The Official Newsletter of the River Reach Foundation
The River Reach Foundation
February 3, 2022 – 6:00pm
Farmington Civic Center
All members of the River Reach Foundation along with anyone interested in joining or learning more about the Foundation are encouraged to attend this meeting. Your annual dues will need to be paid prior to the ability to vote for any directors or officers whose terms are expiring. Please note that our dues structure has changed. The current dues amounts can be found by clicking here: Membership Levels.
Riverfest is Back!
May 27, 28, & 29, 2022
We are excited to be able to hold our signature event once again over the Memorial Day Weekend. Thank you to both Evan Noel and Jim Neidhart for agreeing to chair the event this year. Our new website RiverfestNewMexico.com is up and running and will be updated as our schedule becomes finalized. All our favorite events are back and we are hoping to add a new one so keep checking the Riverfest web page for updates. Vendors packets are already online along with the ability to purchase duck tickets. The volunteers’ portion will be online shortly.
The President’s Corner
I would like to wish everyone a healthy and happy 2022 new year! On behalf of the entire River Reach Foundation, we want to say thank you to the entire City of Farmington Parks and Recreation division for all the hard work they have done during these most difficult past two years. We also say thank you to all the first responders that have been taking care of everyone exposed and suffering from the Covid-19 virus. Hopefully 2022 will see an end to the pandemic and some form of normalcy will return.
On a happy note, we are excited to be able to hold the Riverfest event this coming Memorial Day weekend. As soon as we receive the money that we were awarded from the Outdoor Recreation Trails+ Grant we will start designing the 8 informational signs that will be placed at the rafting put ins between Penny Lane and Westland Park. This spring we will begin assisting the City in reforesting the area that underwent extensive species removal. More information on that project is included in an article in this newsletter. We are also looking forward to holding a second “Animas River Jam” this fall on October 8, 2022.
RIVER REACH REFORESTATION PROJECT
At its November, 2021 meeting, the Board of Directors of the River Reach Foundation voted to purchase twenty five native trees with a 2-3 inch caliper (diameter) to be planted in the field west of the Riverside Nature Center to assist with the reforestation of the area. The City of Farmington has submitted a grant application to fund additional trees and an irrigation system, and the Friends of the Nature Center are also looking at ways to assist. The opportunity for citizens to sponsor additional trees will be developed closer to project implementation. The Farmington Fire Department acquired a grant through the San Juan Soil Conservation District via the New Mexico Water Trust Board for invasive species removal, specifically Russian olive and saltcedar. A single Russian olive consumes 80-120 gallons of groundwater per day. The removal has three purposes: wildfire protection, ecosystem restoration, and water quality improvement.
Areas east of the Riverside Nature Center, across the river at Cottonwood landing, and around the All Veteran’s Memorial were mitigated, but it wasn’t as noticeable. However, the area west of the Nature Center was a thickly wooded area almost exclusively Russian olive, and their removal was a visual shock.
The multi-year project will include repeated application of EPA approved herbicides to the Russian olive stumps and continual physical removal of regrowth. In year 3 there will be replanting of native grasses and groundcover. The project calls for 500 cottonwood pole plantings, but the River Reach Foundation saw a need for larger trees to be added sooner. We are hoping that the Farmington Parks Department will be able to implement this planting as an Arbor Day project in late April 2022.
RIVERFEST VOLUNTEER LOCAL
This year Riverfest 2022 will be using a new tool to recruit volunteers called VolunteerLocal. VolunteerLocal is a web application which will allow volunteers to complete a simple volunteer application, and select the area and shifts they would like to volunteer for. Once the volunteer completes the application they can log back in using their email address and review, change or cancel their volunteer shift.
The VolunteerLocal application:
- Allows the administrator to build custom application forms to collect volunteer information.
- Quickly and easily recruits volunteers online using VolunteerLocal’s self-scheduling interface.
- Allows the administrator to send emails and SMS (text messages) to volunteers anytime.
- Can personalize messages and easily send message to specific recipients.
Like most things in life, volunteering is more fun with friends. Volunteers can share our signup page through their social media accounts.
We are excited to try out this new application and anticipate that we will use it for other volunteer events in the future. Look for a link to volunteer on the RiverFest 2022 website coming soon.
THE LATEST SCOOP ON WATERSHED HEALTH IN THE LOWER ANIMAS VALLEY:
THE 2021 UPDATED LOWER ANIMAS WATERSHED BASED PLAN
Alyssa Richmond, San Juan Watershed Group Coordinator
When you stroll down the many popular river trails along the beautiful Animas River at Animas & Berg Parks in Farmington on a hot summers day, what thoughts flow through your mind? Many of us are in awe of the lifeline that the river provides for our community, marvel at the wildlife and habitat that its web of waterways support, and immediately want to take a dip in the river, all at the same time! As the saying goes, water is life. Going further, our rivers reflect the health of our community back to us. In 2001, the community took note of that reflection when algae blooms choked the river and spurred the San Juan Watershed Group to ask – what does the water quality of our river tell us about our impacts to the Animas Watershed, and what can we do to improve it?
The Lower Animas River was first added to the State of New Mexico’s impaired waters list in 2002. Since then, state monitoring has frequently found levels of nutrients, E. coli bacteria, turbidity, and temperature in the Animas to be higher than acceptable levels. After many years of extensive water quality studies, land use analysis, coordination with federal, state, and local agencies and community members, and implementing pilot restoration projects, the San Juan Watershed Group published the EPA approved Lower Animas Watershed Based Plan (LAWBP) in 2016. As a living workplan, the LAWBP serves as a wholistic road map for stakeholders to collaborate on a menu of on-the-ground projects, future studies, and community outreach strategies to improve the quality of the water flowing across the landscape before joining the Animas River.
With the plan in hand, the San Juan Watershed Group and partners spearheaded the completion of over 20 of the projects described throughout its pages over the past 5 years. These projects include soil health plans with private landowners, Russian Olive and Salt Cedar restoration throughout the river corridor, cattle management and pasture improvement plans with ranchers, erosion control and bank stabilization projects in riparian and upland areas, and irrigation infrastructure improvements, just to name a few. Keeping this progress and lessons learned in mind, the San Juan Watershed Group revisited the LAWBP to document these endeavors and are pleased to announce that the 2021 Updated LAWBP is available for reference and inspiration to all.
While we are proud of the progress that has been made in the Lower Animas Watershed over the past five years, there is much more work to do to achieve lasting water quality and watershed health improvements. If you would like to discuss what you can do to join this initiative, receive technical assistance, or include your ideas in the LAWBP, please contact the San Juan Watershed Group Coordinator, Alyssa Richmond, at email@example.com or 505-234-6040 x3. We look forward to hearing from you and are eager to see what the next 5 years bring!
Getting to Know our Board Members
D'Ann Waters joined the River Reach Foundation in 2017. She was the vice-president last year and is the newly elected president. D'Ann is a retired Travel Consultant and Real Estate Broker. She is a firm believer in continual learning and has recently completed two courses in accounting and is looking forward to finding another less complicated course to take.
Karen serves as the Immediate Past President of the River Reach Foundation. She enjoys looking for ways to connect people with the beautiful rivers here in Farmington and working to put on events that bring people down to the river!
Monica serves as the current vice president of the foundation. Monica was born and raised in Farmington. And has served on the foundation for the past three years. Monica enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and fishing.
Debbie Braff joined the River Reach Foundation in 2003 and currently serves as the Treasurer. She is a retired Farmington school principal. Her hobbies include photography, landscape gardening, and walking or hiking her golden retrievers at the River or up on Hood Mesa.
Chris Troyer, River Reach Member since 2017. Moved to Farmington in 2013 with ConocoPhillips. Currently retired. I enjoy walking my dog Chester, hiking, playing Pickle ball, traveling to see my grandchildren in Texas and Washington and volunteering. Currently board member at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Volunteered with the City to inventory all items in the museum collection.
Co Chairman of the PRCA Riverine Task Force in 1984. Became a founding member of the River Reach Foundation in 1986 and its first President. Has continued since as a member of the Board of Directors. Started the first Riverfest (1987)and Riverglo (1998).
Gloria Lehmer has been participating in the events and trails on our Rivers since she moved back from College in the late 80’s. She’s been a River Reach Foundation Board Member for a number of years, and currently serves as the Goal Team #1.
Cody Dudgeon is a teacher at Piedra Vista High School who grew up in Flora Vista beside the Animas River. He and his wife have been whitewater raft guides in Montana and Idaho and appreciate the beauty and quality of life that rivers provide the communities on their banks. After moving back to New Mexico in 2015 Cody joined the River Reach foundation to help promote the protection, and advocate for the sustainable use, of our local rivers. Beginning this spring Cody and his wife's new venture Desert River Guides will be offering river raft trips on the Animas and San Juan rivers. As a community member who walks the trails with his daughter and a small business owner starting a company based on river recreation, Cody believes that the River Reach Foundation is an essential part of the future of Farmington.
Gary Hanson is a retired lawyer. He and his wife, Jeanne, moved to Farmington in 2018 as an "adventure" destination and love their new home. Gary's interests include hiking, biking, exploring the Four Corners, and spending time with good friends (both two and four-legged).
I joined the Board in the mid 90’s as near as I can remember, no one I’ve talked to has any specific records. I was both Board president and Riverfest chairman in 2003 and 2004. My hobbies include my grandkids, rafting, hiking, camping, fishing and cooking. During my time one the Board, I’ve been involved in numerous river projects including boat launches, Animas / San Juan river guide, bank stabilization projects, Penny Lane Dam reconstruction, Rocky Reach rapid construction and reconstruction modification.
Born In Farmington. Graduated From FHS 2001. BA in business administration UNM. Former ABO Certified Optician in Albuquerque/Santa Fe area. Moved back to Farmington to worked for the Family business, Noel’s Inc. for 14 years. Secretary, Rotary Club of Farmington. Commissioner Farmington PRCA. Board Member San Juan big Brothers Big Sisters. 4-time Fantasy Football Champion. Yoga enthusiast. Father of Two wonderful Boys.
My wife and I moved to Farmington in 1996 in no small part because of the River Walk and community spirit. I joined the River Reach Foundation board in 2021. Now about four years retired, I enjoy family, farming, fishing, reading, gardening, and horses.
Join the River Reach Foundation
Help the Foundation meet its goals by becoming a member today!
As a member, you are entitled to voting privileges in Foundation matters. Members are encouraged to attend the Foundation's meetings which occur on the first Thursday of each month at 6:00 PM at the Farmington Civic Center. If you have any questions or concerns, please call (505) 716-4405.
Buy a Custom Brick Paver
Purchase your engraved custom memorial, family, or business concrete paver to show your support for the river trails. Your paver will be located in a highly visible location at the River Reach Terrace for all river walk visitors to see and enjoy every day for years to come.
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River Reach Foundation · P.O. Box 2056 · Farmington, NM 87499-2056 · 505.716.4405 · firstname.lastname@example.org