The Town of Red River, NM has a long history of enjoying the river as it runs right through town. The Town identified 3 Phases of restoration work and has since completed 2/3 of the stretch.
Phase 1, “Young’s Ranch Reach” runs through the east edge of town and was a priority due to heavy damage from flooding in the spring of 2005, which resulted in considerable bank erosion and soil loss. Sediment from the flooding also caused impacts to downstream water quality. Several homes had become threatened by stream bank erosion, and public utilities had been damaged by the flood. In 2006, the Town completed its first river restoration project on the east end of town. A combination of bank stabilization treatments, riparian transplants, and in-stream aquatic habitat structures were installed to repair the existing flood damage, mitigate against future flood damage and water quality impacts, and improve the natural habitat within the project area.
Phase 2, “Red River Westside Fishing Park”, runs through the west edge of Town and was completed on a very fast time-line. Approval of the funding was officially announced on January 10, 2014, and construction was completed before the end of April, allowing time for stocking and plentiful fishing for the Memorial Day holiday. Historic mining, land use and removal of streamside vegetation had degraded this reach of the Red River to the point where it would hold very few fish. The river was wide and shallow, with very little fish habitat. Improvements to the river have included the installation of various rock structures for fish habitat, excavation of some deeper pools in the river, rock reinforcement of some stream banks to reduce erosion, and planting a mix of native willow and shrub species, and cottonwood trees. These plantings will increase shade, reduce erosion of the river’s banks, and attract birds. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish stocks this reach of the river several times each year.
Phase 3, “Town Reach Restoration Project” runs through the middle of downtown Red River and is funded by the State of New Mexico Environment Department’s River Stewardship Program Grant. This project was completed in October of 2016.