River Cross-Vanes

Jul 7, 2021 | Projects

In 2018 the City of Farmington completed the construction of five CROSS VANES over a run of 4,700 linear feet on the Animas River in Berg and Animas Parks. A cross vane is made up of a set of upstream angled boulders which concentrate flows down the center of the river channel and away from the banks. The scouring of the center of the channel during high flows creates a deep elongated pool. Low flow gravel bars are added along the river, which are then planted with native willows to stabilize them. The low flow channels within the river are deepened between the cross vane structures. The advantages of these features include bank stabilization, deepened channels, improved fish habitat, and enhanced whitewater rafting experience. The visual and auditory experience of water falling over boulders also increases the aesthetics of the river.

This ”Rock Garden” project was first proposed in 2004 by members of the River Reach Foundation Board of Directors. In 2012 the River Reach Foundation hired Riverbend Engineering, at the cost of $7,500, to study the river, create an engineering design, and develop construction contract documents for the project. After the design was created it was submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers for approval, which was received in 2014. Funding sources were not available at the time.

In 2014, Governor Susana Martinez and the New Mexico Environmental Department created River Stewardship Funds to improve surface water and stream habitat. The City applied unsuccessfully for these funds, but the Gold King Mine Spill in 2015 created enough leverage that a subsequent application was approved. The project design was updated, the Corps of Engineers permit was successfully resubmitted, and the project went out for bid in the fall of 2017. The project cost just under $200,000 and required almost 300 boulders, 3-5 feet in length and 1-3 feet in thickness.

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