The Malpai Borderlands Group has been involved in a number of efforts aimed at improving the quality of our lands over the last 20 years. We have worked hard to develop partnerships with government agencies and scientists and experts who lead their respective fields in the research of ecosystem and land management.

We have established a technical and cost-share assistance program to help landowners put in place needed conservation projects and implement sound management practices. The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Forest Service continue to support positions within their agencies dedicated to assisting us in these endeavors.

Our watershed restoration program that has been responsible for the construction of over 5,000 hand built water harvesting structures within gullies and draws to slow down runoff, capturing sediment, establishing vegetation, and thus controlling erosion. So far, nearly 33 miles of watercourses have been treated using native materials, and we've only just begun!

To read more about this project and others we are implementing, please explore the information provided below.

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Malpai Borderlands Conservation Cost Share Projects 2023

By Don Decker, NRCS MBG Coordinator


The Malpai Borderlands Group has entered into grant agreements with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service-New Mexico and Arizona.  These grants help to fund cost share projects for certain conservation practices in the MBG area.  The monies are for projects on private lands that have a benefit to wildlife and could include creation of permanent water sources, wildlife friendly fencing, erosion control structures and/or brush management.  A 50/50 cost share between the rancher and the grant monies is used.  Six projects were completed in the past year.  2,060 feet of wildlife friendly livestock fence was installed in the San Simon Valley side of the MBG area.  This will greatly aid the ranch in its grazing rotation and deferment options.  11,856 feet of wildlife friendly livestock boundary fence was also installed on the San Simon side of the MBG area.  This replaces a decrepit, dangerous net wire fence that was there previously.  A dirt tank cleanout was completed in the upper Animas Valley.  Another dirt tank clean out was performed in the Pelloncillo Mountains.  4,292 feet of wildlife friendly livestock division fence was completed in the upper Animas Valley.  A nonfunctioning trough was replaced by a large wildlife friendly trough.  The water development improvements will help with grazing management distribution and livestock rotational options, and they will be available full time for nearby wildlife.  These improvements will greatly aide in the application of proper grazing management on these ranches along with improving livestock distribution.  Wildlife of all kinds will be benefited with more available water in the area along with better habitat connectivity created by more wildlife friendly fencing.  All these conservation practices were designed and built according to NRCS specifications. 

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Winkler/Roos Fence Project

The Winkler Ranch and Roos Ranch replaced a portion of their existing boundary fence which was mostly made up of falling down wood posts with an excessive amount of barbed wire.  The fence was dangerous to large wildlife.  The old fence was removed and replaced with an all steel, four wire fence with a high, smooth bottom wire, low top wire and wildlife friendly wire spacing in between.  The new fence will greatly aide in the cattle rotation by keeping the herds confined to their proper ranches and it will be much easier for the native wildlife including deer and bighorn sheep to cross.  The all steel fence will also allow for more flexible options in the control and use of prescribed and wild fires.  The fence replacement was 7,162 feet.  Through grant monies, the MBG was able to cover 50% of the cost. 


Krentz Pipeline and Trough Project

Well-spaced, reliable water helps to create more flexible options for the rancher to rotate cattle over the ranch.  Good water distribution allows for more even use of the grasses when the cattle are in the pasture.  The Krentz Ranch took advantage of their already existing livestock pipeline and a three way pasture fence corner, to provide more water for the livestock and wildlife on their ranch.  302 feet of buried 1 ¼” high density black plastic pipeline was installed along with three troughs which added up to 2,807 gallons of drinking water altogether.  This water will be available all year round which means that it will also benefit the local wildlife, including antelope.  All of the troughs are installed with wildlife escape ramps so that small species, including insects, can swim out if they accidentally fall in.  Because of grant monies, the MBG covered 50% of the cost with the Krentz Ranch paying for the other 50%.

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Conservation on the Cloudt Ranch

The Malpai Borderlands Group has worked with the Cloudt family to complete two important conservation projects on their ranch: 1) permanently protecting the ranch from subdivision with a conservation easement and 2) replacing over 8 miles of old hazardous livestock boundary fence with new all-steel "wildlife-friendly" fence.

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Watershed Improvement Project

Through grant monies, the MBG has been able to install thousands of loose rock structures in order to redirect erosional processes and improve water infiltration.  This work is still being carried out, primarily by the Douglas Wildland Fire Crew during the wildfire off season (winter).  The material used is rock and brush trimmings on hand.  The intended result is to slow the flow of water, capture eroded sediment and ultimately grow more grass. Many of the runoff problems in the Malpai area were initially started by old roads and trails. Most of this work has been carried out in the San Bernardino watershed with the intent to improve the associated riparian areas and artesian stream flows found near and within the US Fish and Wildlife Service San Bernardino Refuge. 

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