Parts of Animas Park could be closed as crews remove invasive species like Russian olive

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
A Russian olive tree is covered in herbicide March 10, 2020, in Farmington's Animas Park after the tree was cut down.

AZTEC — Crews will remove non-native vegetation including Russian olive and salt cedar, also known as tamarisk, from three locations starting Nov. 2 in Animas Park.

This is phase two of the Animas Park Mitigation Project and locations include west of the Riverside Nature Center, the north side of the Animas River near the rapids at Cottonwood Landing and the north side of the river near All Veterans Memorial Plaza, according to a press release issued by the City of Farmington.

During the process, parts of the park will be closed and the city is asking trail users to observe and obey signage.

Phase one of the project began in March with a 10-acre location near the nature center.

The Animas Park river trail is seen, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Farmington.

The City of Farmington is partnering with the San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District on the project, which is funded by grants.

While non-native plants are being removed, native vegetation will remain in place.

The project will reduce fire danger by removing dense plants that create hazardous fuel conditions. Removing the plants also creates additional access for firefighters if a blaze does spark and reduces the potential intensity of a fire, the press release states.

The three-step process will take about three years to complete. This year the crews are removing the invasive species and treating the area with an herbicide that has been approved by both the U.S. Environmental Protection agency and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Pesticide Management.

This herbicide will reduce the regrowth of non-native vegetation. A second application of herbicide will be applied in 2021 and, in 2022, crews will plant native grasses, flowers and trees in the areas where the non-native species were removed.

More information is available by calling 505-599-1430.

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