Trinidad: Work is ongoing on $120,000 restoration project along the Purgatoire River through town


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“This used to be a great repository for old tires and beer cans. There were also a lot of illegal ATVs tearing things up,” Lackey said last week, while looking from a city park at the restoration work in the river bed. “We hope this will be part of a new direction Trinidad takes.” Work is being done on a $120,000 project that will improve the fish habitat by adding groups of rocks that will help pool water in low flows and provide shelter in the higher water. The project also includes a trail, handicapped fishing features and removal of invasive species like tamarisks and Russian olives.

Contributors to the project include the city of Trinidad, Pioneer Natural Resources, Trout Unlimited, the Arkansas Basin Roundtable and Purgatoire River Conservancy District, among many others. “We’re looking at this as a demonstration project,” said Jim Muzzulin, president of the local Trout Unlimited chapter. “It’s a real investment that will allow tourists and kids to go fishing in town. Every year they have the Santa Fe Trail Festival in this park, so Trout Unlimited can set up a booth and take them right down to the river to cast a line.”

The flows in the river are almost entirely controlled by releases from Trinidad Lake, about three miles upstream. During the winter months, water is stored. As snow melts, rains come or when farmers call for water out of storage, the flows pick up. The river bed is basically flat, and the higher flows scour it. Contractors have been hired to add small boulders at strategic points, reinforce banks and develop a more complex system for fish.

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.

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