Rio Grande by A. Molles
Bosque Restoration Demonstration Project: Public Education and Community Participation

Project Type: Outreach, Habitat Enhancement

BBMP Recommendations Met: 8, 11, 12, 13, 14

Purpose/Objectives: The many groups now working to solve the sizable problems facing the Rio Grande agree about one thing: the need for public education and outreach is essential to our collective efforts. This project has been specifically designed to provide public education and promote community participation in the restoration of the Rio Grande bosque, while restoring a 5-acre bosque site along Tingley Beach in Albuquerque.

Digging holes for pole planting

Background: Since 1999, Rio Grande Restoration has developed a number of education and outreach initiatives, with the objective of enabling the general public to become more knowledgeable about the river and the bosque. The Bosque Restoration Demonstration Project is one of these initiatives.

Restoration activities throughout the Middle Rio Grande are ongoing. The accumulation of high fuel loads is one of the major concerns for the Albuquerque reach of the Middle Rio Grande bosque. There is a vital link between public awareness about fire dangers and the importance of bosque restoration. The Bosque Restoration Demonstration Project is a joint effort of Rio Grande Restoration, City of Albuquerque Open Space Division, and the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, with the cooperation of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, to address fuels reduction and bosque restoration within the Rio Grande Valley State Park. This project was designed for public education purposes, to graphically depict the contrast between a restored bosque and the bosque in its present condition. It also has a public participation component, providing opportunities for hands-on bosque restoration activities.

The project site is on 5 acres of a proposed 10-acre restoration site located on the east side of the Rio Grande between Central Avenue and Bridge Blvd., along Tingley Drive, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The site was selected because of public access and visibility of its location.

Scope: During January and February, 2001, a major clearing of under-story (fuel materials) was completed by inmate work crews, who worked under the supervision of the State Forestry Division of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources. Volunteers then further cleared the area. In early April 2001, more than 30 volunteers from local neighborhoods, area churches, environmental organizations, and other concerned citizens, participated in planting cottonwood poles. In June 2001, construction and other sizable debris were hauled away by Lafarge. Rio Grande Restoration conducted tours throughout the year of the Bosque Restoration Demonstration Project site for city leaders, members of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District staff and Board of Directors, representatives of the Hispanic Cultural Center, and Leadership Albuquerque. The site was also used for Open Space Division educational programs. Rio Grande Restoration, along with the Open Space Division, organized volunteer efforts that included removal of smaller debris and garbage and replanting the area with native species. Restoration efforts and stewardship programs will continue with the anticipated participation of teachers and students, community leaders, churches, synagogues, neighborhood associations, and others.

Pole planting

 

Benefits: The project has raised public awareness about the importance of bosque restoration by creating a highly visible contrast between a deteriorating bosque and a restored bosque. It has also alerted the community to the issue of bosque fires. The accessibility of the site has enabled public participation in bosque restoration activities. Signage at the site will inform visitors about the project and its benefits.

General project location: Tingley Drive, between Central & Bridge, in Albuquerque

Approximate project size: 5-10 acres

Period of performance: April 2001 - April 2002

Project status as of April 2002: Project work continues with additional funding from the Bureau of Reclamation.

Collaborators/Partners: City of Albuquerque - Open Space Division, New Mexico State Parks and Recreation - Rio Grande Nature Center, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, New Mexico, Minerals, and Energy Division of Forestry - Inmate Work Camp

Primary contact information:
Deb Hibbard
Middle Rio Grande Bosque Coordinator
131 Harvard Drive SE, #2
Albuquerque, NM 87106
Ph: 505-266-3609
rioheart@rt66.com

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