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Bosque Thinning & Restoration Project

Project Description

The City of Albuquerque and Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District are implementing a Wildfire Mitigation Project. The City’s Albuquerque Fire and Rescue and Open Space Division secured a nearly $1,000,000 FEMA grant in 2019 to reduce the severity of catastrophic wildfires, support overall forest health, and protect infrastructure of significant value including public facilities such as the Abq. BioPark and National Hispanic Cultural Center. The City completed the first phase of the project by working with SWCA Environmental Consultants on a comprehensive Environmental Assessment and project plan that FEMA approved in September 2023. The second phase of the grant is to implement the project plan, which started in December 2023 and will continue until mid-April 2024.

The total project area is 470 acres on both the west and east sides of the Rio Grande, south of Bridge Boulevard to north of Central Avenue. However, only 193.5 acres were treated in 14 Units (reference the map at the bottom of the page) during implementation—around 4% of the total area that the Open Space Division manages within the Bosque.

The project area is where wildland fires have the most occurrences within the Bosque. In the last five years, the number of fire incidents that the Albuquerque Fire and Rescue has responded to in the area has more than doubled—from 86 incidents in 2019 to 235 in 2023.  One of the greatest threats to the Bosque ecosystem is the threat of fire since it’s not fire-adapted, which is exacerbated as the area continues to experience persistent droughts. Reducing the likelihood and severity of a high-level disturbance such as fire is vital to keeping the Bosque habitat intact for wildlife and community benefit.

The project focused on removing non-native species of plants as well as thinning understory ladder fuels under large majestic Cottonwood trees and removing downed wood. Invasive plants plague the Bosque, resulting in several negative impacts, including reducing plant and animal biodiversity, out-competing native plants well adapted to the climate, reducing water availability, and reducing soil health. These plants proliferate and establish dense colonies, contributing to hotter and more intense fires in the forest. Following the wildfire mitigation plan, the Open Space Division and partners will reestablish native vegetation that invasive plants displaced so that animals adapted to long-established habitats can thrive, resulting in greater diversity and ecosystem resiliency. Information on restoration efforts will be posted on this website, along with opportunities for the public to learn more and volunteer.

Trails and access points will be temporarily closed while crews are working. Please stay out of work areas for your safety.

The project is overseen and supported by several agencies, including Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District, the Open Space Division, Albuquerque Fire and Rescue, and the New Mexico Forestry Division.


The wildlife mitigation project is completed, and now the Open Space Division is working with staff, partners, and volunteers on the post-treatment restoration, which includes reestablishing trails, managing annual weeds in disturbed areas and resprouts of invasive plants, and planting native vegetation. The Open Space Division is implementing a short-term Habitat Restoration Plan and is also working with partners on a longer two-year plan. Click here to see the Habitat Restoration Plan.

If you'd like to volunteer to help with this project, including for the National River Clean-up Day on May 18, please contact Volunteer Program Coordinator Jenny Blackmore, [email protected].

a photo of the rio grande bosque with fema treatment units labeled