Ballot question stumps some Albuquerque voters

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The race for Albuquerque’s next mayor and the stadium bond question overshadowed another race on the ballot that left many voters stumped. The Soil and Water Conservation District is a political subdivision that oftentimes, taxpayers pay for. However, many voters still don’t know what they do.

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“That doesn’t surprise me at all. Soil and Water Conservation Districts historically have had trouble with recognition,” said James ‘Steve’ Glass, chair of the Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District. These districts have been around for a while, dating back to the 1930s.

“Farmers had no idea what they were doing out here. They came from Missouri and this is not Missouri. So they were trying to farm with those methods and the Dust Bowl resulted and the Soil Conservation Service was formed,” said Glass.

Today, there are thousands of these districts across the country and 47 in New Mexico. They work with farmers and landowners and other agencies to preserve natural resources and wildlife. The Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District cover most of Bernalillo County and part of Sandoval County.

“We go and identify the problem, find the funding to cure the problem or help cure the problem, and bring those two together,” said Glass.

However, while Albuquerque voters were filling out their ballots for the next mayor, city councilors, and bond questions, when they got to the races for the Soil and Water Conservation District, many didn’t know how to vote, unaware of what the group does.

Glass says in the metro area, the Ciudad District is collaborating on projects like bringing wildlife to the Candeleria Nature Preserve and watershed education.

“We’re working really hard on everybody’s behalf to replenish the watershed to replenish the resources to make sure that our children’s children’s children have a life,” said Glass. He hopes his next term brings more resource restoration and maybe even gets the Ciudad District a little more in the spotlight.

“I would really appreciate people understanding that we’re here. People knowing that we’re a unique entity doing unique work pretty much under the radar and if people knew we were here and how hard we were working I think they would appreciate it,” said Glass. “They would appreciate everything we’re doing to make living in this city or these cities or even living in this state a better experience for everybody who lives here and trying to just trying to preserve what natural resources we have left.”

Glass said the Ciudad District only gets about $15,000 a year from the legislature and mostly relies on grants. He said through grants and collaborations, they are putting in about a million dollars worth of conservation work this year alone.

Glass was an incumbent and kept his seat Tuesday night. Zoe Economou was another incumbent running in the other race. She also kept her seat.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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