Officials from the Corps, the City of Las Cruces, N.M., and state legislative representatives participated in a groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 29 for a $1.5 million environmental restoration project near the Las Cruces Dam.
Deputy District Commander Maj. Gary Bonham represented the District and told those convened that the planning phase of the project was the result of a strong, collaborative effort between the Corps and the City.
“We salute the City’s efforts in helping to develop a project that will meet multiple community needs and expectations,” Bonham said. “Completion of this project will allow the Las Cruces Dam to continue its operation and maintenance for the purpose of flood risk management, improve the ecological habitat behind the dam for fish and wildlife, and provide environmental education and recreational opportunities for the community.”
One result of the partnering effort was that the City installed a reclaimed water line specifically for the project. Since then, the City has allocated 10,000 gallons of reclaimed water per day for a newly created wetland, which will result in the wetland remaining a permanent feature and available to migratory birds. The project area is on the migratory path, and wetland resting areas are few and far between.
City Manager Robert Garza remarked that, “This 1.5 million dollar project will help restore environmental integrity to the Las Cruces Dam and surrounding area. This city-owned project area, part of the Chihuahuan Desert, could potentially become the next Central Park. Think of it this way: Central Park in New York City is 500 acres; the area of city-owned land along the Las Cruces Dam is 700 acres. We have lots of visions.”
The Corps awarded the contract for the project to Pate Construction Inc., an 8(a) Small Business, and the project is expected to be completed in July 2014.
“The Corps is honored to be partnering with the City of Las Cruces for the planning and construction of this important project,” Bonham said. “We look forward to returning to Las Cruces for the ribbon cutting ceremony at its completion.”