La Mancha Wetland
The La Mancha Wetland project is located on approximately three 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. The primary goal of the Southwest Environmental Center is to restore and maintain a wildlife sanctuary for the public to view wildlife in their natural habitat. Photos from construction and volunteer efforts in 2017 as well as further details on the project can be found by clicking on the links.
Wetlands are known for having multifarious levels of biodiversity and La Mancha is no different as it is home to an abundance of flora and fauna. 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 and its activity is prevalent around the site. 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 of the wildlife spotted on our wildlife cameras, please see the list at the bottom of the page.
Grants from the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) in 2017 and 2019, allowed us to hire local youths to work on and learn about the wetland. The YCC crews cleaned up the area, removed invasive species, planted native trees and grasses, laid down and mapped out a trail system, as well as made the land more secure for the wildlife. The crew also monitored and maintained groundwater monitoring wells, wildlife cameras, and noted the different flora and fauna to within La Mancha.
The wetland continues to be maintained by volunteers. In the Fall of 2019, SWEC held three very successful workdays, and plan to hold more this coming Spring. Be on the lookout for future dates!
La Mancha is a place for the community, so please go visit the site whenever you can! Bring friends, walk the trails (dogs are okay as long as they are on a leash and you pick up after them), go birding, or use the wildlife blind or benches to observe other wildlife found at the wetland.
Want to learn more or interested in volunteering? Contact us!
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