Come along on a virtual field trip with the Borderlands Research Institute Land Stewardship team and Dixon Water Foundation!
Dixon Water Foundation Vice President of Science and Research Phillip Boyd hosted the trip to Alamito Creek Preserve, a property managed by Dixon Water Foundation.
Alamito Creek pops out from the muted desert landscape with its tall canopy of green cottonwood trees that line the creek banks and can be seen from miles away.
Riparian areas like these are vital lifelines in this arid region.
Habitat degradation and erosion have taken a toll on these lands.
BRI is partnering with Dixon Water Foundation and Rio Grande Joint Venture, with funding from Horizon Foundation, on a habitat restoration project that we’re calling the Alamito Creek Conservation Initiative. The Alamito Creek Conservation Initiative is bringing many partners and landowners together to address habitat issues on a larger scale than ever before.
One component is to install brush weirs in the creek tributaries to help slow the rush of water that accompanies big rainfall events. The brush weirs in these photos were installed by Rio Grande Joint Venture.
Brush weirs help prevent scouring of the creek beds, and increase the build-up of soil and vegetation, which encourages water to soak into the ground. Due to habitat degradation, rainfall sweeps rapidly through the area rather than soaking in and recharging the water table.
Simply constructed wooden beam weirs are backfilled with brush that is cleared from the land. This project uses materials that are readily available from the landscape as much as possible.
Brushwork is an important habitat management tool. Here, the operator is using materials that are already on site, like mesquite, to fill in the brush weirs.
A skid steer makes quick work of moving brush piles to the weirs.
Machine operators are a crucial part of the success of these projects. Mac White, pictured here, operates the excavator. He engineered this open bucket, using his own design, that more efficiently leaves behind soil when he uproots brush.
Thanks to Phillip Boyd and the Dixon Water Foundation for a great day in the field and the chance to see these habitat management projects firsthand!
And thank you for joining us for a virtual field trip! See you next time.