NAVAJO DAM – A $300,000 fish habitat project on the trophy trout
waters of the San Juan River will be in full swing Tuesday, Nov. 1,
when crews move heavy equipment into a popular stretch of the
Water flow from Navajo Dam will be reduced to 350 cubic feet per
second to accommodate the equipment needed to improve trout habitat
in “The Braids,” a small section of the river above Texas Hole,
approximately one mile downstream from the dam. Anglers will not be
allowed in the construction area for about 30 days.
The project is designed to enhance fishing opportunities by
creating deeper pools for fish during periods of low flow from
Navajo Dam. The estimated completion date is Jan. 8. A separate
part of the project will reduce silt deposits from
Habitat work in “The Braids,” will include digging holes in the
sandstone riverbed to create deeper pools for trout. Structure such
as large cottonwood trunks, big rocks and faux beaver dams will be
strategically placed to redirect flows into the new pools. It will
impact about a 300-yard stretch of the river.
The sediment control portion of the project will occur at the
mouth of Rex Smith Wash, an arroyo that empties into the “Kiddie
Hole,” a fishing spot just above Texas Hole. Flash-flood events
carry silt into the river at that point, damaging trout habitat
there and downstream. The project will include building a sediment
retention pond that will slow the water flow during floods, catch
sediment and redirect clean water back into the river. Silt in the
retention pond will be removed periodically.
AUI Inc. of Albuquerque is the project contractor.
State funding will pay for most of the project, with some
additional federal funds from the Sportfish Restoration Program.
The project was approved by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which
controls the river operations; the State Parks Division, and the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.