Canadian River: Mills Canyon

by | Dec 28, 2020 | Past Projects, Restoration Projects, Riverscape Restoration

Kiowa National Grassland, NM

Phase 1, 2019

One of our biggest planting areas from 2019 below the iconic Shiprock formation. The cottonwood and willow are exploding with vigor, thanks in part to a beaver dam just downstream of this site. Photo taken 8/23/21.

This massive revegetation project was completed in partnership with NM Department of Game and Fish and the US Forest Service in the Kiowa National Grassland and follows years of other restoration efforts, including the removal of tamarisk and Siberian elm using a large-scale aerial herbicide application and the subsequent mastication of the dead trees.

To restore and enhance native riparian and upland habitats following the removal of the invasive trees, we harvested and planted around 50,000 willow stems and 800 cottonwood poles along the Canadian River within Mills Canyon. Additionally, we planted 750 native container plants, including NM Olive, Netleaf Hackberry, Chokecherry, False Indigo, Winterfat, Skunkbush Sumac, Woods Rose, and Mountain Mahogany.

To protect the cottonwood poles and potted plants from browse, we constructed cages of field fence and hardware cloth for these plantings, respectively.


Phase 2, 2020

Continued work in Mills Canyon was again supported by NM Department of Game and Fish. We planted an additional 8,000 willow stems and 160 cottonwood poles to fill in and extend the planted reach downstream of the 2019 plantings.