May 2016 Fort Lewis College Field Day

In collaboration with the NRCS and Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Chama Peak Land Alliance worked with Fort Lewis College Professor Erin Lehmer and her summer Field Biology class to assess a reach of the Navajo River. Students met with two landowners along the reach to learn about the river, challenges of working on the land below a diversion structure, and their dreams for improving the river and riparian habitat. The main goal for the 2-day assessment, was to give students a hands-on, real-world field experience, and to collect biophysical data that will help project partners to gain a snapshot view of river condition and determine if and where the reach changes from a cold water to a warm water system. Partners taught the students how to collect data including, but not limited to: pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, stream structure and function, fish species, and macroinvertebrates. Three sites were assessed from just below the Oso Diversion to Edith near the CO-NM border. Gathering this baseline data is an important first step to designing and implementing proper restoration techniques for either a cold or warm water fishery and will be used by project partners in Phase II of the Navajo River Restoration Project.

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