Ripples

The Official Newsletter of the River Reach Foundation

 

March 2021

 

Among the Waters Trail Update

Part One

Amanda Garcia

The last few years, the City of Farmington has been interested in acquiring our family property that has been referred to as the “Garcia property” located on The San Juan River, to connect its trail system.  In the past, we were hesitant to sell to the city, because of our deep emotional attachment to our property.  However, over the course of the last 3 months or so, our sentiments have changed.  We are not only happy to see the trail system extended onto our property, but we are looking forward to it.  Once the “Among the Waters” portion of the River Walk is extended onto our land, there will be only one last piece of property remaining to connect it all the way to Berg Park.  My father, Larry Garcia, and myself, Amanda Garcia, welcome the River Walk with open arms.

The yellow line on the photo below approximately indicates the trail on Garcia property.

Feel free to contact me, Amanda Garcia, at: 505-402-8186, bataan@amandagarcia.com

 

Animas River through Cedar Hill

Ranchmans-Terrell Irrigation Improvement and Restoration Project

Alyssa Richmand, San Juan Watershed Group Coordinator
Melissa May, San Juan Soil & Water Conservation District Manager

After five years of planning, funding requests, complex coordination, and multiple phases of construction, watershed partners have successfully completed the Ranchmans-Terrell Irrigation Improvement and Riparian Restoration Project in time for the 2021 irrigation season.

The Ranchmans-Terrell Irrigation Ditch (RT Ditch) diverts water from the Animas River in Flora Vista, NM directly downstream of the County Road 350 Bridge.  The ditch association previously backed up water to their head gate using a cobble push-up dam, which had to be rebuilt three to five times a year after runoff and storm events washed it out.  This created a maintenance headache, increased sediment loads and disturbance to the Animas River, and reduced water delivery reliability for the ditch users.  Erosion problems continued downstream, where the irrigation ditch and ditch access road were threatened by both an eroding riverbank below and precarious sandstone bluff above.  Between the diversion and south bank erosion, dense thickets of invasive Russian olive were inhibiting productive riparian habitat and posing a wildfire risk to the ditch association and local community.  All of these concerns were brought to the attention of the San Juan Watershed Group (SJWG) and San Juan Soil & Water Conservations District (San Juan SWCD) in 2016, and led to this stretch of the river being included as a priority project in the Lower Animas Watershed Based Plan.

The varied problems along this stretch of river required varied funding sources – and innovative partnerships – to begin addressing these concerns.  SJWG and SJSWCD, with neighboring watershed group, Animas Watershed Partnership, assembled a who’s who of federal, state, and private partners to carve up the multiple components of the project and fill in all the funding gaps.  These partners and funders included the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) acequia cost share from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS, NM Association of Conservation Districts (NMACD) and the NM Interstate Stream Commission (ISC), along with additional contributions of funds and expertise from New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), the Nature Conservancy (TNC), NM Office of the State Engineer (OSE), the San Juan Basin Recovery Implementation Program (SJRIP), and other partners.

Contractors Basin Hydrology Inc. (BHI) and Sunland Construction pushed the project over the finish line to get the work done on the ground.  The final suite of projects addressed the ditch’s management concerns, while promoting river resilience and riparian habitat, safer passage of fish and boaters along the Animas River, and providing a win-win example of partner coordination, grant leveraging, and valuable coordination experience for future projects.

Project components, as detailed in the map above, include a new permanent cross vane diversion structure, relocation of the RT Ditch headgate, piping of the first 2,000+ feet of the ditch below the bluff, constructing a new flume, installing J-hook structures along erosion impacted banks, and restoration of over 3 acres of riparian area that was previously infested with Russion Olive and Tamarix species.  All of the ditch improvements and revegetation are complete as of March 2021 thanks to our fantastic project partners and volunteers who assisted in the revegetation portion of the project.  SJRIP will install the final piece of the puzzle in summer 2021 – a solar powered PIT-tag monitoring system to detect the presence of any tagged Colorado pikeminnow and Razorback sucker, both endangered fish species native to the San Juan Basin, whose presence in the Animas is currently unknown.

For SJWG and SJSWCD, this project drove home the critical importance of proactive communication, perseverance through delays, and strong relationships with project partners across jurisdictional boundaries, agencies, expertise, and funding sources.  While challenging at times, this collaborative project will serve as an example for years to come on the benefits of a strong network of watershed partners working together towards a common goal.

For additional information on this project or to consult with the SJWG and San Juan SWCD on planning future projects, contact Alyssa Richmond, San Juan Watershed Group Coordinator at any time.  We look forward to supporting and working with partners throughout the San Juan and Animas Watersheds to improve water quality and watershed health.

Email:  alyssa.richmond@sanjuanswcd.com
Phone:  505-234-6040 X3

The President’s Corner

D’Ann Waters

Welcome to 2021 and to our second edition of the Ripples Newsletter!  I want to start off by saying Thank You to Karen Lupton for her excellent leadership the past 3 years.  Last year was a difficult year having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to cancel our major events.  Our Board of Directors utilized this time by updating by-laws, identifying current assets, establishing and strengthening partnerships with ORII/MRA and others, producing a policy and procedures manual, and working on developing a stable financial plan.

We started this year by holding our annual Board of Directors retreat just prior to our elections.  As we looked back at 2020 and the strategic planning we undertook and accomplished, we set four new Foundation goals.  This year we will create and put in place a fundraising plan that will support our Foundation.  We will establish a team to process, evaluate, and facilitate our major events.  We intend to create and implement special projects that will further protect, promote, and enhance our riverine corridor.  Finally, we will work on developing and placing into practice a marketing plan that will not only communicate the work of the River Reach Foundation, but will also increase engagement with new members, new donors, and the community in general.

While we are still in the COVID-19 pandemic I am very hopeful that we will soon be able to hold some of our events.  I think that our Board of Directors have created strong Foundation goals and am looking forward to working with them and with our partnerships.

Getting to Know our Board Members

D'Ann Waters

D'Ann Waters

President

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 Lupton

Karen Lupton

Past President

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 Smith

Monica Smith

Vice President

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

Debbie Braff

Treasurer

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

Chris Troyer

Secretary

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.

Bob Lehmer

Bob Lehmer

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

Gloria Lehmer

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

Cody Dudgeon

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

Gary Hanson

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).

Rick Page

Rick Page

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.

Evan Noel

Evan Noel

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.

Ryan Merrion

Ryan Merrion

James Neidhart

James Neidhart

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.

James Luther

James Luther

Doug Abe

Doug Abe

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 Your Paver Today

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.

Latest Newsletters

November 2021 Newsletter

November 2021 Newsletter

Ripples The Official Newsletter of the River Reach Foundation  November 2021  SAVE THE DATE! RIVERGLOW 2021 December 3, 2021 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm Once again we can discover Farmington's holiday spirit along the Animas River! Be sure and join us on the River...

September 2021 Newsletter

September 2021 Newsletter

Ripples The Official Newsletter of the River Reach Foundation  September 2021  SAVE THE DATE! Fall 2021 Outdoor Economics Conference & Expo September 29 - October 1 We are very excited that the New Mexico Outdoor Economics Conference will be held this...

May 2021 Newsletter

May 2021 Newsletter

Ripples The Official Newsletter of the River Reach Foundation  May 2021  Among the Waters Trail Update Part Two Amanda Garcia We are pleased and excited to announce that in addition to the continuing expansion of The River Walk, in Farmington, New Mexico, a...