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Acequia Career Day – March 4, 2021

Acequia Career Day!

Thursday March 4th, 2021 from 4:00-6:00pm

Online using Zoom or phone (registration link below)

New Mexico youth are invited to join an exciting ACEQUIA CAREER DAY event! This gathering will include presentations by inspiring experts and leaders who work in many diverse ways to protect NM acequia waters and acequia culture and traditions – such as acequia commissioners and mayordomos, historians, documentarians and storytellers, political advocates, lawyers, artists, musicians and poets, farmers and ranchers, herbal medicine makers and food business owners, scientists, caretakers of forests and soil, and more! List of featured presenters, coming soon.

After the main panel, youth participants will be able to choose which career and livelihood paths interest them, and go into small groups to ask questions, dig in deeper, and brainstorm about how they can get involved in this work now and in the future!

This event is designed for middle school, high school and college aged youth, but is open to all ages and to families.
Email emily@lasacequias.org or call (505) 995-9644 with questions.

Upcoming Event – Acequias and Science: A Community Conversation, January 14

Thursday January 14 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Online via Zoom or phone

Join the New Mexico Acequia Association and New Mexico State University for a workshop connecting communities with acequia research to help mayordomos, commissioners, and parciantes understand scientific results and real-world implications.
The workshop will include research presentations about the newly released book “Acequias of the Southwestern United States: Elements of Resilience in a Coupled Natural and Human System” (click here to download the book), a Q&A, and a community-oriented discussion about future acequia research that can better address stakeholder need.

Una Tardeada Acequiera – New Year’s Eve

Una Tardeada Acequiera

New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2020

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm


A “tardeada” is an afternoon/evening gathering, a beautiful way to spend the “tarde” or the latter part of the day. Join us to connect with friends from the acequias who work together all year long to be caretakers of our precious waters and to imagine what the coming year might hold for us. We will connect in between

Music and Versos by our beloved Vicente Griego and David Garcia.

If anyone else wishes to share art, words, or music, email paula@lasacequias.org.


Register here https://forms.gle/6fUHeayMoFUBErvMA  to get the Zoom link and phone number.

Photo credit: Donatella Davanzo


2020 Acequia Art & Photo Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who submitted fantastic art, photography, videos and poetry to the 2020 Acequia Art and Photo Contest! Special thanks go to the students from Peñasco Elementary, Middle and High School who joined the contest as part of their art class!

We are pleased to announce our winners!

Youth Photo:

1st Prize – Alyson Archuleta, Chamisal, Acequia de Abajo
2nd Prize – Joshua Roberts, Chimayo, Acequia Martinez Arriba
3rd Prize tie –  Ignacio Gonzales, Chamisal, Acequia del Monte
3rd Prize tie – Dominique Martinez, Peñasco

Youth Art:

1st Prize – Anastacia Santistevan, Canon de Taos, Acequia Madre del Sur del Río Don Fernando de Taos
2nd Prize – Lylie Vigil, Peñasco

3rd Prize tie – Elaine Mitchell, Peñasco
3rd Prize tie – Simona Santistevan, Canon de Taos, Acequia Madre del Sur del Río Don Fernando de Taos

Adult Photo:

1st Prize – Charles Gabaldon, Peralta, La Joya Community Ditch
2nd Prize- Miguel Santistevan, Canon de Taos, Acequia Madre del Sur del Río Don Fernando de Taos

3rd Prize – Arnold Vigil, Nambé, Acequia de la Comunidad

Adult Art:

1st Prize – Alessandra Ogren, Peñasco
-2nd Prize – Emilio Arellano, Taos, Acequia Madre del Rio Grande

3rd Prize- Floyd Archuleta, Arroyo Seco

Plan For The Future – USDA Programs For Your Farm Or Ranch

The NMAA is pleased to announce our Acequia Farmer and Rancher Outreach project which is a partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide support to farmers and ranchers with their operations; provide training workshops to new and beginning farmers and ranchers; and support more participation in USDA programs with one-on-one technical assistance. 

During the Fall and Winter, it is a good time for producers to plan ahead for next year in terms of improvements you would like to implement on your farms or ranches. These include conservation practices that can improve soil health, water conservation, and overall viability of your operations. USDA programs can also be used to fund season extension practices on your farm such as high tunnels (a type of greenhouse). This month, our focus is on conservation programs through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). 

Do you want financial and technical support to:

– Enhance your soil and sequester more carbon?

– Improve your irrigation infrastructure?

– Extend your growing season with a high tunnel?

– Implement any other improvements on your farm or ranch?

Some of the programs that are of most interest to acequia parciantes include:

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Through EQIP, NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls ‘conservation practices’.  Using these practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations.  

Through EQIP, NRCS co-invests in these practices with you through a cost share program in which NRCS will reimburse the producer for a portion of the cost. Some common conservation practices include irrigation systems (gated pipe, subsurface irrigation, drip irrigation), leveling of fields, planting cover crops, planting pollinator-friendly crops, managing soil erosion, etc. Starting with the 2018 Farm Bill, acequias and land grants are both eligible for the EQIP program. You may apply as an individual or as an acequias. 

Resource Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Also an NRCS program, RCPP is based on state or regional partnerships. In New Mexico, the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts (NMACD) is the lead partner on an RCPP grant focused on acequias. Acequias apply directly to NMACD to participate in the RCPP program. RCPP funds can be used for acequia irrigation improvements. NMACD works with several partners, including the Interstate Stream Commission, local SWCDs, and the NM Acequia Association, to conduct outreach and encourage acequias to apply. RCPP will provide either technical assistance (for engineering design) or financial assistance (funding for construction). 

The NMAA is here to assist parciantes, especially those historically underserved by the USDA, to access on-farm improvements offered by the NRCS, or financial services offered by the FSA. Our team will help you navigate the process from application to implementation. Next newsletter, we will provide an overview of FSA programs. 

Please contact: toribio@lasacequias.org, serafina@lasacequias.org, or 505.995.9644

2021 Los Sembradores Farmer Training Program – Now Accepting Applications!

NMAA is pleased to announce that we will be starting the fifth year of our Farmer-to-Farmer training program, Los Sembradores in 2021!

The program uses a hands-on approach and a 18-point curriculum created by our partners at ASFC, based on the successful farm model pioneered by Don Bustos. Training includes: farm and business planning, season extension, fertility and soil health, irrigation methods, maintenance of equipment and usage, planting and harvesting techniques, organic pest management, marketing, value added processing, seed saving, remedio making, processing of traditional foods, leadership training, and participation in different NMAA events throughout the season.

Program dates: Mid-Feb. to Mid-Dec. 2021

Must commit to 3 days a week for the full term of the training!

Work stipends provided!

*Our program is typically run on-site at Chicoyole Farm in Chamisal, NM – however we are committed to being covid safe and will be implementing a remote model as long as necessary for community health and safety. At this time, we are encouraging interested applicants from across the state to apply – preference will be given to applicants who have access (or strong prospects of access) to land in their own area to carry out their garden/farm work throughout the program. If/when it becomes safe to come together in person, apprentices may be asked to travel to Chamisal for certain program days.

Applications due January 4th, 2021

If you are interested in applying for the program, contact:

donne@lasacequias.org (505) 995-9644

Click here to DOWNLOAD A PROGRAM FLYER to share with friends, family and community!

Guidance for Acequia Annual Meetings during Covid

Many acequias are holding their annual meetings this Fall and have time-sensitive issues – including elections – that need to be addressed.  NMAA is providing some basic guidance to acequias for how to address the need for annual meetings and also protect your members from spread of COVID-19 by following the requirements of the public health orders issued by the Department of Health (DOH).

The most important requirement that affects acequia meetings is that any gatherings over five people are prohibited. The DOH public health order, which was updated November 5, 2020, prohibits “mass gatherings” which are defined as any public or private gathering that brings together more than five individuals indoors or outdoors. There are some limited exceptions and “mass gathering” does not include individuals who are public officials or public employees in the course and scope of their employment, and it does not include the presence of more than five people who reside together. In summary, the prohibition on mass gatherings includes acequia membership meetings. 

The Attorney General has provided a guidance letter for public bodies, such as acequias, during the COVID-19 State of Public Health Emergency recommending that public entities “follow the guidance of the Department of Health and other health officials to ensure the health and safety of both members of the entity and the public.” They also recommend the following:

  • Public bodies should not proceed with an in-person meeting at this time given that the current Public Health Order limits mass gatherings to 5 people even in an outdoor space.  
  • The best and most efficient way to comply with the Open Meetings Act and the current public health orders would be to postpone or cancel a public meeting
  • A virtual public meeting may be held if a public body has to address an issue that is “time-sensitive.”  Virtual meetings may be held through telephone conference, videoconference, live streaming, or similar technologies provided that the public is provided instructions on how to access the meeting. 

NMAA is available to assist acequias during this public health emergency. Some examples of services we can offer related to conducting acequia meetings include: 

  • Assistance drafting a meeting notice to include all the information necessary to ensure compliance with the public health order and the Open Meetings Act;  
  • An NMAA staff member can attend and help with the virtual or telephone meeting to ensure the meeting runs smoothly and is in compliance with the Open Meetings Act; and 
  • We can offer the use of our Zoom video conference platform or telephone conference line. Any acequia can request use of our Zoom link or conference call number. We ask that the request be made well in advance to manage schedule conflicts.  

We also understand that this is a very difficult time and many areas of the state do not have reliable internet service or phone service.  We are available to discuss additional options for you at this time to ensure all members of the community are safe and have an option to attend the meeting.  Please contact our office to discuss your options.

Elections.  If it is an election year for your Acequia, you may decide to hold a virtual meeting under the “time-sensitivity” standard.  Voting may take place either by conference call or via an online platform such as Zoom. On the other hand, the Attorney General’s guidance allows postponement until it is safe to hold a meeting in order to ensure maximum participation. 

Proxy voting.  Proxy voting may still be utilized during virtual meetings.  In order to implement proxy voting, your Acequia will need some clear procedures for your members to follow. If proxies are utilized, we encourage the commission to carefully review the Acequia’s bylaws to familiarize themselves with the Acequia’s unique proxy requirements. 

Some examples of how to manage proxies include setting a deadline for delivering written proxies to the Commission of the acequia and/or allowing proxies to be presented at the virtual meeting. The acequia may require that proxies be mailed to the Secretary of the Commission by a deadline in advance of the meeting. The acequia can also allow proxies to be presented at the virtual meeting provided that the written proxy be delivered to the commission within five days. Your acequia can determine your own procedures as long as you communicate it clearly with your members.  Please contact our staff to discuss the specific details related to proxy voting generally, and, in particular, how to effectively use proxies at virtual meetings held during the pandemic.

Bylaws amendments.  Also, we suggest that, if your Acequia is adopting or amending its bylaws at the annual meeting, you send the bylaws to parciantes ahead of the meeting and ask them to send questions or comments prior to the meeting to facilitate discussion during the meeting. 

Please contact NMAA staff if you have any questions in making a decision about whether to postpone or proceed with your meeting. We are also available to provide guidance on conducting your meeting virtually, attending your meeting to assist in using Zoom, or providing our teleconference number or Zoom meeting link. We are also available to assist with election procedures, including the use of proxies. Contact us at 505-995-9644. We are not working in the office, but we receive our messages daily and will respond to your request as soon as possible.

NMAA is Hiring

NMAA is seeking qualified applicants for the following two positions. Both are full-time and will work primarily from home in order to be COVID-safe. 
Acequia Policy Coordinator
The New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) is seeking a Policy Coordinator to assist with advocacy efforts at the local, state, and federal level. The NMAA is a statewide, membership-based association of acequias and community ditches in New Mexico. The Policy Coordinator helps develop and implement NMAA’s policy advocacy strategies. This position reports directly to the Executive Director (ED) and supports a broad range of activities including analysis, development of policy recommendations, and policy advocacy. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills, a minimum of two years professional experience in public policy/advocacy fields, willingness to take on complex tasks, and the ability to work collaboratively with a diverse group of stakeholders. Policy Coordinator Job Description
Acequia Outreach Coordinator
The New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) is seeking an Acequia Outreach Coordinator to conduct education and outreach to acequia parciantes, acequia elected officials, farmers, and ranchers and provide support on issues relating to water rights, agricultural improvements, infrastructure, and acequia governance. This position reports to the Program Director and works with the NMAA team to plan and coordinate outreach strategies and to implement specific tasks including one-on-one meetings, trainings and workshops, and development of educational materials. This position will work on acequia governance, water management, infrastructure, and participation in USDA programs. The ideal candidate will have strong communication skills, experience working one-on-one with constituents, and the ability to work collaboratively with a diverse group of stakeholders. Acequia Outreach Coordinator Job Description
Persons interested in applying should submit a letter of interest, three references, and a resume to Paula Garcia, Executive Director, at paula@lasacequias.org. 

2020 Acequia Art & Photo Contest


Submit your photos and art to the 2020 NMAA Acequia Art & Photo Contest and show us what acequia culture means to YOU! Prizes for ADULTS (19 years and up) and YOUTH (18 years and under)!


  • Submit poems, videos, paintings, sketches, mixed media, models, and MORE! – showing us “What does acequia culture mean to you?” or “Why are acequias important to your family, culture, or community?”
  • Art participants are limited to one entry.


  • Send photos in any of these categories – Acequieros Working the Land; Digitally Altered Imagery; Regando; Food and Seed Traditions
  • Photo participants are limited to one entry per category!


  • Art and photos must be submitted by November 30, 2020
  • Submissions must be sent in HIGH RESOLUTION/high quality format
  • Please email to emily@lasacequias.org OR mail to 805 Early Street Bldg. B, Suite 203 Santa Fe, NM 87505
  • Include: (1) Name of Artist (2) Town (3) Acequia Name (4) County (5) Art/photo description or title.


  • You could win the following PRIZES: 1st Place: $60.00 & NMAA T-Shirt – 2nd Place: $40.00 & NMAA T-Shirt – 3rd Place: $20.00 & NMAA T-shirt (separate prizes for adult and youth submissions!)
  • Terms and conditions: Upon photo submission, you agree to the use of your work(s) in NMAA materials including but not limited to publications, calendar, website pages, and outreach materials. Photo credit will be given where appropriate.

Flyer images – 2019 winners Eluid Martinez (art, adult) and Miguel Santistevan (photo, adult)

September 3 – Vamos a Guardar la Cosecha: Food Preservation with the Acequia Harvest

You are invited to join us for ‘Vamos a Guardar la Cosecha: Food Preservation with the Acequia Harvest‘ – the fifth gathering in our series of seasonal garden pláticas!

** Thursday September 3rd from 6:00-7:30 pm **


Online using Zoom or your phone

Our featured maestras – Margaret Garcia (Taos Real Food, Sol Feliz Farm) and Juliet Garcia (Chicoyole Farms, NMAA Director of Operations) – will share their stories, experiences, and tips on how they preserve and save the harvest from their farms and gardens, including canning, drying, and fermenting. David Garcia will also join us to share canciones and reflections on the historic and cultural importance of preserving our own food.

We know many community members also have important ideas to share – so please also join us to share your own expertise and techniques!

Questions? Contact: donne@lasacequias.org – This special community gathering is presented by the NMAA Los Sembradores Farmer Training Program, as part of our Semillas Pa La Gente project.