Galisteo Basin

SFCT Focal Area

Galisteo Basin, photo by Billy Johnson

Conserved Land

30 conservation easements, 7,900 acres

Description & History

The Galisteo Basin is celebrated for its spectacular scenic, wildlife, and cultural resources. It is a vibrant eco-system characterized by piñon-juniper woodland, dry savannah grasslands, and arroyo-riparian plant communities. It is a storehouse of material culture for generations of ancient and modern peoples, extending back more than 7,000 years. It is this richness of culture and wildlife, coupled with its raw natural beauty that makes the Galisteo Basin and critical region to protect.

Within the Basin is the Galisteo Basin Preserve (GBP), a large-scale, community stewardship initiative spearheaded by Commonweal Conservancy. Designed to permanently protect more than 12,000 acres of open space, wildlife habitat, and cultural resources in the Galisteo Basin, the Galisteo Basin Preserve is considered a “keystone property” in the region; inappropriate subdivision into widely distributed, large-lot “ranchettes” would irreparably compromise the region’s scenic, wildlife habitat, water, historic, cultural, and traditional economic values. SFCT now holds conservation easements on 3,655 acres of the GBP and plans on receiving an additional 8,000 + acres in the future.

“Galisteo Watershed Conservation Initiative – Quality of Life at a Crossroads” presents a thorough overview of the cultural and natural history and potential of the Galisteo Basin. Santa Fe Conservation Trust, Earth Works Institute, and EarthAnalytic, Inc. worked for more than six years with Santa Fe County and many other public agencies, non-governmental organizations, residents, and UNM to produce the report with core funding from the New Mexico Legislature. The report describes in words, illustrations, and maps the potential for creating a “green infrastructure”–a mosaic and network of natural lands–in the Galisteo Basin and between the Basin and its surrounding ecoregions in New Mexico.

The Santa Fe Conservation Trust and nineteen landowner partners protect 7,900 acres in the Galisteo Watershed.