BLM Colorado

BLM Colorado

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Rio Chama Flow Optimization and Playa Lakes Projects

BLM FISHERIES NEW MEXICO

Rio Chama Flow Optimization and Playa Lakes Projects

The Rio Chama Flow Optimization Project is a multiple agency effort to restore the sediment transport, ecological function, and channel dynamics of 30 miles of the Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River that has dam controlled flows. The Fisheries and Aquatics Program monitors the fish population, aquatic habitat, aquatic invertebrates, and amphibian populations for the project.


Stonefly larvae on the Rio Chama


Playa Lakes Project

The Playa Lakes Project is a part of the Healthy Lands Initiative: Upper Rio Grande Focal Area project and includes: Aquatic community composition of the playa lakes and earthen tanks; frequency of inundation using Hoboware water level loggers; analysis of water quality and land use effects to the playa lake indicator species; and development of geodatabase encompassing include water quality, aquatic community assemblages, inundation frequency and length, common shorebirds, amphibians, allotment, and land use.

Partners Involved
Agencies participating in the Rio Chama Flow Optimization Project include: BLM Taos Field Office, Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corp of Engineers, City of Santa Fe, City of Los Alamos, Interstate Steam Commission, City of Albuquerque, University of New Mexico, rafting community, ranching community, Trout unlimited, and other stakeholders.
Partners for the Playa Lake Project include New Mexico Highlands University, Northern New Mexico College, and the BLM San Luis Valley Field Office.

Other Resources Benefitted
Other resources benefited by the Rio Chama Flow Optimization Project include; riparian resources, terrestrial wildlife, recreation, migratory birds, resident birds and river otters.

Other resources benefited by the Playa Lake Project include; rangeland resources, water resources, migratory birds, resident birds, large game species, non-game mammals, recreation, and cultural resources.

BLM Plans and Objectives Addressed
  • Taos Resource Management Plan (2012), Fisheries Goal to: Manage streams within the planning area to ensure that the natural integrity of aquatic ecosystems are protected, restored, and/or managed in an ecologically sound manner.
  • Taos Resource Management Plan (2012), Fisheries Goal to: Ensure aquatic habitats will support a diversity of self-sustaining biotic communities that are appropriate to the given environment.
  • Taos Resource Management Plan (2012), Fisheries Objective to: Develop and/or implement one project per year to conserve, enhance, or restore fish populations and habitats, based on survey results.
  • Taos Resource Management Plan (2012), Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River prescription to: Manage instream hydrologic processes to maximize aquatic and riparian habitat area, improve river condition, and reduce excessive deposition or erosion.


Rio Chama Flow Optimization monitoring for aquatic habitat and amphibians
  • Taos Resource Management Plan (2012), Taos Plateau ACEC prescription to: Survey playas for aquatic biota.
  • Taos Resource Management Plan (2012), Taos Plateau ACEC prescription to: Assess wildlife uses of and needs for playas.
  • Taos Resource Management Plan (2012), Taos Plateau ACEC prescription to: Survey playas for frequency of inundation and relationship to precipitation events.