Making Elephant Butte Better: One Cove At a Time

Tuesday, September 10, 2013: 11:20 AM
Izard (Statehouse Convention Center)
Earl Conway , Conservation, New Mexico BASS Nation, Albuquerque, NM
Elephant Butte Reservoir in southern New Mexico has been hit hard by drought and increased irrigation water demands.  A comprehensive fisheries habitat development project has been initiated to improve shoreline and near-shore fishing opportunities.  The project will introduce traditional fish habitat structures but also focuses on intensive sacrificial shoreline vegetation that is intended to improve the littoral zone environment.  The project will include a number of experimental and proven habitat restoration approaches based on past projects at Lake Havasu, Table Rock, Bartlett, and other reservoirs.   The project will add two more suspended spawning platforms, deploy moveable spawning structures, and  “chase the shoreline” with re-vegetation and shoreline seeding efforts.  A special emphasis will be placed upon establishing seed and plant colonies using floating wetland techniques and seed balls that have been demonstrated to be effective throughout the world.  The project also promotes an "adapt-a-cove" concept to encourage local volunteers to participate in the project using approved methods and materials.