Animas Park Fire Mitigation Project
The City of Farmington will be conducting fire hazard mitigation and invasive tree species (Russian olive and saltcedar) removal beginning in March 2020 to a 10-acre portion of Animas Park. 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), water quality and ecosystem restoration (lower Animas Watershed Based Plan), and community wildfire protection.
The Animas Park Mitigation Project will take place over three years beginning in March 2020 and ending in 2022. Careful planning went into the project to be as nondisruptive as possible to wildlife in the vicinity. The Riverside Nature Center property will be 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.
Crews will use saws and chippers to remove the non-native vegetation from the designated 10 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.
A second application of the herbicide treatment will be applied to reduce new growth of non-native species.
Replanting of native grasses, flowers and trees will begin within the mitigated areas.
A portion of Animas Park was mitigated in 2014. The following year, 50 cottonwood trees were planted. On February 15 of this year, 200 additional cottonwoods were planted along with 350 willow trees.
*The City of Farmington’s goal is to plant an additional 100 to 300 trees in 2022 in the previously mitigated area.
*SAFETY NOTICE: Please observe and obey all signage while traveling through these areas. NOTE: Some areas will be closed during the project.
- 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)
- From 2008 to present, over 7,500 acres of hazardous fuels were treated or removed from the San Juan Basin at a cost over $5 million.
For more information about the Animas Park Mitigation Project, please visit ffdnm.org OR call 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 Park Mitigation 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.