By Joan Morrison

What/Who is the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission?

The Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission advises the Village Council and administration on issues related to the Corrales Bosque Preserve. Composed of seven members appointed by the mayor, the commission meets on the evening of the second Thursday each month, and meetings are open to the public. The commission is tasked with monitoring activities within the preserve and protecting its health.

In 1978 the Corrales Bosque Preserve was declared a protected area, and it was formally established in 1990 by the Village of Corrales Ordinance Section 11-1, which states “.… there is hereby established a Corrales Bosque Preserve, to be protected in order to preserve its natural character for the use and enjoyment of the residents of the Village in such manner as will leave it unimpaired for future use and enjoyment in its natural and protected condition.”

The preserve is a narrow strip of land containing a natural cottonwood forest and associated riparian habitats bounded by the Corrales Siphon on the north, the Alameda Boulevard bridge on the south, the western low water line of the Rio Grande on the east, and on the west by, 1) the western right of way line for the Sandoval Lateral Canal wherever the canal runs parallel to the Corrales Riverside Drain, and 2) the western right of way line for the Corrales Riverside Drain wherever the Sandoval Lateral Canal does not run parallel to the Corrales Riverside Drain (Corrales Village Code, Section 11-3).

The Corrales Riverside Drain (known as the Clear Ditch) runs the entire length of the preserve, whereas the Sandoval Lateral Canal enters the preserve just south of the Romero Road entrance at its north end and departs close to Bernaval Road and Coroval Road at its south end.

Paths in the preserve available for users include access roads along the Sandoval Lateral and the Clear Ditch and along the top of the levee as well as numerous unmaintained trails throughout the bosque.

In 2013, the Corrales Bosque Preserve was designated as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society because it provides essential habitat year-round for many species of birds.

Riparian habitat is particularly important for avian communities in the arid Southwest. The Corrales Bosque Preserve is an excellent example of relatively undisturbed riparian habitat when compared with other nearby riparian habitats along the Rio Grande.

Along with its value to many species of birds that nest or winter there, including several threatened or endangered species, the preserve is an important stop-over habitat for many migrants that pass through on their ways south and north, and it provides habitat for wintering Bald Eagles.

Each member of the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission (CBAC) has a designated section of the preserve that he or she visits regularly, walking or riding the access roads and trails looking for dangers such as trees fallen across trails, watching for fires, visiting with users, and reporting hazardous conditions and violations. This past year, the commission successfully installed dog waste stations at many entrances to the preserve, and members keep them filled with bags.

The commission is also responsible for maintaining the entrance signs and providing the public with user information. Members and other volunteers also participate in removal of invasive species, restoration projects and trash removal in the preserve. Because many Corraleños use the bosque in a variety of ways, the CBAC also coordinates with the Village’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission and the Equestrian Advisory Commission.

In early 2021, the commission developed management guidelines intended to provide direction to the Village of Corrales Governing Body, Village of Corrales staff, and the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission. These guidelines, with objectives of protecting plant and animal life, reducing pollution, conducting fire risk mitigation, promoting educational uses, and facilitating coordination with the Corrales Fire Department and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, were accepted by the Village Council in March 2021.

Recently, commission members provided data and input to the discussion regarding the proposed clearing project in the bosque.

Do you love our preserve and are you committed to its protection? Are you interested in becoming a member of the CBAC or helping with activities? If so, please contact bosqueadvisorycommission@gmail.com. More information can be found at https://www.corrales-nm.org/parksrec/page/corrales-bosque-preserve

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