Pecos River Flow Restoration
In southern New Mexico the Pecos River is a unique aquatic highway between the grassland plains and the Chihuahuan Desert. It provides precious water for a wide variety of fish and wildlife, critical irrigation for farmers since the late 1800s and a recreational outlet for boaters, campers, fishermen and hunters in an arid environment. This 11-mile stretch of river, located just north of the community of Carlsbad, has survived construction of multiple dams, invasion of salt cedar, historic overgrazing, loss of native aquatic habitat and extreme weather events.
We have identified 4 sections of river and upland habitat for restoration beginning at the upper end just below Brantley Reservoir. We will move down river in restoration efforts consecutively toward Avalon Reservoir. In each section, this project will remove invasive species and noxious weeds, then revegetate the area using regenerative agriculture techniques (including strategic livestock grazing) to reestablish healthy functional soils and native vegetation quickly. Healthier soil will increase water infiltration rates in the uplands and along the river, feeding more water into the system through alluvial and aquifer recharge, which will also increase spring flows into the Pecos River.
By taking this first step in riverine and upland habitat restoration between Brantley and Avalon Reservoirs, we will build system resiliency and help sustain perennial flows for native and game fisheries, ongoing agricultural use and continued recreational opportunities. We will also reduce soil erosion and sediment loading from the uplands and improve the water infiltration and water quality for the benefit of aquatic and avian wildlife as well as farmlands throughout the area.
* Project restores natural hydrologic conditions to facilitate improved capture and infiltration of surface water and groundwater recharge