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Enhancing Water Retention and Facilitating Groundwater Recharge to Protect and Maintain Springs

NIDIS Supported Research
NIDIS-Supported Research
Main Summary

Located in the arid Southwest, water is a revered resource for the Pueblo de San Ildefonso and is central to many cultural practices and essential needs. Drought and other changes in hydrological cycles affects infiltration rates and recharge to groundwater aquifers, which adversely affects surface water bodies sustained by groundwater, including springs. 

This project aims to protect springs located on the Pueblo de San Ildefonso from drought to help sustain wildlife and native vegetation, while also ensuring the Pueblo community can visit and use the springs, particularly sacred sites, for traditional and cultural practices. The project will restore areas directly surrounding springs on Pueblo lands, collaborate with surrounding landowners to identify groundwater recharge areas at higher elevations that replenish springs and assess the need to enhance or protect these recharge areas. 

Monitoring and adaptive management will be an integral part of this project, including monitoring to evaluate the success of spring restoration and protection that can inform future drought restoration projects.

This research was funded by NIDIS through the FY 2022 Coping with Drought Competition – Building Tribal Drought Resilience. For more information, please contact Britt Parker ( and Crystal Stiles (

Research Snapshot

Research Timeline
September 2022 – August 2024
Principal Investigator(s)
Raymond Martinez, Pueblo de San Ildefonso, Department of Environmental and Cultural Preservation
Project Funding
FY 2022 Coping with Drought Competition – Building Tribal Drought Resilience
Focus Areas (DEWS Components)
What to expect from this research

Expected results from this research will include:

  • A report on priority restoration sites/activities with a long-term monitoring and adaptive management plan
  • Community meetings.
Key Regions
Research Scope
DEWS Region(s)
Tribal Nations
Pueblo de San Ildefonso