Volunteers Restore Habitat for Rio Grand Cutthroat Trout

The Kirtland AFI club and New Mexico Chapter had an incredible time at the Annual Lincoln National Forest stream restoration project on April 20th! Our crew worked diligently to repair two small beaver-like dams, aiming to restore the floodplain of a creek that has suffered from channelization since the 19th century.

This restoration is crucial for the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout population, which has vanished from the creek since the 1990s due to the loss of their ideal habitat. Rio Grande Cutthroats require clean, cold water, ample riparian cover, and diverse in-stream habitats to thrive, all of which have been compromised by channelization.

With the help of conservation groups like BHA, the National Forest Service plans to reintroduce Rio Grande Cutthroats by 2026, including the construction of one hundred "beaver dams" along the creek, to raise the floodplain and produce quality plant coverage along the banks. This collaborative effort offers hope for the return of these trout and the possibility of enjoying small-stream fly fishing in this area of the Lincoln National Forest in the coming years.

Stay tuned for more stewardship opportunities like this by visiting our New Mexico events page, joining BHA, or signing up for our mailing list

About Mike Barker