Winter 1998-99 Bulletin
Beaver Deceivers on the Río Costilla
Our work on the Río Costilla has at times turned contentious, but we continue to work toward consensus with water users. At a recent meeting, Amigos Bravos and Río Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association representatives agreed to focus on our shared values and common goals in the coming year.
The most pressing work for this winter is to deal with sediment that has piled up excessively behind a series of beaver dams. This sediment comes from badly eroded slopes at Ski Rio, among other sources in the watershed, and is released in
occasional spurts when sluicing out a major diversion dam upstream. This process has buried the natural stream channel and resulted in a critically aggraded, or raised, stream bed, which hinders flow.
Once the channel is reestablished and beavers get back to work in a more natural system, Amigos Bravos will help the community to install dam drains and "beaver deceivers," to allow the beavers to carry on normally without hampering flows for the river and parcientes downstream.
We intend to continue working with water users to revamp management procedures to avoid future aggradation and establish a more continuous flow of water. We are exploring the possibility of establishing a steady flow below Costilla Reservoir throughout the winter months when the dam doesn't usually release a drop..
We look forward to implementation of a "real-time" metering system this year to accurately measure all diversions, and the preparation of the first operations manual in the 54-year history of the Costilla Creek Compact.
Along with hands-on restoration efforts in cooperation with the local community, we will continue researching and advocating for more efficient, equitable, and environmentally responsible management practices, and investigating questionable historic water right.
Please return to Winter 1998-99 Bulletin Index.