Stream-lining Your Mountain Property

Aug 11, 2017 -- Posted by : admin

Imagine this – you cast into perfectly cascading white-tipped riffles as the sun throws a radiant alpine glow against the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. As your fly gently floats toward a purposefully undercut bank along with other vital stream nutrients, you see a flash of scales under the water and know what will happen next. Successful angling on your property is the byproduct of a healthy stream and proper water hydraulics. Unfortunately, flooding, agricultural use and municipality usage can increase silt and bank erosion, impeding the ability to enjoy your mountain property. Simple research about the historical uses of your ranch can unveil practices that call for stream and habitat restoration.

High mountain meadow with meandering stream.

Restitution requires bank repair techniques that employ natural resources already present on your ranch. To rebuild degraded or eroding areas, fortify the bank with logs, rocks and a backfill of cobblestone. Flagstone and sandstone are useful for restructuring. However, the Clean Water Act advises using granite for optimum water quality.

An analysis of the stream’s current water hydrology will help to identify what fluvial restoration techniques to employ. In the Rocky Mountain West, stream water is typically sourced from snow and glacial runoff. A quick calculation of watershed reveals the natural water flow your stream will receive. The United States Geological Survey provides real time up-to-date drainage data on their website, With this information in hand, restoration becomes a simple plug and play of materials!

Strengthening the water hydraulics of your channel is a similar concept to watering your garden; squeeze the hose and the water pressure increases. A well-watered garden produces bountiful fruits, vegetables and herbs. Similarly, a well-designed water hydrology system in your stream will help you reap countless benefits for flora, wildlife, friends and family!

Narrowing the channel of your stream with boulders or other natural objects falsely increases the speed of water. Constriction and definition of the passageway supports in flushing out all harmful substances such lead, copper, arsenic, muck, whirling disease parasites that kill trout, and dangerous didymo algae to restore natural function. By introducing granite rocks, you can craft an ideal combination of riffles and pools for a pleasing esthetic or prime fishing spot!

Another common restoration method is to define the thalweg, the deepest continual part of the stream. As depth and velocity are maximized, oxygen increases and temperature decreases. Colder, cleaner water provides an ideal environment for fish to thrive. In turn, a boost in animal migration occurs alongside a more diverse and dense vegetation growth.

Diagram of a Thalweg.

Stream restoration is an investment in your environment, your lifestyle and your property. We are here to help you with your Colorado Ranch investment. Contact us for information on current ranches for sale and how to get the most out of them.


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