In 2015, The Acequia Institute completed work on a three-year conservation easement project. This work was undertaken to protect in perpetuity the open space, wildlife habitat, acequia water rights, and unique agroecological landscapes and practice traditions on lands that host our Almunyah and TAI within traditional Caputa Ute territory. The conservation easement is reportedly the first in state history that includes a provision prohibiting the transfer or sale of acequia water rights and mandates the perpetual dedication of these rights to acequia flood irrigated methods. This conservation project was the result of generous and competent work led by Ms. Sarah Parmar of Colorado Open Lands (COL) who partnered with TAI to secure funding from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). TAI matched this funding with $20,000 to cover related costs including a meticulous biodiversity inventory and a full-spectrum appraisal. The Colorado Open Lands proposal was ranked first among more than 100 GOCO applications for intrinsic biodiversity, open space and habitat values, and historical and cultural significance. The land protected by our conservation easement is on the Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway and lies within the borders of the 1844 Sangre de Cristo Land Grant and the federally-recognized boundaries of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.  VISIT THEIR WEBSITE HERE. The COL proposal describes the conservation easement in the following terms:

The Almunyah de las Dos Acequias is a 181 acre farm located on the historic San Luis Peoples Ditch, the first adjudicated water right in Colorado...Not only does the farm produce heirloom chicos corn and bolita beans, but it also provides habitat for the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher...[The easement] will be the first acequia water rights to be encumbered and will allow us to develop model water rights language that will recognize and incorporate unique acequia governance principles.

To view the project prospectus and download the pdf file, please click on this link. This is a large file and the download may take a few minutes: GOCO Prospectus