Several of the TCP projects also dovetail off of riparian restoration and diversion infrastructure rehabilitation being carried out by the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project (RGHRP) along the river corridor. The diversions that feed the irrigation ditches where TCP works are often wrapped into projects undertaken by RGHRP that seek to bolster streambank stability and riparian health, remove fish barriers, and improve both the safety and efficiency of diversions.
Emma Reesor, the organization’s Executive Director, said that it’s important to look at how both the restoration work and the irrigation infrastructure improvements fit into the entire watershed.
“Even though most of the TCP projects are further down-ditch from where RGHRP works, if the water isn’t able to be diverted from the river, then those down-ditch improvements don’t matter,” she said.
Combined, Reesor said, the TCP and RGHRP’s work looks at the whole picture of Rio Grande water, which benefits both the river and the communities that depend on it.
“All these communities are so deeply connected to the river and because these projects really make a difference in improving the health and resiliency of the river, they make a huge difference in improving the health and resiliency of the San Luis Valley,” she said.
The success of this TCP would not have been possible without the partners involved, as well as Hallie Flynn, the NRCS Soil Conservationist/Civil Engineering Technician for the Alamosa field office who was the main coordinator and driving force behind the program. Flynn has since moved on from her position with NRCS to attend graduate school, but her legacy in the San Luis Valley will remain with the amazing work accomplished through the TCP.