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Posted 10/1/2012

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The Chief’s Awards of Excellence Program recognizes superior projects of innovation accomplished by the Corps and private sector design and construction community partners around the world.

In its 46th year, the program has expanded this year to include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Sustainability Awards Program, which reaffirms the Corps’ ongoing commitment to help the Army and the Nation reach its energy security and sustainability goals.

A jury composed of nationally recognized environmental professionals singled out 15 projects and individuals for awards this year, and the District’s Ecosystem Restoration (Rt66) Project was selected for an Environmental Honor Award.

The purpose of the project is to reconnect and restore 121 acres of riparian cottonwood woodland (“bosque”) along a 2.5 mile stretch of the Rio Grande in the heart of Albuquerque, N.M.

Connecting urban and natural environments, the project eliminates non-native vegetation, creates more opportunities for recreational access and combats evaporative and other water loss issues. Stakeholders and customers included the sponsor, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD), and the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division (which co-manages the study area with MRGCD), Bernalillo County, and the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission.  The study area fell entirely within the sponsor-managed Rio Grande Valley State Park.

“Together, in 2010, we completed the construction on the Rt66 project, and, today, we continue to monitor the project to measure the biological success of the ecosystem features we developed,” said Project Manager Alicia Austin Johnson.

“It has tremendous public support.”

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