Animas Park Fire Mitigation Project

PROJECT OVERVIEW

The City of Farmington is conducting fire hazard mitigation and invasive tree species (Russian olive and saltcedar) removal. This two-phase project began in March 2020 with a 10-acre portion of Animas Park near the Riverside Nature Center. Phase 2 began in November 2020 and will include 36 acres west of the nature center, the north side of Animas River at Cottonwood Landing, and near the All Veterans Memorial Plaza (see Photo 2). The project is a coordinated effort in partnership with the San Juan Soil Conservation District funded by a grant from the New Mexico Water Trust Board.

The removal of Russian olive and saltcedar trees has benefits that meet multiple regional priorities: water quantity (San Juan Regional Water Plan), ecosystem restoration (lower Animas Watershed Based Plan), and community wildfire protection.

The most urgent of these regional priorities is community wildfire protection. 

PROJECT TIMELINE 

Careful planning went into the project to be as nondisruptive as possible to wildlife in the vicinity. The Riverside Nature Center property was the first area of focus in an effort to not interfere with bird nesting season. Native vegetation will be planted in place of non-native, invasive species; an essential step in maintaining the health of the riverbank, adjacent land and wildlife.   

2020

Crews will use equipment to remove the non-native vegetation from the designated 46 acres shown in the below image. This will reduce the hazardous fuel density, create additional access for firefighters and reduce the intensity of a fire should one occur. Native vegetation will be left in place.

Next, crews will treat the area with an herbicide approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and New Mexico Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Pesticide Management. The treatment will reduce new growth of non-native species. 

Grass seed will then be applied to the mitigated areas and 500 cottonwoods will be planted.

2021

A second application of the herbicide treatment will be applied to reduce new growth of non-native species.

2022

Additional replanting of native grasses, flowers and trees will begin within the mitigated areas.

*The City’s goal is to plant an additional 100 to 300 trees in 2022 in mitigated areas. 

PREVIOUS MITIGATION

A portion of Animas Park was mitigated in 2014. The following year, 50 cottonwood trees were planted. On February 15 of 2020, 200 cottonwoods and 350 willow trees were planted.

*SAFETY NOTICE: Please observe and obey all signage while traveling through these areas. NOTE: Some areas will be closed during the project.

Overall Map Jan 202146 acres at Animas/Berg Park to be mitigated. Yellow areas are Phase 2 & are in progress.

ADDITIONAL FACTS

  • A single Russian olive tree can consume 80 to 120 gallons of water per day. Some areas of the City have over 400 trees per acre. That’s enough water to fill the lap pool at Bisti Bay.
  • There are 72,500 acres of land in the San Juan Basin. There are over 23,000 high-risk acres in the City of Farmington. (San Juan Basin Community Wildfire Protection Plan)
  • The calculated water savings of the 36-acre portion of the project is 1,440,000 gallons of water per day. One day's savings would provide enough water for 100 head of deer for 49 years.

Questions about the Animas/Berg Park Mitigation Project may be directed to the Farmington Fire Department at 505-599-1430

The City of Farmington would like to thank all its project partners for their efforts in helping keep our community safe!

The Animas/Berg Park Mitigation Project is a coordinated effort of the Farmington Fire Department, City of Farmington Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Affairs Department, and the San Juan Soil Conservation District. Funded through a grant from the New Mexico Water Trust Board.

Printable project brochure is available HERE.