PECOS RIVER, NEW MEXICO
The Pecos River in northern New Mexico has been altered primarily due to land management practices. Native grasses and cottonwoods have been replaced by less desirable willows and salt-cedars, banks have eroded to a point where they are unstable and continually fall into the river during high flows, and the river channel has widened to a point where shallow riffles outnumber runs and pools. As a result, abundance of trout in the river is low, growth rates are poor, and fishing opportunities are scarce.
ACI was contracted to create better fishing opportunities and restore the river channel, reintroduce cottonwoods and other native vegetation, and create an area for the property owner and his family to enjoy canoeing and kayaking on the river. A combination of rock weirs, j-hooks, habitat boulders, and bank building and stabilization components were utilized to restore the river. Because of the size of the river, boulders up to 40 tons were used to withstand the high spring flows. Cutthroat and rainbow trout have been stocked into the river and are achieving phenomenal growth rates as a result of daily feeding with automated fish feeders. Most importantly, fish are now staying in this reach of river due to the exceptional habitat created in the restoration.