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    Author(s): Tracy Elizabeth Owen
    Date: 2012
    Source: Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. Thesis. 197 p.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (6.01 MB)


    The Elephant Butte Reach spans about 30 miles, beginning from the South Boundary of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (River Mile 73.9) to the "narrows" of the Elephant Butte Reservoir (River Mile 44.65), in central New Mexico. Sediment plugs occasionally form along the Middle Rio Grande, completely blocking the main channel of the river. In 1991, 1995, and 2005, the Tiffany Plug was initiated at the upstream end of the Elephant Butte Reach. In 2008, the Bosque del Apache Plug formed just upstream of the Elephant Butte Reach. Sediment plugs occur at the location of a constriction or channel aggradation (Burroughs 2011). As aggradation within the Elephant Butte Reach is known to contribute to a decrease in channel capacity (Reclamation 2007), it is important to understand the influences of Elephant Butte Reservoir levels on channel aggradation/degradation in order to decrease the potential for future sediment plug formation. Further understanding of the historical and spatial changes within Elephant Butte Reach, along with a better understanding of the influences of Elephant Butte Reservoir levels on channel aggradation/degradation, are essential for improvement in future river management practices along the Middle Rio Grande.

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    Owen, Tracy Elizabeth. 2012. Geomorphic analysis of the Middle Rio Grande-Elephant Butte Reach, New Mexico. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. Thesis. 197 p.


    river management practices, channel, sediment plug, Elephant Butte Reach, New Mexico

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