outside operator of the equipment would be hired. First choice for this operator would be Gary Bates and a backup choice would be Jeremiah Kidd.

It was decided that John Parker with either call PNM or in some way contact them and let them know about this project since they have a right of way through this part of the trail. This could possibly result in some financial support for the project from PMN. John Parker will report in one week by email about the results of this outreach.

Jan Willem suggested that we tour a similar project that he has successfully completed on Rowe Mesa sometime in the month of April.

Guest – Joan Shankin -

Joan reported on the Greenbelt trail which is accessed opposite Joya Court. She wanted to know whether this is private property since of the neighboring houses has put personal items in this space. The ECIA greenbelt map shows this as part of the Pueblo Canyon Greenbelt and this was verified on the county assessor’s map which again shows this is common ECIA property.   The one of the property owner’s is in violation of ECIA regulations.

Hoamco Report – Mark Young.

Mark reminded the CC members that Earth Day is April 22 from 10-2. Road Cleanup day is Sat April 27th. There is no new information on the kid’s MTB race beyond what was discussed at last meeting.

Library Trail update

Paul Butt said the property markers adjacent to the trail have been surveyed and corners marked at 11 points (pink and blue tape) by Southwest Mountain Survey for $498.81. One marker is missing but can be found by stretching a string between existing makers and using the metal detector.

Items 10 and 11 were skipped because of the absence of CC member who could best discuss these issues

Old Business New signs and maps – Tom Brimacombe indicated he would work with Fast Signs to complete these signs. Jim D said he would survey the status of the signs in the 101 section of the preserve.

New business – Tom Brimacombe was appointed new vice chair for the next three months (April 2nd to June 2nd). Jim D pointed out that deadfall is blocking the 101 trail near the Galisteo overlook. Paul Fink indicated he would attempt to remove the dead tree.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 PM


Conservation Committee Meeting Minutes

March 5, 2019

Attending: Members Carol Beidleman, Paul Butt (vice chair), Tom Brimacombe, Mary Clark, Thom Bredenberg, Jim Daniel, John Parker (Chair), Elizabeth Maclaren (Board liaison) Mark Young (HOAMCO liaison)

In celebration of Mardi Gras, Elizabeth graciously provided a delicious N’awlins King Cake with proper silver and crockery.  The Committee’s gratitude is hereby reflected.

  1. Approval of agenda, Paul Butt motion to approve, Jim Daniel second
  1. Appointment of recording secretary, Thom Bredenberg volunteered 
  1. Approval of the February minutes, Thom Bredenberg motion to approve, Jim Daniel second
  1. Excused/unexcused absences (none) and Introduction of guests/open forum.  Jean Crawford, Xubi Wilson, John Paull, Betsy Walker

Discussion of arroyo treatment @ Gavilan Rd; Jean Crawford contacted the Committee that some neighbors were seeking permission to place some cut juniper branches to treat a head cut of about 20 feet width.  The community garden had previously placed garden waste in the same location for the same purpose. Paul Butt said starving the head cut upstream is the preferred head cut treatment.  John Parker cautioned ECIA should not become involved in dumping anything in greenbelt. Tom Brimacombe cautioned nothing should be placed where it could possibly block a downstream culvert and flood the road.  The Committee concluded it was ok to authorize it this time but that the first choice for disposing of cut branches should be the 285 transfer station, which does accept green waste but charges for it.

  1. Report from the Board Liaison; Major Board news is the pool renovation and water leakage at the stables. The Board approved the Committee’s Trail standards and SOP. We will proceed to have them posted on the web site and John will mention it the next Vistas.
  1. HOAMCO report —Ecotone contract: No work can be scheduled for the 401 head cut treatment or the 404 meadow site assessment until the Scope of Work document is executed by all parties.  Paul will forward the revised SOW to Mark for David McDonald’s signature.  When the SOW is properly executed Paul will contact Jan Willem Jensen to complete the 401 head cut treatment plan for consideration at the next Committee meeting. A site assessment of the 404 meadow can also be scheduled once the SOW is fully executed. 
  1. Participation in upcoming events (Explora, Garden Fair, Earth Day, Kids' MTB race)

Thom Bredenberg reported on tending the Committee’s booth at the 03-02-2019 ECIA sponsored Garden Fair. Jan Willem’s Power Point presentation on the wetland restoration and trails and the draft Landscape Practices were projected. Cuttings of invasive/eruptive species in the Preserve; tamarisk, willow and Russian olive were also on display. Maps of the Preserve and the Greenbelts were available and many people asked about updated signs and maps showing the 404 and other new trails.  Spoke with Trond about possible summer Explora youth activities including tamarisk identification and control in the Preserve and possible use as a weaving material, nature photography and wildlife cameras.  Paul and Carol urged caution in handling the tamarisk cuttings to prevent further propagation, e.g., harvest weaving canes prior to flowering and clean up all cuttings.  Elizabeth provided a reference to an indigenous weaver at IAIA.  For Earth Day we decided we can participate as individuals but not as a committee.  MTB race: John and Paul met with Mike Snyder and he will write up a proposal for submission to the Board if he wishes to pursue this activity.  Safety of the riders and condition of the trails and greenbelts are the Committee’s paramount concerns.  The Pueblo Canyon (the Pilot) trail would be safest and least erodible but was not designed for competitive cycling. Gallinas Park, which is a flood plain, would not be appropriate.

  1. Library Trail completion, surveying status update

 Paul talked to Mike Bullock today and sent him the revised site map of the first greenbelt area (accessible from Cuesta Lane and Torreon Place) to be surveyed.   Paul will start making calls and get quotes and will distribute information to Committee. We will concentrate first on this area; verify property boundaries, re-route and groom the trail where appropriate and repair the damage of previous efforts. At that point we can evaluate the project so far and proceed west.

  1. Status of New Trail Procedures document: Carol will send it out to the committee for review and will then submit it to Elizabeth for approval by the Board
  1. Review and discussion of Landscape Practices Document.  Carol will send the entire set of documents to the Committee for review and further discussion at our next meeting, including possible review by an outside party, e.g., Master Gardeners 
  1. Preserve Trail work schedule, JWJ projects and Committee work days:  As soon as Ecotone SOW is fully executed, we will schedule a site visit on the 404 meadow.  We scheduled Saturday April 13th as the next community work day.  We will get out the necessary publicity and at our next meeting decide the scope of the project, likely finishing the 401 bypass associated with the 401 head cut treatment.
  1. Old business; Preserve and greenbelt trails are drying from a moist winter but are still too muddy in places for either recreation or maintenance. Dog feces on the trails and trailheads, bagged and otherwise, are still a problem. No one reports evidence of horses damaging muddy trails this winter.
  1. New Business: Todd Handy asked if we could use the broken concrete from the pool deck demolition.  We decided it is not appropriate for rip rap downstream of culverts discharging into the green belts or for any of our projects in greenbelts or in the Preserve.   Associated Asphalt might want it.

John Parker brought up John Reynolds’ vision of walkability, well documented and discussed at previous meetings. The former GUTS (Grand Unified Trail System) which is now GUSTO (Grand Unified System of Trails) is active again. There also seems to be more community demand for recreational opportunities in the undeveloped spaces.  There will likely be a county-wide public trail system in the future and the Committee will need to consider the trail system we want within our jurisdiction and how the trails we plan and maintain will fit into that greater system.