Mariposa Diversion Channel

By Rene Horvath and Nita Day

This scenic and natural area is located between Montano Blvd. and Dellyne Ave. and is one of the few natural drainage areas left within the City of Albuquerque. This drainage area was developed in 1980 and is maintained by Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA). In 1991 with the input from Taylor Ranch residents, Former AMAFCA Director John Kelly, City Environment Health, and Wilson & Co. Engineers the area was developed to not only serve as storm water drainage but also to preserve this aesthetic natural environment. This undeveloped area is critical to wildlife, home to native vegetation, and when properly maintained serves to control mosquitos.

To control mosquitos there are three ponds joined together by underground pipes to distribute storm water in each pond. The ponds are stocked with Gambusia fish each year to eat mosquito larvae. Cottonwood trees were planted to shade the fish and create a naturally cooled environment. Recently, the Cottonwood trees have looked sickly, and some were cut down. Additionally, large tracts of dead Four Wing Salt Bushes have appeared on the sides of the channel, erosion on the lower arroyo sides are a concern, and the ponds have collected trash and dead plant debris. 

On May 11, 2021, Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association (TRNA) representatives, area residents, and AMAFCA representatives met at the Mariposa Diversion Channel to discuss the history, maintenance, and character of the area from participants perspectives. As a result of this effort TRNA has started to assist AMAFCA’s maintenance efforts by organizing a volunteer crew to pull out dead wood, brush, and large litter items from the ponding areas. This effort may even include the thinning of brush so AMAFCA can see what is happening in terms of the erosion of the embankment if enough volunteers can be recruited. Such brush thinning efforts would likely prevent AMAFCA from having to utilize harmful broadleaf herbicides to eliminate mass swaths of brush. Also, this brush thinning would lend itself to healthy re-growth of existing native plants and brush. 

On May 15th, 2021, TRNA representatives and members participated in the The Keep America Beautiful® Great American Cleanup® which is the nation’s largest community improvement program and was hosted by the City of Albuquerque’s Solid Waste Division. TRNA selected the Mariposa Diversion Channel for its trash clean-up the site and was very successful by picking up, bagging, and transporting three truckfuls of litter! On July 11th, 2021, volunteers cleaned up the middle wetland pond of the Mariposa Arroyo of dead plant debris and trash for AMAFCA to remove. 

There will be future clean-up events and volunteers are greatly needed. If you are interested in being notified and participating, as your schedule allows, in future clean up events please contact Rene Horvath at 505-898-2114 or email her at