CWCB: Lower Blanco restoration update

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From the Pagosa Sun (Randi Pierce):

The Lower Blanco Property Owners Association, working with Riverbend Engineering, was awarded $150,000 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board to move forward with the 2010 phase of the restoration…

The current phase, the fifth, according to Chris Pitcher of Riverbend Engineering, is slated to be complete by the end of October. The project focuses on habitat enhancement through the use of habitat rocks and rock structures in a 1.6-mile section of the river. LBPOA President Bob Hemenger said the group hopes to accomplish more in the current phase than originally planned, extending it past the current proposed completion date since the funding is available. Also planned during the current phase is the planting of native woody, riparian vegetation in flood plain areas. “This phase will improve river morphology by creating flood plain benches and adjusting the channel width,” Pitcher said. The rock formations and flood plain area work will also serve to slow down the river through narrowing and deepening of channels to alleviate possible flood issues on adjacent properties, while protecting the integrity of the river’s banks. “The purpose of the project is to restore aquatic life function that was lost,” Pitcher said…

Diminished fish and wildlife habitat, as well as changing overall dynamics of the river, affected portions of the Lower Blanco starting in 1971, when the Chama River diversion was opened, removing about 70 percent of the Blanco’s water to be sent to New Mexico. The restoration project began in 1997 and, after a hiatus, picked up again two years ago with the hiring of Riverbend. It aims to ultimately restore a nine-mile section of the Lower Blanco. The previous four phases combined have completed about five miles.

More restoration coverage here.

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