ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The storms in the metro have caused rain waters to flow into the arroyos. It’s carrying not just water but trash dumped or left in the arroyos.
There’s been a big push over the years to keep Albuquerque’s arroyos clear from trash, debris, and people setting up homeless encampments. Have those efforts made a difference?
Recent rainfall has shown there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“Everything that is in the arroyo upstream is down here. You can see tires, grocery carts, furniture. You could see everything,” said Mark Mabry who patrols the arroyos.
In an effort to curb trash from flowing down the arroyos and into the Rio Grande, Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) has been filtering out trash and debris for years.
“I am happy to say that we collected more trash last year than we did the year before and the year before that,” said AMAFCA Executive Engineer Jerry Lovato.
Recent pictures from Linda Wood who is one of many concerned neighbors living near the Embudo Arroyo in the Northeast Heights show large amounts of trash, shopping carts, and what appears to be a refrigerator after being pushed out by fast-moving water.
“That means two things. One: Our system is efficient, and it’s working like it is intended to, and two: people are still not picking up their trash, and they are allowing it to end up in the road and streets and ultimately into the channels,” said Lovato.
Lovato said crews are sent out to pick up the debris, but the biggest problem they see in the arroyo is homeless encampments.
“It is not unusual to have between 10-15 encounters a week, and so a lot of times we have repeat offenders and a lot of times we have new people.”
However, Lovato said the reinforcement of last year’s no-trespassing ordinance has made a difference.
“Over the last year, we have seen a large decrease in the amount of homeless encampments that have been established within channels and inside box culverts and under bridges.”
Lovato explained recent clean-up has helped crews prepare for this year’s monsoon season, and he is confident they will continue their streak of having less trash and encampments in the arroyos.
AMAFCA stated it will also be pushing for more safety with billboards warning of the risks of hanging out in the arroyos.