Southwest Rivers Headwaters Fund
The Southwest Rivers Headwaters Fund is dedicated to restoring, protecting, and enhancing aquatic and riparian species and their habitats in the headwaters of the Rio Grande and Colorado River watersheds.
The Southwest Rivers Headwaters Fund is dedicated to restoring, protecting, and enhancing aquatic and riparian species and their habitats in the headwaters of the Rio Grande and Colorado River watersheds. The Fund was launched in 2019 and is a partnership with the Trinchera Blanca Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Implementation partners include community watershed groups, nonprofit organizations, state wildlife agencies, tribes and federal agencies.
Headwater streams of the Colorado River and Rio Grande and their riparian habitats have a disproportionate impact on wildlife, with 70 percent of threatened and endangered vertebrate species in the region dependent upon riparian zones for at least a part of their life cycle. These streams are fed primarily by high-elevation snowmelt, a resource that has diminished in the past two decades due to historic drought and the impacts of climate change. Today, many native species are now found only in small portions of their historic ranges. Rivers that once spread wide across floodplains, supporting dynamic side channels and shallow rearing habitat for fish and nourishing native riparian vegetation, have become narrow channels that are limited by dam releases and water diversions. Widespread hunting of North American beaver for the fur trade in the 19th century led to reductions in wetland habitat and incision of stream channels across the landscape.
Projects supported by the Fund benefit unique southwestern riparian species like Rio Grande cutthroat trout, Chiricahua leopard frog and southwestern willow flycatcher as well as the keystone species North American beaver by addressing the leading factors in aquatic and riparian species decline, including loss of natural processes and habitat, environmental change, and invasive species. Maintaining healthy headwater streams can help replenish water upstream and provide security for water users, fish, and wildlife downstream.
The goals of the Southwest Rivers Headwaters Fund include:
- Implement process-based wetland, riparian and instream habitat restoration and enhancement through restoration of natural fluvial process that increase floodplain connectivity, dynamic channel processes and recruitment of native riparian vegetation.
- Increase water availability for species and their habitats and/or remove barriers to flow.
- Reintroduce and translocate priority aquatic species to stream reaches with improved habitat and protection from invasive species.
|05/10/2023||2023 Program Fact Sheet and Grant Slate||Download the PDF|
|08/22/2022||Rio Grande Headwaters 2019 Grant Slate||Download the PDF|
|08/22/2022||Southwest Rivers Program - Headwaters 2020 Grant Slate||Download the PDF|
|09/01/2022||2022 Grant Slate||Download the PDF|
|08/23/2022||Program Fact Sheet||Download the PDF|
Manager, Southwest Rivers Program
Director, Rocky Mountain Regional Office