Philmont Scout Ranch Receives Awards for Environmental Achievement and Water Quality


Philmont Scout Ranch Receives Awards for Environmental Achievement and Water Quality

Philmont Scout Ranch received the Excellence in Environmental Achievement Award from the New Mexico Rural Water Association on March 22, 2006. The award was the first of its type ever presented by the association.

The award is presented to an outstanding individual or utility that has gone beyond normal requirements to be better stewards of the environment. Recipients are automatically entered into a nationally sponsored competition by the National Rural Water Association.

Philmont has also received several awards for outstanding water quality. Philmont placed in the top five at the 2005 New Mexico Drinking Water Taste Test. Philmont was awarded Outstanding Water System of the Year in 2003, and Philmont staff received the Water Operator of the Year Award in 2004.

"Philmont strives to be a good steward of the land and utilize innovative technology in that pursuit." stated Philmont General Manager Keith Gallaway. "Philmont is a recognized leader in environmental education, watershed restoration, and implementing sound ecological management practices."

Background Information

  • Philmont has been a key player in the organization and development of the Cimarron Watershed Alliance, a nonprofit organization doing state and nationally recognized work to improve the quality and quantity of water in the Cimarron watershed. Work includes erosion and sediment control projects, timber thinning and fire protection work, public outreach, and riparian improvement projects.
  • Philmont has implemented the use of gray water irrigation systems as opposed to traditional septic systems in an effort to protect potentially sensitive ground and surface water areas, and to lessen water requirements for green spaces.
  • Philmont has developed a wellhead protection program with requirements more stringent than the New Mexico Environment Department.
  • Philmont is experimenting with the use of self-composting toilets in some of our environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Philmont is using GPS technology to monitor the location and life span of dry carriage latrine systems.
  • Philmont has sponsored workshops on road building to prevent erosion and riparian damage (in cooperation with the Cimarron Watershed Alliance and Quivira Coalition).
  • Philmont has spent thousands of dollars and thousands of man-hours doing soil and watershed stabilization and improvement since the catastrophic 2002 Ponil Complex Fire. Projects include contour felling, reseeding, and wellhead protection.
  • Philmont has cooperated with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to establish the longest stretch of native Rio Grande cutthroat trout stream in New Mexico. This work has included thousands of hours and dollars in watershed and riparian habitat improvement.
  • Philmont was presented the Water System of the Year Award in 2003. Philmont's chief water operator, Larry Archuleta, was named Water Operator of the Year in 2004, and Philmont placed in the top five finalists of the New Mexico Rural Water Association Taste Test in 2005. Some of the significant accomplishments that led to receiving these awards are:
    • Improvements that have been made for potable water systems and the contributions Philmont has made to assist in the improvement of other systems in northeastern New Mexico.
    • Within Philmont's system, the camp has gone from having two "small water operators" that were grandfathered into certification, to having five level I operators, five level II operators, and one level III state-certified water operators, seven level l distribution certifications, and three state-certified wastewater operators.
    • Philmont implemented and continues to provide and train all of its publics in the necessary areas of water conservation and water quality protection.
    • Since 2001 all of Philmont's remote backcountry water systems have been upgraded with new disinfection systems that consistently provide the public with a safe, high-quality supply of potable water. The majority of these systems are solar powered.
    • Philmont's base camp operation has recently completed a new supply line from its surface water and well supplies. Philmont researched, directed the installation of, and is using a state-of-the art membrane system for treatment of its domestic water supply.
    • Philmont has actively initiated a wellhead protection program and has made numerous improvements to maintain the integrity of natural spring sources.
    • Philmont has also hosted training sessions provided by the New Mexico Rural Water Association, and the New Mexico Water Utilities Assistance Program, which benefits not only our staff but the operators and staff of other northeastern New Mexico systems as well. This includes hosting State Operators Certification Exam sessions