June 17th, 2014 by

By Caroline Brooks, Communications Intern

A mountain stream in Santa Fe National Park. Photo: Thomas Shahan/Flickr

A mountain stream in Santa Fe National Park.
Photo: Thomas Shahan/Flickr

National Rivers Month continues and so does our coverage of some riparian reforestation projects from the Global ReLeaf program.

In the previous post, we discussed one contribution American Forests has made to the conservation of waterways in order to sustain a species — the salmon — that relies on rivers for survival.

This year saw the start of an ongoing project in New Mexico: the Rio de las Vacas Riparian Revegetation and Watershed Improvement Project. American Forests is partnering with WildEarth Guardians to reforest 120 acres in the Santa Fe National Forest. The hope is that this vegetation will positively impact the utility of watersheds and improve the riparian ecosystem.

Plant life along the river has been depleted by animal grazing and off-roading activities, undermining stream banks and elevating water temperatures, which hurt wildlife populations in the national forest.

Planting trees around Rio de las Vacas would restore shade cover, cool the water and provide increased water filtration, benefiting both the river and the other life forms that depend on it. In turn, all of these factors would sustain life for the fish and other wildlife found in Santa Fe National Forest.

The Rio de las Vacas project is just one of many American Forests activities that protect rivers across the country. Stay tuned to Loose Leaf throughout the month to read about more of the organization’s efforts that support our waterways.