By Michele Robertson Nestled approximately six miles from Carlsbad at the end of Forni Road, you will find the Six Mile Dam Improvement Project. This area on the Pecos River is a haven for migratory birds and has been getting some improvements to maintain and improve this peaceful space. A flood in 1904 left the city without power after the Tansil Dam (Hagerman Dam at the time) washed out. The Bureau of Land Management, Carlsbad Field Office shared the following: “While rebuilding the Tansill Dam, the townspeople made a decision to build a second dam six miles south of Carlsbad (Six Mile Dam). However, the flood of 1941 destroyed the power plant, and it was not restored.” –Our Town 2000.”“The City of Carlsbad actually owns the dam and the immediate property around it. Since the dam is in an isolated area and was sometimes used irresponsibly, we felt that we had to make some dramatic changes,” shared Carlsbad’s Mayor, Dale Janway. “First, we erected a fence around the concrete lookout area for safety reasons and removed all graffiti. Then we met with the BLM who had been involved in improvements in the past. The BLM was completely on board with helping. At that point, we also developed a partnership with Eddy County, NM Fish and Wildlife, New Mexico Bass Nation and several private companies. We then put together a plan involving all parties and began work,” Mayor Janway stated. “Tracy Hughes with the BLM, Trish Velt and Tina Tiffany with ConocoPhillips, Deanna Taylor and Mary Garwood with thecity spearheaded the project, which has been an unbelievable success,” added Janway. This ongoing improvement project has many partners involved in its implementation, including; the City of Carlsbad, Eddy County, Bureau of Land Management, ConocoPhillips, NGL, EOG Resources, Sendero Midstream, CREED INC., ER Signs, Carlsbad Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) and Southeast Readi-Mix. Improvements include four covered picnic tables on concrete slabs, trash receptacles, a nature trail, a pipefence, a new road, and rookeries across from the picnic tables. “This will be one of the premier bird sanctuaries in Southeast New Mexico,” Janway said. “The goal is to increase the number of recreational activities such as birding over multiple seasons and gain information on bird usage at this site,” shared the Carlsbad Field Office. “The progress at Six Mile Dam is the result of many helping hands that are greatly appreciated. Coordinated events will be held in the future. If you would like to participate please call Mary
Garwood with the City of Carlsbad, or the BLM at 575-234-5972,” added the Carlsbad Field Office. Illegal dumping is a problem for many of our outdoor spaces, and Six Mile Dam is no exception. One goal that the Carlsbad Field office hopes to achieve with this project is to curtail the illegal dumping that occurs in many outdoor recreation areas, including Six Mile Dam. As more attention is brought to the matter of illegal dumping, more people will utilize the legal dumping options already provided. Mayor Janway shared that trash containers are in convenient locations, and the city is working with Sheriff Cage and the county to add extra patrols to the area. “New Mexico Game & Fish and the City Police Department are all working together to ensure that the area is kept as pristine as possible. The area is included as part of the annual Pecos River Cleanup-Riverblitz. Keep Carlsbad Beautiful also organizes special cleanups as needed too,” he added. In addition to being an excellent location for bird watching, Six Mile Dam is also a great fishing spot! “We are working with Earl Conway of New Mexico Bass Nation to have the Six Mile Dam area qualify as a championship fishing area,” added Janway.“Mayor Dale Janway’s vision made this ongoing partnership possible. Many thanks to the Mayor for supporting this great project!” shared the Carlsbad Field Office. “The community has really come together on this project. It is a beautiful area tha thas been neglected for so long. Six Mile Dam is one of the best kept secrets in Southeast New Mexico,” Mayor Janway shared. “We want the public to come out and enjoy this area! ”From Carlsbad: From the intersection of Highway 62/285 and E Wood Avenue, head east on E Wood Ave (CR 216) for 3 miles. The road will take a wide long turn to the south. Stay on the main paved road and head south for 1 mile. Take a left on Forni Road. Stay on Forni Road until it dead ends at the dam. From Loving: Take the Pecos Highway (285) north to Carlsbad. Just past mile marker 27, take a right on Grandi Road (CR 706). Drive 2.2 miles and take a right on Forni Road. Stay on Forni Road until it dead ends at the dam. The public can get involved by participating every day in “Leave No Trace” and reporting of unlawful activities to 311 or 575-887-1200.