La Mancha Wetland

The La Mancha Wetland project is located on approximately six acres of land adjacent to the Rio Grande near the Town of Mesilla. Half of the area is private land owned by the Southwest Environmental Center. The other half is federal land managed by the International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. Section.

The project is approximately two miles upstream from our previous habitat restoration project, the Picacho Wetlands, located within the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. The proximity of the two projects increases the likelihood that they collectively will restore sufficient habitat to sustain populations of native fish from year-to-year, using a "habitat bead" approach to river restoration.  This year, the primary goal of the Southwest Environmental Center, together with a grant from the State of New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps, is to restore and maintain a wildlife sanctuary for the public to view wildlife in their natural habitat. 

A previous grant from the YCC back in 2017, made an immense amount of progress on the property, which had been gaining momentum since it was first obtained back in 2010.  Photos from 2017, along with videos captured by our wildlife cameras, and further details on the project can be found by clicking on the links.  

2019 YCC Crew Members

Wetlands are known for having multifarious levels of biodiversity.  Our overall vision for La Mancha is to create a habitat and nursery for native fish, native and migratory birds, and create plenty of habitat for mammals as well as amphibians and reptiles to thrive.  A North American Beaver, or Castor canadensis, has been spotted by our wildlife cameras as well as by our crew.  Beavers are considered a keystone species within an ecosystem, as they manipulate the landscape, creating habitats for other organisms to occupy.  For more pictures and videos on the wildlife that has been spotted this year, please see the list below. 

From February to August 2019, a new YCC crew worked on cleaning up the area, removing invasive species, planting native trees and grasses, laying down and mapping out a trail system, as well as making the land more secure for the wildlife.  The crew also monitored and maintained groundwater monitoring wells, wildlife cameras, and noting the different flora and fauna to within La Mancha. Our Desert Waters Intern, Sara, as well as other volunteers have taken over these tasks to continue to maintain the wetland area.

Want to volunteer with this project?  Contact us at

Join us for a workday on October 19th & November 23rd from 8am-noon. 


La Mancha Wildlife Monitoring 2019:  (More photos and videos coming soon) 

North American Beaver (Castor canadensis)

Common Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbaianus) - an invasive species