Comanche Creek Restoration of Natural Hydrology
Situated in northern New Mexico’s Carson National Forest, Comanche Creek is a scenic trout stream. With headwaters beginning above 10,000 feet elevation, Comanche Creek tumbles down through the rolling meadows of the Valle Vidal recreation area, emptying into Rio Costilla which eventually flows into the Upper Rio Grande watershed.
A legacy of intensive land management including logging, road building, and heavy grazing has damaged Comanche Creek’s stream channels and degraded its wetlands, significantly impacting historical habitat for native Rio Grande cutthroat trout and many other native species in New Mexico.
Predominantly composed of floodplain wetlands and alluvial fans located at the mouths of tributary watersheds, these habitat types are unique to the mainstem of Comanche Creek, making it significant for water storage potential as well as habitat viability. Part of comprehensive and ongoing restoration efforts of Comanche Creek by U.S. Forest Service, National Forest Foundation, New Mexico Trout Unlimited, and Quivira Coalition, this project will primarily focus on reconnecting the stream channel with the historic floodplain, reducing stream bank erosion, dispersing flows, and enhancing and creating off-channel wetland and meadow habitats.
Restoring the wetland and stream areas of Comanche Creek will continue to increase water quantity and quality, enhance habitats, and improve forage for both wildlife and livestock. These advancements will amplify the reputation of the Valle Vidal as a marquee recreation area. Hosting outfitters, hunting and trekking guides, backpackers, horseback riders, and fly-fishers, this area contributes significantly to local economies and to the pride of nearby communities.
* Project restores natural hydrologic conditions to facilitate improved capture and infiltration of surface water and groundwater recharge