Wednesday, April 2, 2014
|New Mexico's Rio Chama slumbers under a precious blanket of Winter snow.|
Rio Chama National Wild and Scenic River, between Cooper's El Vado Ranch and Big Eddy is a haven for outdoorsmen, river-runners, campers and nature-lovers of all persuasions. Belied by its wilderness attributes, it is one of the most highly managed waterways in a region dependent on managed rivers. This is because Chama River is the water supply conduit for the Albuquerque Metro Region and irrigated farming in New Mexico's Middle Rio Grande Valley.
Thus, when drought strikes the Rio Grande, whitewater-, sportsmen- and water consumer-types increase their dependence on this little river. Alone among Rio Grande tributaries, the Chama actually receives a 50% increase over natural flows, as a water subsidy from US Bureau of Reclamation's San Juan-Chama Project.
Reservoir operations (especially Albuquerque and Santa Fe drinking water) expect to send a nearly full supply of drinking water, water for Rio Grande silvery minnow spawning passes this way, Pueblo Prior and Paramount operations (very senior water rights reserved by law) and environmental flows sparked by the Rio Chama Flow Optimization Project all focus on the Chama.
For river recreationists in 2014, the intensive management means that wilderness float-camping trips on the Rio Chama will continue to be available in spite of the well-publicized belt-tightening being enforced on New Mexico's water users.
Far-Flung Adventures is now accepting reservations for family wilderness whitewater trips for the Summer ahead.