Why Wetlands Matter

Why Wetlands Matter

Following is a selected project highlight from the Share with Wildlife mission to assist all New Mexico wildlife in need, no matter what species.

Sign of beaver activity on the Santa Fe River, New Mexico (Share with Wildlife)

Sign of beaver activity, Santa Fe River. (River Source)

Wetlands constitute valuable habitat for many species of wildlife in New Mexico, including several Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Wetlands also provide ecosystem services to humans. These services include improving water quality, reducing the impacts and occurrence of floods, and increasing groundwater recharge. Enhanced recharge can increase availability of water for human consumption through residential wells. The beaver (Castor canadensis) is a keystone species that can create new wetland habitat which then supports a myriad of other species including birds and amphibians.

Using funding from the Share with Wildlife program, River Source (riversource.netis taking information on these important habitats and species into classrooms in middle and high schools in northern New Mexico and giving students an opportunity to explore and survey wetlands firsthand through a series of field trips. Students are learning to identify beaver sign and collect data on a number of measures of water quality including pH, temperature, turbidity, and nutrient levels.

River Source has started off their Share with Wildlife project by visiting Cochiti Middle School in Peña Blanca, New Mexico. The students began by learning about the importance of conserving and restoring wetland habitat and the biology of beavers. They then went to the Santa Fe River and mapped out locations where they observed beaver sign and recorded information on the condition of the ecosystem.

Cochiti Middle School students sorting macro-invertebrate samples. Share with Wildlife, New Mexico

Cochiti Middle School students sorting macro-invertebrate samples. (River Source)

Cochiti Middle School students collecting data on water quality. Share with Wildlife, New Mexico

Cochiti Middle School students collecting data on water quality. (River Source)

Learn more about the non-profit Share with Wildlife program of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, supported exclusively by donations.
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