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Welcome to the High Desert Residential Owners Association     Albuquerque, New Mexico

flowering desert

It's not just where you live, it's how you interact.  Here at High Desert, we believe communication is the number one way to build our community: communication between neighbors, among homeowners and with management. 

This website is designed to keep every High Desert resident informed and up-to-date on the vital issues that affect us as homeowners. Here, you'll find quick access to our
governing documents, policies and procedures,  calendars of upcoming community meetings, copies of our latest newsletter, home improvement information, links to Village news and the e-mail addresses of your officers and directors. 

We hope this information will provide High Desert homeowners with what they need to know...and when they need to know it. 

For the latest news, scroll down. For more information on High Desert, see the
Notices and Reminders page.

As a result of the heavy rains this summer, the foothills have experienced a burst of color. High Desert homeowner Tom Kilroy took this photograph from his backyard in late August. For more information about rainfall in High Desert, see story by Jay Hartfield below.


2014 Resident Survey Seeks Homeowner Input:
Complete Survey Online By Following Link

By Clay Wright, Board of Directors 

The High Desert Resident Owners Association is conducting an online survey about our community. Your Board of Directors wants to find out what you like and dislike about living here. The survey is your opportunity to help chart the future of the community. 

Homeowners can access the survey by clicking here.

The survey is relatively brief and asks specific questions about living in High Desert such as the quality of landscaping maintenance and the frequency of security patrols. The survey will question if enough money is being spent on specific areas or if too much is being spent. 

A section is included where residents can ask specific questions about anything they want. When the 2012 resident survey was completed, the Board of directors responded to every single person who asked a question and left accurate contact information. 

Good or bad, the Board wants to know what you think. Your elected board members need to know what’s working and what needs attention. Your survey response will help focus their efforts as they govern the community. 

The survey will stay open for approximately two months until mid-November to give residents ample time to complete the survey. 

Once the survey closes in late November, the results will be collated and carefully analyzed. The results will be posted on High Desert’s website and published in the February Apache Plume. 

The Board of Directors urges you to help improve the livability of High Desert by participating in this important survey.

Workshops On Saving Trees Offered in September

Concerned about the health of your trees? High Desert is offering two workshops for homeowners in September. Jim Brooks is the owner of Soilutions, a compost and mulch producing facility in the South Valley. On September 13 and 20, he will be teaching a hands-on workshop sponsored by HDROA. Jim is a local expert in permaculture (permanent/sustainable agriculture). The workshops are intended to teach HDROA residents two permaculture methods for helping save our trees. Both workshops will be held within High Desert starting at 9:30 am and lasting until about noon. 

The first workshop will demonstrate the technique called “Boomerang” which is better for trees on slopes and will require the use of heavy equipment. 

The second workshop will demonstrate the “Sponge” method which is best for trees on flat land. (See the landscaping article on pages 20 and 21 in the
May issue of the Apache Plume for more detail about these techniques.) Note the locations below are different for each workshop. You can attend one or both workshops at no cost. 

• Boomerang Method Sat., Sept. 13 9:30 a.m. to noon • Location: Water Kiva Park (Spain and Imperata) 

• Sponge Method Sat. Sept. 20 9:30 a.m. to noon • Location: NE corner of Blue Grama and Academy 

Attendees are asked to wear hats, sunglasses, gloves, shoes suitable for outdoor work, sunscreen, and to bring water. Jim will provide most of the tools needed, but if you have a favorite tool (a rake, flat or curved shovel, sharpshooter, tamper, or hand tool) please bring it with you. The tools will be needed for building berms, using soils, stones, and for organic mulch. 

Please RSVP to Margo Murdock 822-9410 or for each workshop you wish to attend. 

Michial Emery Trailhead Parking Lot To Be Closed October 7 & 8
For Seal Coat & Restriping
Hikers and bicyclists take note:  The Michial Emery Trailhead will be closed on October 7 and 8. Armour Paving will be completing the seal coat of the entire parking lot on October 7 and restriping the parking spots on October 8. The entire parking area will be closed for 48 hours.  Parking is prohibited on High Desert Street at all times.

High Desert Neighborhood Watch Groups Participate in 
'National Night Out Against Crime' August 5

Chamis Trail National Night OutNational Night Out CanyonsNational Night Out Aerie
Several Neighborhood Watch groups in High Desert took to the street Tuesday night, August 5th, as they participated in 'National Night Out Against Crime.'  Block Captains in Chamisa Trail (photo 1), Canyons (photo 2) and Aerie (photo 3) organized block parties for their groups, bringing neighbors together for food and conversation.

Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest crime prevention programs in the country, uniting citizens  with law enforcement to deter crime and make communities safer. National Night Out is traditionally held the first Tuesday in August.  Neighborhood groups (including Neighborhood Watch) are encouraged to turn on their porch lights, hold block parties and meet their neighbors in an effort to discourage crime and encourage a sense community.

In Chamisa Trail,  Diane Goodwin and Barbara Towers are Co-Captains for 24 houses on High Ridge and Sandia Ridge. They organized their Neighborhood Watch group in 2011 with a meeting that included an Albuquerque Police Department officer who discussed ways to prevent crime. The group received two Neighborhood Watch signs for the street.  "We meet about three times a year," said Diane.  "We have roster of members and we meet for brunch periodically to welcome new people."  She said the neighborhood as had no problems with crime since the group was established.  "It helps that we all know each other," she said.  "We look after each other, especially when people leave on vacation."

Mike Redding has been the Block Captain for the Canyons Neighborhood Watch group for the last 10 years.  His group includes all 44 homes in the gated community.  "We need more Block Captains here," he said. Canyons homeowner Joan Schueller helped organize the event held in the Canyons cul-de-sac Tuesday night. About 40 residents attended. "This is such a nice neighborhood," she said.  "We have luncheons for the ladies once a month, we get together in the evenings to play Bunco, and at Christmas we always have a potluck." Crime has stayed low in the Canyons for past decade, she added.

Another party took place over in The Aerie at the home of David and Anne Wimsatt.  Anne is the Block Captain for her Neighborhood Watch group which includes homes throughout the village. She established her group 10 years ago.  "We have about 75 homes in this Neighborhood Watch," she said.  "The participation is very encouraging."

High Desert homeowners are encouraged by the association to establish Neighborhood Watch groups in their neighborhood.  Interested homeowners should contact High Desert homeowner Hugh Barlow, Crime Prevention Liaison, at 550-0916 or for information.

Monsoon Brings Summer Rain to High Desert
Clouds over the Sandias in August by Steve Hamm
                                  (Photo by Steve Hamm, The Highlands)

By Jay Hartfield

The 2014 monsoon season brought much needed rain to High Desert this summer. The four CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network) reporting stations in High Desert showed rainfall totals for the months of July and August ranging from 4.07 to 4.56 inches over 62 days. The National Weather Service reported a July and August total of 4.94 inches from its official gauge at the Albuquerque Sunport.  

If you are interested in knowing how much precipitation fell in High Desert on a given day, you can always go to for the latest updates. The four current High Desert reporting stations are NM-BR-8 and NM-BR-128 in Solterra, NM-BR-122 in Enclave, and NM-BR-136 in Desert Mountain. More volunteer observers are always welcome. Just click on the “Join CoCoRaHS” menu link on their homepage for more information or to sign up. 

To see updated statistics for Albuquerque, go to the
National Weather Service website. The wettest four-month monsoon season recorded since 1892, which includes June, July, August and September, was in 2006 when 9.42 inches of rain were recorded at the Sunport. So far, 4.94 inches of rain have been recorded at the Sunport for June (trace), July (3.49"), August (1.45") and the first few days of September (0"), according to the National Weather Service Forecast Office. The driest season recorded since 1892 was in 2003 with just 1.46 inches of rain falling at the Sunport during those four months. These statistics below, from the National Weather Service, show the top 10 wettest and driest seasons.

Top 10 Wettest Monsoon Top 10 Driest Monsoon
1) 9.42"/2006 6) 7.16"/2013 1) 1.46"/2003 6) 1.74"/1892
2) 9.10"/1988 7) 6.84"/1986 2) 1.53"/1953 7) 1.81"/1969
3) 8.83"/1933 8) 6.80"/1996 3) 1.55"/1905 8) 1.87"/1922
4) 7.29"/1919 9) 6.58"/1997 4) 1.59"/1917 9) 1.88"/1948
5) 7.18"/1940 10) 6.10"/1893 5) 1.72"/2011 10) 2.13"/1898

Hummingbirds in High Desert
Photos and story by Tom Kilroy

Here in High Desert we normally see hummingbirds for most of the warm months, but in July, August and into September the number of these little birds at our feeders increases dramatically. So what is happening? 

You will notice a lot more birds and with different coloration now than you are used to during April, May and June. The Black-chinned (4th photo) and Broad-tailed Hummingbird (2nd photo) both nest here, so those are the birds you see in April, May and June. Currently you are seeing, in addition to our normal breeding birds, the Rufous (1st photo)  and Caliope Hummingbirds (3rd photo) that have nested much farther north in British Columbia, Canada. They are just passing through on their way to Mexico where they will overwinter. The Broad-tailed and Black-chinned Hummingbirds also go with them and soon we will be without all of these little whirling dervishes. 

Because the hummingbirds are migrating now they need as much nourishment as possible. They get some of their energy from your feeders, so fill up those feeders every two or three days now and into the fall. I usually have hummingbirds visiting my feeder until early October. 

If you are interested in further study here are two web sites that specialize in hummingbirds. and 

Report to Voting Members:
HDROA Ends Fiscal Year With Surplus
Voting Members meting July 2014

Voting Members heard good news at their regularly quarterly meeting Thursday night, July 24, when Board Treasurer Mary Kurkjian reported a $46,000 surplus for the Master Association's fiscal year which ended June 30, 2014.

"That's a significant surplus on a $1.1 million budget," she told Voting Members during her report on the association's finances. The surplus resulted from money budgeted but not spent on landscaping services and replacement plant materials (due to the drought), $5,000 not spent on community events, $18,000 less than budgeted for professional services (including management and legal services), $3,000 less than budgeted for rental on the new High Desert office, and $2-$3,000 saved on printing and mailing costs due to an increased use of electronic communication.

"The surplus rolls forward to help mitigate costs in the future," she said. "Having a surplus is one of the ways we can keep fees from increasing every year. We hope to not raise fees again for a while," she said.

Reserve accounts continue to stay very healthy, Mary continued. "The Master Association is at 170 percent of  'fully funded' at this point, but many items are scheduled for maintenance shortly. We are pretty confident that our scheduling is solid."

She noted that there has been a small increase in homeowners who are not paying their association fees. In the past, that percentage was less than two percent of all owners. But recently the percentage has gone up slightly. "It's important that homeowners understand that the association fees are not some tax paid to a distant government," Mary told Voting Members. "These fees help maintain our community." She asked Voting Members to communicate that idea to their neighbors and encourage owners' feeling of participation in the community.

Resident Survey
Clay Wright, Board Director, told Voting Members that the Board has decided to distribute another Resident Survey in September. The online survey (through Survey Monkey) will be available to residents for two months from mid-September through mid-November. The first Resident Survey was presented to owners two years ago with a total of 193 responses. "That wasn't a great response," he noted, "but there were some clear trends shown and we responded by making changes."

This year's survey is shorter this time, Clay said, and will include questions on all aspects of living in High Desert. "There will be questions on landscaping, our patrol service, management, and spending," he said. There will be areas left blank for general comments, and homeowners can remain anonymous.

Landscape Contract Signed
Lynn Claffey, Chair of the High Desert Contracts Committee, told Voting Members that a new three-year landscaping contract was signed June 30 with Heads Up Landscape Contractors, the current company used by the association. A bidding process was used during the past several months, with final consideration between Heads Up and one other large landscaping company. Originally a number of companies were reviewed as possible bidders, she said, but were dropped because those companies were simply not large enough to maintain a property as big as High Desert. Heads Up was the low bidder and was also compliant on every request the association made during the bidding process, Lynn noted.

View Fences
Tom Murdock, Board President, told Voting Members that the metal view fences in High Desert are scheduled to be painted in a village-by-village schedule, beginning with Desert Mountain. He asked that Voting Members explain to their village homeowners that any vegetation entwined in the view fences must be removed before the painters arrive. Notices have gone out to owners with view fences covered with vines and branches, he said. "If they don't remove it, we will go ahead and do it and they will be charged," he said. Bob's Painting has been contracted for the job and will use spray and regular brush painting. Painters will not go into any backyards, Tom said.

National Night Out
Tuesday, August 5th is National Night Out, a time when neighbors are encouraged to hold block parties to increase awareness about Neighborhood Watch and other neighborhood safety programs. In High Desert, Neighborhood Watch groups can request up to $150 from the association for an event and can also request that a Board Director attend, Tom told Voting Members. "This is another chance for everyone to get to know their neighbors," he said.

Starlit Night

starlit night
Homeowner Tom Kilroy took this photo on a recent August night with no moon...yet there was still plenty of light from the city lighting the Sandias, seen glowing at the right. It was taken from the cul-de-sac at the end of Canada Del Oso Pl.

Bears in High Desert

black bearWhat should you do if you suddenly meet a bear on a High Desert street, in your backyard, or on the trail?   Don't run.  Stand upright and slowly wave your arms.  Carefully back away.  Look around  for cubs, and if you see any, don't step between them and their mother.  If worse comes to worse and you are attacked, fight back aggressively.

This advice, and more, is included in a brochure distributed this spring by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. 
Click here to download a pdf of the two-page brochure.

High Desert owners have reported numerous sightings of bears over past years.  Bears come down out of the mountains, through Open Space or via the arroyos into High Desert streets and back yards looking for food and water.  

Trash is the main attraction in High Desert for bears. Putting your trash cans out Sunday night before our Monday morning pick-up poses a tempting treat for any wild animal.  Please don't put your trash cans out on Sunday.  Instead, roll your cans out by 7 a.m. Monday morning and remove all opportunities for bears to make a mess and to menace your neighborhood and endanger people and pets. 

Barbecue grills are another temptation for bears. The grease on the grill in your backyard may mean a hungry black bear on your patio when you least expect it.  Clean your grill after each use and, best of all, lock it in a closed shed or your garage if you can. Do you have a compost pile? Keep fruit off the pile...bears love fruit. Birdfeeders also attract bears.  Set out only enough seed to last the day. Bring hummingbird feeders inside at night.  Feed your pets indoors and store pet food inside. Close your garage door every night without fail.  Bring your pets inside at night, too. A small animal is no match for a hungry bear. 

An adult black bear wears between 125 and 400 pounds.  They are strong enough to rip doors off cars and can run up to 35 miles an hour, climb trees quickly and swim well. They can smell food from a mile away.  A bear on the street or on the trail is dangerous. If you see a bear in your neighborhood, stay inside and bring your pets in, too. If you are hiking in Open Space and see a bear, follow the instructions to back away slowly. It's best to hike in groups and make noise as you move.  A surprised bear is a dangerous bear. 

Landscape Committee Report
High Desert homeowners can now view the full  Landscape Assessment Report here as a pdf. That report was submitted last spring to the Board by the Landscape Committee, led by homeowner Ray Berg. 

The report, including recommendations, was the result of more than a year's effort by the Committee and several dozen High Desert volunteers who surveyed all the common areas and portions of open space within the community. 

Billing Information For Residents
High Desert residents now have several options for paying assessments. Billing information and payment instructions can be found on the Billing Information page. 

Wildlife in High Desert
Do you have any terrific pictures of wildlife in High Desert that you'd like to share?  Submit your photos (in jpeg form) to and we'll post them on our Wildlife in High Desert page. The top photo was taken in High Desert by Bruce Loughridge.  The lizard was seen on a large boulder in Bruce's front yard in Mountain Highlands back in 2007.  He said it measured about 10 inches from front to back and his mate was lounging in the shade nearby.

The hummingbird photo below was taken by Steve Hamm in August 2014.  These birds are everywhere in High Desert this summer.

Notices & Reminders


  To see "Notices and Reminders" for High Desert,
click here.


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