Oct 13, 2023
In the 1980’s, when Valer Clark moved from the East Coast to a cattle ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains, she fell in love with the area. But she was dismayed at how overgrazed the grasslands were. While observing running water during a forceful monsoon rain, she noticed soil accumulate behind a small rock dam. She began building rock dams, called trincheras, in eroded areas. Her efforts eventually caught the attention of Arizona State University researchers who began to collaborate with her. In 2018, Valer founded the nonprofit Cuenca Los Ojos (CLO), a 121,000-acre protected, restored, and rewilded area that is once again home to jaguar, ocelot, black bears, beavers and a host of other threatened and endangered species. Valer, along with CLO’s president Jeff Hampton, speaks with Russell and Alan about her work and Cuenca Los Ojo’s current projects and future endeavors.