Wednesday, 27 December, 2006
Today's photo is the last image in my series from Bosque del Apache. I still have some images to process and may find a few more, but I'll save them for Februrary, when all the color seems to be gone from the world.
The Bosque wildlife refuge as it exists today is a carefully man-made and managed environment. Such an environment may have existed along the Rio Grande River is years past, but man destroyed it by damming rivers, draining marshes, and introducing invasive species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dug channels and built irrigation systems to re-create the natural environment. Here is a brief description of how this wildlife area is mantained:
'Management tools used on the refuge include farming, prescribed burning, exotic plant control, moist soil management, and water level manipulation.
Bosque del Apache NWR cooperates with local farmers to grow crops for wintering waterfowl and cranes. Farmers plant alfalfa and corn, harvesting the alfalfa and leaving the corn for wildlife. The refuge staff grows corn, winter wheat, clover, and native plants as additional food.
Lowering water levels in marshes to create moist fields promotes growth of native marsh plants. Marsh management is rotated so that varied habitats are always available. Dry impoundments are disced or burned, then reflooded, to allow natural marsh plants to grow. When mature marsh conditions are reached, the cycle is repeated. Wildlife foods grown this way include smartweed, millets, chufa, bulrush, and sedges.
Many cottonwood and willow bosques that once lined the Rio Grande have been lost to human developments. Salt cedar or 'tamarisk,' originally introduced as an ornamental plant and for erosion control, has taken over vast areas and has low wildlife value. Salt cedar is being cleared and areas planted with cottonwood, black willow, and understory plants to restore native bosques that have higher value for wildlife.
Irrigation canals ensure critical water flow. Daily monitoring, mowing, and clearing keeps them functioning. Controlling the water enables refuge staff to manage the habitat.'
(Photo info: Sony A100, iso 400, +.7 exp bias, Sigma 170-500 lens at 180 mm, f/6.3, 1/60 sec, tripod with Wimberley head), New Mexico, December 4, 2006
Posted By: donnamhughes | Comment (3)
Bosque del Apache