Water Resources Professional Project Reports


Ryan M. Weiss

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Anthropogenic impacts to the Comanche Creek catchment of northern New Mexico have resulted in impaired water quality and aquatic habitat for Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Federal and state policies promulgating collaborative, multi-stakeholder watershed-based restoration endeavors have driven the implementation of in-stream, riparian and upland treatments in the catchment. This research addresses restoration endeavors through a review of stream channel and watershed planning, policy and restoration. Drawing upon case studies from current literature, policies driving watershed restoration and the use of in-stream structures to improve aquatic habitat and water quality were reviewed. A stream hydrograph was extrapolated utilizing streamflow evaluations from a hydrologically similar gaged catchment. Analysis of fluvial geomorphic trends was completed through field observations of cross-section, longitudinal profile and channel bottom substrate throughout reaches impacted by in-stream structures. Channel geometry relationships were calculated from observed data. Statistical analyses indicate no significant impact to channel form from in-stream structures. Downstream trends in viii channel geometry suggest overall disequilibrium within the catchment. Monitoring over multiple spatial and temporal scales and a post-project appraisal are recommended for objective determination of success or failure of restoration endeavors. Critical data analysis and reporting to funding agencies by both restoration practitioners and scientists is proposed for policy review and development at federal and state levels to further refine collaborative watershed-based restoration endeavors.

Language (ISO)



Comanche Creek catchment, Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, Rio Costilla watershed, watershed approach, Comanche Creek Habitat Restoration Project, Upper Rio Grande Basin, collaborative decision-making, in-stream structures, nonpoint source pollution, Clean Water Action Plan (CWAP), Unified Watershed Assessment (UWA), Watershed Restoration Action Strategy (WRAS), history of river basin management


A Professional Project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Water Resources, Water Resources Program, University of New Mexico.