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 fall in Farmington at the Civic Center. The conference will highlight the economic development efforts to develop and enhance opportunities to grow our outdoor recreation economy. Starting on Wednesday, September 29th there will be a welcome reception along with the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. On Thursday there will be some very informative panel discussions given by leaders from New Mexico and across the outdoor industry. There will also be outdoor products expositions and the evening event will be a party by the river held at the Farmington Museum. Friday morning will be some more panel discussions on building our outdoor economy and then each attendant will be able to take a free trip that afternoon. When you register for the conference, you will be able to choose your trip from a list of 10. That list includes a rafting trip, a Bisti wilderness trip, fly fishing on the San Juan river, a round of golf at Pinon Hills, a Chokecherry Canyon 4 X 4 trip, a river and bike adventure, a mountain bike trails run, tours of the Aztec Ruins National Monument and Crow Canyon rock art tour and a majestic enchantment tour that includes the Wines of the San Juan. The cost for the conference is $95 and you must provide a copy of your COVID vaccine card or a negative test result. Don’t procrastinate as some of the tours will fill up fast, especially the rafting and 4 X 4trips. For more information and to register to attend the conference go to https://outdooreconomics.com.

Animas River through Cedar Hill

The Animas River flows through Cedar Hill, Wednesday, Dec 23, 2020, near the place the county plans to build a new boat launch. Hannah Grover/The Daily Times

San Juan County has designed a new public boat ramp on the Animas River in Cedar Hill

As stated in our last newsletter, the County Commission approved a $170,000 budget adjustment to move forward with the project. It will be the only public river access between Durango, CO and Aztec, NM located on the former D&RGW Rail right-of-way near the highway bridge on US 550.

www.daily-times.com

The President’s Corner

D’Ann Waters

Summer is almost over, the children are back in school, and fall is just around the corner! The River Reach Foundation has had a busy summer. Even though most of the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in May, we were still not able to hold our annual Riverfest event over the Memorial Day weekend. We did however, launch a new event, the Animas River Jam. It was a much scaled back event consisting of just music and food vendors. During the event we had volunteers walking around asking the public to fill out a short survey to let us know how they felt about the event. In return we offered them the chance to win one of two outdoor recreation trips. One was a rafting trip provided by the Desert River Guides and the other was a full day 4-wheel drive trip provided by Black Bear Unlimited. Congratulations to Bruce Higgins who won the raft trip and Dan Grace who won the 4-wheel drive trip! We were amazed at the number of positive responses we received from the surveys and the Foundation voted to make the Animas River Jam an annual fall event. Our next Animas River Jam will be held in October of 2022.

We have continued to work with the New Mexico Strategic Event Recovery Readiness Initiative (SERRI) and have started implementing some of their recommended changes to reinvigorate Riverfest 2022. We contracted with Ken Collins Marketing to redo and update our River Reach Foundation web page. RiverReachFoundation.com is now up and running so please check it out and let us know what you think of the changes and additions that were made.

Other News

Ken Collins Marketing is now in the process of producing a stand-alone Riverfest web page. This web page will provide the public an easier method of connecting with all the various aspects of the Riverfest event. Each event during Riverfest will have its own page making it easier for the public to learn about the event and how they can participate in it. Hopefully we will have that web page up and running by the end of October.

The Board of Directors made some changes to our by-laws regarding River Reach Foundation memberships. We now have six different membership levels. In addition to our individual annual membership, we now offer an individual 5 year membership level. We have added a family annual membership level and a 5- year family membership. Another new addition is offering full time high school and college students a free membership. Finally we have our corporate annual memberships. Our new membership form is included in this newsletter.

Last month the Financial team submitted a grant offered by the New Mexico Economic Development Department called the Outdoor Recreation Trails + Grant. If granted we will be able to provide informational, educational, and warning signage at eight raft put in locations along both the Animas and San Juan Rivers.

Finally, we have contracted with Zia Drone Operations to provide a 2 – 3 hour video of our Riverine Corridor. The video will be shown at the Outdoor Recreation Conference this month. Portions of it will also be included on our Foundation web page.

What’s the Scoop on Poop in the San Juan Watershed?

Alyssa Richmond
San Juan Watershed Group Coordinator
San Juan Soil & Water Conservation District
alyssa.richmond@sanjuanswcd.com

505-234-6040 X3

Bacteria pollution in the San Juan Watershed has been an ongoing concern of the New Mexico Environment Department Surface Water Quality Bureau (NMED SWQB) and the San Juan Watershed Group (SJWG) for over two decades and poses serious health risks to the community if ingested unprocessed in high quantities. The San Juan River, Animas River, La Plata River, and other select tributaries have been listed as impaired for bacteria (i.e. containing quantities of E.coli over the EPA’s acceptable threshold) for at least 10 years, and both the NMED SWQB and SJWG have taken an active role in conducting water quality monitoring, on the ground projects, and public education to reduce the presence of fecal bacteria in our waterways.

In 2013 and 2014, the SJWG partnered with the NMED SWQB to conduct a Microbial Source Tracking study asking the simple question: Who pooped in the river? This study provided valuable information on host organisms of fecal bacteria and found that 46% of our E.coli samples exceeded the single sample standard for primary contact

(swimming), 94% of our samples tested positive for human source bacteria, and revealed a magnitude of increase in the concentration of human source bacteria on the San Juan River between Farmington and the Hogback.

Now in 2021, we’re partnering with NMED SWQB again to ask the next question: Where is the poop in our river coming from and what can we do about it? On a monthly basis between August and October, lead samplers from the SJWG and volunteer watershed dectives will sample over 17 locations along the San Juan River, Animas River, La Plata River, Shumway Arroyo, and Stevens Arroyo. Both E.coli and human source bacteria concentrations will be analyzed to answer the following questions on a watershed scale. Are high concentrations of bacteria still present? If so, where is the bacteria coming from? How much is coming from these areas? What further outreach, projects, and services can be done to reduce the amount of bacteria entering our waterways? Sampling will be conducted by both raft and vehicle travel, providing volunteers a fun and bird’s eye experience to learn river ecology, watershed science, and what it means to study water quality.

If you’d like to join for a sampling day, register for your spot by contacting me at the above address. Hurry, as space is limited! We’re looking forward to sharing the results of our research and a path forward in winter of 2021.

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.

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