Rio Grande Natural Area: Challenges and Opportunities -- Andrew Archuleta


Colorado Field Institute
2013 Winter Lecture Series


Rio Grande Natural Area

Challenges and Opportunities

rgna imagesUtah horses blm

by Andrew Archuleta


7 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Room 130 Porter Hall

Adams State University

Alamosa, CO


When the Rio Grande Natural Area (RGNA) was established by the U.S. Congress in 2006, it was the culmination of twenty years of local community efforts at conservation that not only protected a variety of important natural resources, but also took into account local priorities, including water. The RGNA extends from the southern border of the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge 33 miles downriver to the New Mexico state line. All land within one-quarter mile of each side of that stretch of river is part of the RGNA.

Today, the Bureau of Land Management and the RGNA Commission have begun the groundwork for long-term management plans for the federal and private lands within the corridor. It is clear a few challenges face both the BLM and the RGNA Commission. The most prominent is livestock trespass in the corridor.

 There is a long history of unauthorized domestic animals grazing within the Rio Grande corridor. This includes horses (both owned and abandoned), cattle, and sheep. As drought conditions continue across the San Luis Valley, unauthorized grazing causes damage to the rangeland resource in the upland area above the river. Within riparian areas, unauthorized grazing damages not just the vegetation, but it stresses the Rio Grande’s overall health and function. Unattended animals on nearby roads are a real safety hazard as well. The slideshow and talk will delve into the history, challenges, and opportunities of the Rio Grande Natural area.


About the Speaker

Andrew Archuleta, is the area BLM Field Manager, San Luis Valley Field Office. Andrew holds a master’s degree in Ecotoxicology/Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and a Bachelors in Wildlife Biology, also from Colorado State University. He has served as Wildlife Biologist, Environmental Contaminants Specialist, Abandoned Mine Lands Program Manager and Field Manager, over his 27 years in federal service.


The Colorado Field Institute is a nonprofit corporation organized in 2005 to promote greater stewardship of the natural and cultural resources within the San Luis Valley. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,