Cow Creek Stream Restoration


This reach of Cow Creek in northern New Mexico is characterized by a combination of relatively steep canyons and more open forested range land. For years, cattle grazing on this ranch had degraded shorelines and the river had become nothing more than a shallow stretch of riffle/run habitat. Fish populations were low in this area and there were no holding areas for trout.

ACI was asked to restore the river habitat and improve fishing by creating feeding and spawning areas. Allow relatively narrow, Cow Creek can carry significant flows, which made working in the stream very difficult. Rock weirs and habitat boulder were installed throughout the reach, and sediments (including rock) that had filled in the stream over time were excavated and rock shelves were built. This deepened and channelized the stream to allow for creation of more “trout-friendly” runs and pools. Brook trout and brown trout have been stocked into Cow Creek after the renovation and are achieving fantastic growth rates because of daily feedings with automated fish feeders.