Valles Caldera National Preserve, NM
Goals of this project include improving alluvial fan function and wet meadow/wetland health, mitigating fire impacts, stabilizing the degrading channel, improving water quality, and re-establishing and protecting riparian vegetation. Funding for this work was provided by The Nature Conservancy and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and was supported by the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Additional re-planting of previously planted sites was funded by Los Amigos de Valles Caldera.
Fall 2020: In-stream structure installation
We completed this portion of the project using a combination of handwork and an excavator to install sod/rock and sod/wood structures to slow erosion within Redondo creek, to elevate the incised channel, to facilitate increased floodplain connectivity, and to grow the wetted extent along the stream.
These sod plugs, built with heavy equipment, are intended to reconnect this old, incised channel within Redondo Meadow to the elevation of the adjacent surface, which was historically part of a now much reduced wetland complex. Our aim is to aid in the restoration of the wetland by elevating the water table throughout the reach and promoting surface flow across the landscape rather than concentrated flow within the incised channel.
Spring 2021: Wetland revegetation and exclosure construction
Historic stands of willow and alder are present at the upper extent of the project site, and willow and cottonwood planted in previous restoration projects extend downstream of the meadow, where the valley begins to constrict to the west. For this project, we planted willow and cottonwood within the meadow along the eastern side, and constructed exclosures to protect the plantings, and replanted within previous restoration sites using our more elevation-appropriate stock of willow, cottonwood and alder stock. All told, we planted around 8,000 willow stems, 250 cottonwood poles and 125 alder saplings.