About the Cibola Shared Stewardship Collaborative

Vision and Purpose

The purpose of the Cibola Shared Stewardship Collaborative (CSSC) is to provide assistance to the Cibola National Forest leadership team for the use and management of the multiple resources within the Forest. Our vision is to work together to provide diverse perspectives on forest-wide issues.

The CSSC is composed of a Coordinating Council (Council) with representation from diverse stakeholders who have an interest in the Cibola NF and the local Collaboratives focused on the four Ranger Districts:  Magdalena, Sandia, Mountainair and Mt. Taylor.

The purpose of the Council is to serve as the liaison between the Cibola National Forest leadership team and the  local Collaboratives. The Council will engage with the local Collaboratives by acting as a “hub” for identifying, resourcing, and prioritizing activities within the Forest. Similarly, the four Collaboratives will provide regional stakeholder feedback and perspective from each of the local (Ranger District) areas. Communication and engagement between the Council and locale Collaboratives will be a “two-way street” of resources, communication efforts, project ideas, and feedback.


About the Cibola National Forest


The Cibola (pronounced SEE-bo-lah) National Forest and National Grasslands are located in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma and are part of the Southwestern Region of the USDA, Forest Service. The Cibola National Forest covers more than 1.6 million acres (648,000 hectares) in New Mexico. Elevations range from 5,000 ft (1,500 m) to 11,301 ft (3,445 m). The Cibola also administers four National Grasslands: Black Kettle, McClellan Creek, Kiowa, and Rita Blanca, which cover 263,261 acres (107,000 hectares) in northeastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma, and northern Texas. The total size of the Cibola is 1.9 million acres (754,000 hec).

The Cibola headquarters office is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a city of approximately 900,000 people. The six management units (4 mountain and 2 grassland districts) range in size from approximately 1,500 acres (600 hectares) to 800,000 acres (324,000 hectares). They are near disconnected “sky islands” and distinctly different communities and ecosystems spread out across three states. The name Cibola is thought to be the original Zuni Indian name for their pueblos or tribal lands. The name was later interpreted by the Spanish to mean "buffalo.”  These diverse landscapes and communities provide a unique range of ecological, cultural and economic opportunities and challenges. The Cibola manages land of important to 23 Native American tribes, 18 counties, 11 land grants, and numerous communities.

Cibola biomes range from Chihuahuan desert to short-grass prairie to piñon-juniper to sub-alpine spruce and fir. The region also boasts a diversity of wildlife due to this ecological diversity. The uses and values for each landscape ranges from a rich cultural background of uses and practices such as wood gathering, plant collecting, timber harvesting, and grazing of livestock to more recent and popular uses such as mountain biking, skiing, and hang gliding. There are many residential inholdings within the districts’ boundaries. Because of the proximity to Albuquerque, there is high recreational use, with more than a million visitors each year.


Current emphasis:

Due to the historic lack of fires to maintain ecosystem structure and function in a fire-adapted ecosystem, the forest has high tree densities with insect and disease outbreaks and increased potential for large and extreme wildfires. Recreation uses have also played a role in the deterioration of habitat, as many unauthorized trails have caused erosion in sensitive areas and increased sediment to waterways, which has compromised watershed health.


The Cibola is actively pursuing multiple restoration plans and projects to restore forest, watershed, and grassland health. Once completed, they will help protect communities, cultural resources, wildlife habitat, and provide sustainable gathering and recreational opportunities. These treatments will also improve overall watershed health by protecting water quality and supply, and reducing erosion in primary water source areas. 

Our collaborative work with multiple partners is critical to creating adapting and resilient ecosystems and communities. Funding from multiple sources and partners has supported joint efforts across multiple jurisdictions to accomplish its habitat and watershed restoration goals. Collaborators include:  pueblos; land grants; federal, state and local agencies; non-governmental organizations, etc. Several key partnership efforts are underway to accelerate our work together.