Animas Watershed Partnership awarded $83,000 for restoration project near Farmington


FARMINGTON — A federal program will help fund restoration work on the Animas River near Farmington, according to a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation press release.

The Animas Watershed Partnership was one of seven organizations to receive funding from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for WaterSMART Watershed Management Projects.

The Animas Watershed Partnership is a collaboration of agencies from New Mexico, Colorado and the Southern Ute tribe that began in 2002 to address water quality in the Animas River.

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When reached by phone Friday, Peter Soeth, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said a total of 11 entities applied for funding. The projects were ranked based on several criteria, which focused on local collaboration to improve the watersheds. Nearly $665,000 was awarded to the seven entities.

"Cooperative watershed groups bring together diverse partners to address water management needs in their local communities," Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner Alan Mikkelsen said in a press release.

Mikkelsen said the projects were collaboratively developed with communities and will "help restore watersheds and reduce water conflicts."

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About $83,000 was awarded to the Animas Watershed Partnership. The $83,000 will be supplemented by additional funding from the Ranchmans-Terrell Ditch Association, the San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District, Basin Hydrology Inc. and the Five Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The total restoration project will cost about $167,000.

Soeth said this is the first year the WaterSMART program has awarded funding for the projects. The funding is part of the second phase of the project, which the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began in 2012. Soeth said the first phase focused on encouraging local collaboration through the establishment of watershed partnerships. He said future funding will be dependent on the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's budget.

Other projects that will receive the funding from the Bureau of Reclamation include the Boise River Enhancement Network's project on Cottonwood Creek in Idaho, Cienga Watershed Partnership streambank and riparian restoration along Cienga Creek in Arizona, the Eagle River Watershed Council Inc.'s project to improve stream flows in Abrams Creek in Colorado, Friends of the Teton River's project to stabilize the Teton Valley Aquifer in Idaho, the Gila Watershed Partnership's removal of invasive tamarisk and restoration of native vegetation in Arizona, and the Truckee Watershed Council Inc.'s project to restore Martis Creek within the Martis Wildlife Area in California.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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