Bosque Restoration Lecture

On Wednesday March 2nd at 7:00 p.m. at the NM Museum of Natural History (1801 Mountain Rd. NW, Albuquerque), the public is invited to a program focused on ecosystem restoration concepts and techniques for the bosque (cottonwood riparian woodland) as part of the Middle Rio Grande Restoration Project presented by Ondrea Hummel, Ecologist for the Albuquerque District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project has focused on increasing the diversity and quality of wildlife habitat, reducing the fire hazard, and increasing personal safety in the bosque through the removal of the metal jetty jacks, debris, and the dense thickets of non-native vegetation (salt cedar, Russian olive, & Siberian elm). Restoration features include reconnecting the river and floodplain through the construction of bank terraces and high flow channels. Where these features overlap with trails, pedestrian bridges are included to allow access across the features during high flows, creating educational opportunities. Revegetation strategies include cottonwood pole plantings, the construction of willow swales, and other native plant plantings.

Ondrea Hummel has been active in the field of riparian and wetland restoration efforts for the past 21 years.  She is currently an Ecologist with the Environmental Resources Section, Planning Branch, Albuquerque District. She completed her Bachelors degree in Biology in 1992 from Keuka College in upstate New York, her Masters degree in Biology in 1994 from The Florida Institute of Technology, and has completed 10 years toward her PhD in Biology with a concentration in Restoration Ecology at the University of New Mexico.  Her work focuses on environmental restoration efforts throughout New Mexico, west Texas, and southeastern Colorado.

On Sunday March 6th, Ondrea will lead a tour of the San Antonio oxbow from 9:00 a.m. to11:00 a.m. The tour will illustrate activities that are designed to improve the “plumbing” of the oxbow by properly managing water levels and flow within the oxbow wetland. Features illustrated during the tour include installation of culverts, excavation of an open water area, and reconnection of river bank line terraces to the river. Selective thinning of non-native vegetation and revegetation of native plants also occurred as part of the project constructed in 2015. The Oxbow Restoration project was designed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in concert with the project sponsor, the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division. The project was also designed in cooperation with the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) and Bosque School. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the City of Albuquerque Open Space parking lot on the SW side of the Montano bridge. Access to the parking lot is on Montano Road driving east from Coors Blvd.

A short chapter meeting precedes the talk on March 2nd.  Native plant books will be on display and available for purchase.  This free public program and field trip are sponsored by the Albuquerque Chapter, Native Plant Society of New Mexico.  More information about the organization is available at www.npsnm.org.

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