- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

AZTEC, N.M. (AP) - State forestry officials say work has started on a project to restore more than 500 acres of public land along the San Juan and Animas rivers in northwestern New Mexico.

More than $645,000 of state severance tax funding will go toward the project.

Forestry spokesman Dan Ware says the goal is to promote the health of the watershed by removing invasive Russian olive and salt cedar trees. That should help reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire.

Funding for the Dos Rios Project was approved by Gov. Susana Martinez during the last legislative session. In all, $6.2 million in severance tax dollars were set aside for treating portions of more than a dozen high priority watershed areas around the state.

As part of the Dos Rios project, native vegetation will also be planted in some areas.

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