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San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Recycling

Mission: The mission of the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council (SLVEC) is to protect and restore, through research, education, and advocacy, the biological diversity, ecosystems, and natural resources of the Upper Rio Grande bioregion, balancing ecological values and human needs.

Results: We work to protect public lands and sensitive landscapes in the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado. We work with Public Land agencies, non-profit organizations, and private citizens to affect positive change and prevent detrimental exploitation of our public lands, water, and air. So far, we have protected our landscaper from large water exploitation, oil and gas drilling, and huge developments in sensitive landscapes. We also work with EPA on a CARE project to identify Environmental Health risks to the San Luis Valley.

Target demographics: All persons concerned with the health of our natural landscapes, and the interactions between a healthy environment and healthy people.

Geographic areas served: San Luis Valley, Southern Colorado

Programs: Some current projects include: A combination USDA RREO and EPA EJCPS grant to provide a regional waste diversion and recycling plan for the San Luis Valley; preparing a management plan alternative for the 20 year plan for the Rio Grande National Forest; protecting our public lands from oil and gas drilling; and preserving the integrity of lynx habitat by thwarting the efforts of developers at Wolf Creek.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Chris Canaly and SLVEC work tirelessly for all residents of the San Luis Valley to help maintain and improve the health and well being of our environment, which is the foundation for all living things, including we humans. I have seen Chris' work up close - she is probably THE single most caring and influential person helping to safeguard our access to clean air, water, and beyond. I stand humbled by her efforts and the way she marshalls resources for SLVEC in order to benefit of all living things here in this scenic and beautiful valley. I'm proud to know her, to in community with her and this tireless non-profit. SLVEC is an organization well worth supporting.

1 Loretta12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I would like to echo what the previous comments have already said. Under the long term leadership of Christine Canaly, the SLV Ecosystem Council has provided a voice and action in the defense of all environmental concerns in the Upper Rio Grande basin, protecting not only this region but all areas downstream which are fed by our headwaters, for at least 20 years. . The SLV Ecosystem Council is a highly respected organization in this area and seeks solutions in a diplomatic and community engaging manner. I hold them and their efforts in the highest regard. We are so blessed to have them advocate for this region. An investment in their efforts is money well spent! Loretta Mitson (also a donor)



Rating: 5

The director and her dedicated board members of the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council have successfully navigated that hard line of truth that brings the often contentious priorities of politics, business, community and environment to the table together.

Successfully processing the alert, information gathering and dissemination, policy change recommendations or citizen mobilizations to the benefit of several major economic, environmental and health challenges here locally for over 20 years.

Starting with the devastation that could have been AWDI and continuing on with mobilization of water, soil and air quality testing, the present huge project related to all of these through solid waste management issues, and the ongoing dedication to upholding the policies that protect our public lands and water ways from un-scrutinized gas and oil exploration and unregulated recreational, unvetted energy developments and private enterprises.

Out of the little corner office above Milagro’s, filled with shelves and stacks of maps, data, requests, information stuffed notebooks, file folders, a serviceable table, a donated and cantankerous old computer and an old bathroom way down the hall from which to water the two intrepid plants…comes some of the most amazing work that has influenced the very landscape and economics for the betterment of this region over the past 20 odd years.

We are very fortunate to have this dedicated non-profit in our corner of the world-a model of collaborative effort, educating and enlightening us to both threat AND opportunity in our midst.
There is not enough accolades to be said about this jewel. The SLV Ecosystem Council is one of the least recognized and most valuable local networks protecting the environment that supports our economic base and our quality of life at the core.

1 Andrea139

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council through its Executive Director, Christine Canaly, has been an endless support to me in my life. She offers countless volunteer hours to protect our public lands. Our way of life depends on the land, and Christine has honored the traditions that exist in the San Luis Valley, while translating mainstream legal tools to all our residents for our self-empowerment. My first interaction with SLVEC was during our historic battle with Los Alamos National Laboratory, the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad, and EnergySolutions, our very own David versus Goliath situation in the southern end of the SLV. We were without infrastructure, without support, in crisis mode, and in need of help and support from our community. Christine was the lone voice offering us a hand from the stress of the situation. She has been a fearless leader, strong mentor, and the epitome of living her ideals. Christine's leadership translates to the culture at SLVEC to be the premier land advocacy organization near us and partnering with us in many legal battles, collaborating in many land use issues, and providing guidance on complex political and environmental situations. This non-profit is on the top of my donation list yearly, and is money well spent.

Andrea Trujillo Guajardo
Founding Board Member
Conejos Clean Water

Comments ( 1 )


SLVEC 07/28/2017

Thank you Andrea!

1 ConejosCleanWater

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council has done inspiring work for communities across the region for years now. It has been wonderful partnering with them over the past seven years, creating powerful connections and opportunities for systems change work here at home. We have learned so much from their excellent staff and look forward to many more years of collaboration standing up for our land, water, and air throughout the Upper Río Grande Region. Thank you for everything!

1 SavannahSparrow


Rating: 5

I became involved in the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council when I moved to the San Luis Valley in May 2000. Since then I have volunteered for them off and on and experienced first hand what a first rate organization they are. As a public lands advocate, they have done great things for the Valley, including saving Wolf Creek - a lynx habitat corridor from developers, stopped fracking at San Francisco Creek near one of my favorite hiking trails, cleaned up illegal dumping on BLM lands, and are currently in the process of establishing a regional wide waste diversion and recycling plan. I'm very excited for the future of this organization and appreciate what they have done for this beautiful and ecologically important area of Colorado.