The seeding of natural gas pipeline rights of way in the La Manga watershed north of the Navajo Dam community is expected to decrease sediment runoff into the San Juan River and also benefit wildlife.
Approximately 350 acres along 45 miles of pipeline rights of way on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management, received 4,700 pounds of seed of native grasses and forbs. Some of the pipeline rights of way, seeded during the first two weeks of November, were constructed as long as 40 years ago.
"Over the past 30 to 40 years the vegetative rehabilitation of these pipeline rights of way has failed," said Barney Wegener, a natural resource specialist for the BLM Farmington Field Office.
"When the grasses and forbs are established it will reduce runoff and sedimentation into the San Juan River. We expect a visible stand of vegetation on these rights of ways within the next two or three years."
Four natural gas production and pipeline transportation companies assisted with the project - Enterprise Products, ConocoPhillips, BP and Williams Field Services. Wegener said the companies contributed a total of $20,000 for the project, which included hiring a seed drilling contractor.
"I thought it was a great opportunity to team up with BLM," said Ron Sipe of Enterprise Products. "It not only benefits preserving the pipeline and reduces sedimentation into the river, but provides forage for deer and elk."
Wegener said the seeding project is actually a component of a multi-year project to improve the La Manga watershed. The improvements have included sagebrush thinning, monitoring seed test plots and constructing 17 sediment catch dams to reduce sediment runoff in the watershed.