By Ian Mentken
The BAT came together in the Fall of 2013 in response to the Mayor’s development-heavy “Vision” plan for the Bosque. Since that time we have organized a number of actions that, in partnership with the public’s strong support, seem to be moving the needle in the direction of a revised and scaled back “vision” that will not include the entire Rio Grande Park and will focus much more strongly on the Bosque's long term health.
Though no formal revised plan has been presented as yet, there has been considerably more outreach to the public to solicit our feedback about any plans for the Bosque. The City’s Open Space Division in particular has been very accessible and cooperative, providing ongoing dialog with the BAT and establishing regular opportunities for the public to participate in the planning process, including two walks in the Bosque recently presented by Dr. Matt Schmader, the head of Open Space. Additionally, monitoring of the potential impact of development in the Bosque was initiated, and the focus of any development plan has shifted, at least rhetorically, towards managing the impact of visitors, a more humble and healthy focus as compared to the extensive development envisioned in the Rio Grande Vision plan.
While we are pleased to be making progress, we recognize that there is a significant difference between words and action. Additionally there are still important issues to be resolved. As such we will continue to press for ongoing dialog with the City, will carefully analyze the monitoring science, and will be deeply engaged in every step of the planning process. We will also continue our public outreach and education efforts and provide updates as events occur. With continued diligence, and the public's ongoing involvement, we are hopeful that a more preservation-focused vision for the Bosque, where the health and welfare of this unique and beloved ecosystem is the highest priority, will be able to take root.
Photo by Kathy Grassel