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Construction and Revegetation

The BLM's Work Force Crews and their Cuba-based heavy equipment fleet have served as the primary construction contractors, moving impressive quantities of dirt and rock during two construction phases. The crews began in October 2004. They withstood the wet winter and spring conditions of late 2004 to early 2005 to complete most of the construction on the project's "Middle Meander" and "South Rio Puerco Bridge" sites. Work on the project resumed in November 2005, focusing on the "North Rio Puerco Bridge" zone, where the transition from the former channelized segment redirects the river's flows back into the natural channel and under the new bridges. Construction was completed in the summer of 2006.

The final phase of the project includes a number of riparian vegetation planting sessions in the redirected channel of the Rio Puerco. The first planting occurred in April 2006, when RPMC volunteers and cooperators - including Cuba-area residents, staff from the BLM's Albuquerque and Cuba offices, and AmeriCorps volunteers - spent a day in two of the three newly restored river segments. They transplanted hundreds of willow poles and installed many seedlings and containerized plants to assist the river in redeveloping riparian vegetation along its banks and restoring wildlife, avian, and aquatic habitat. Fourth graders from Cuba Elementary helped water these plants in May and transplanted hundreds of willow poles at the North Bridge site as well. Revegetation and seeding efforts, along with construction of proposed in-channel flow management structures, will expand during the fall of 2006.

Meanwhile, the heavy monsoon season of 2006 has already rewet the 2 ½ miles of newly meandering channel.