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Bendway weirs: Could they create habitat for the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow

Posted date: December 10, 2009
Publication Year: 
2009
Authors: Kinzli, Kristoph-Dietrich; Myrick, Christopher A.
Publication Series: 
Miscellaneous Publication
Source: River Research and Applications. 10.1002/rra. 1277.

Abstract

Rehabilitation of the Middle Rio Grande in central New Mexico has become necessary to mitigate the effects of over a century of water and land development. The primary driving force behind rehabilitation efforts is the federally endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow (Hybognathus amarus). Bendway weirs, erosion control and channel-stabilization structures placed transverse to the channel flow, have been used to prevent river migration while enhancing aquatic habitat. Habitat improvement plans on the Middle Rio Grande include the installation of bendway weirs, but the potential benefits of these structures for Rio Grande silvery minnow are unknown. We conducted a theoretical study on the flow conditions created by bendway weirs to determine if it is possible to create physical habitat for Rio Grande silvery minnow while simultaneously protecting the riverbank. Our study suggested that bendway weir installation could lead to the reduction of downstream displacement of Rio Grande silvery minnow eggs, the creation of Rio Grande silvery minnow feeding and refugia habitat, and the creation of drought or low flow habitat through scour hole formation.We also noted that the weirs could also serve as potential habitat for predators, and suggest further studies to better quantify the possible role of bendway weir installation.

Citation

Kinzli, Kristoph-Dietrich; Myrick, Christopher A. 2009. Bendway weirs: Could they create habitat for the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. River Research and Applications. 10.1002/rra. 1277.