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City Advises Caution as Spring Runoff Invites Rio Grande Recreation

City and State partner to highlight river safety.
May 15, 2024

With the Rio Grande flowing high with spring runoff, City and State officials are highlighting recreation opportunities and river safety.

“Our city is fortunate to have the beautiful Rio Grande running right through it, to be enjoyed by all Albuquerque’s families and visitors,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “However, it’s critical that we all remember to respect the river, use caution, and be mindful of its potential dangers.”

Spring runoff has increased the river’s flow, which is typical for this time of year. The Rio Grande is a dynamic system.  While the river offers fun recreation through the heart of the City, dangerous obstacles and other risks change as the river rises, falls and shifts within its banks. The Rio Grande moves an incredible amount of sediment and depths in the river can quickly change as sediment shifts.

“The best way to make sure your summer adventure on New Mexico’s waterways is safe and memorable is by wearing a properly fitted life jacket,” said Toby Velasquez, NM State Parks Director. “Regardless of your age or experience level, always remember, Chalecos salvavidas salvan vidas, usalos.” 

The most important element of safe river recreation for people of all ages is wearing a certified personal flotation device (PFD).  New Mexico boating safety law requires children 12 and under to wear a life jacket at all times while boating. Along with a life jacket, boaters are required to have a throw rope, paddle or oar, and sound producing device. Boaters should check water and weather conditions before heading out to safely recreate on the river. Boaters on the Rio Grande should be aware of their location and pay attention the mile markers along the river, should they need to report an emergency

“AFR and our partners that cover the Middle Rio Grande Valley responded to roughly 70 water rescues over the past year,” said AFR Battalion Chief of Special Operations Kathryn Basile. “Don’t ever take the water for granted.”

As part of National River Cleanup Day, the Parks and Recreation Department/Open Space Division will be cleaning up along the Rio Grande and planting native plants and grasses as part of post-treatment restoration following the wildfire mitigation project

“Enjoy the Rio Grande and take responsibility to help protect it,” said Parks & Recreation Department Director Dave Simon.

Safe recreation also includes keeping the Bosque protected from fire. Stage I Fire Restrictions are in place year-round in all Open Space areas; these restrictions include no smoking, no fireworks, no open fires, and no camping.  Residents that witness suspicious activity should call 242-COPS.