Crews from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish mobilized to rebuild a cobble berm that was washed away by floodwaters on Whitewater Creek Sept. 15. The 12 foot high berm helps protect the community of Glenwood, and the Glenwood Fish Hatchery, from rising waters during flash floods.

“More than 400 feet of the berm was washed away, and an additional half mile is in need of repairs,” hatchery manager Leonard Rice said. “The berm held the floodwaters in the creek bed, where the water ate away at it until the flood subsided. The berm protects people and property, and helps buy time to evacuate during a catastrophic flood event.”

Heavy rains caused widespread flooding and mudslides throughout Catron County, prompting evacuations. Floodwaters overtopped a bridge on Highway 180, filled several roads with mud and debris, and caused extensive property damage. Department officers were on scene, assisting with the evacuation and clearing debris from roads.

The Department’s hatchery and construction crews began work Sept. 21 to recreate the berm along the banks of Whitewater Creek, using bulldozers to move aggraded materials to the sides of the stream channel. Removing the gravel and rock deposited in the channel by the flood will allow future floodwaters to flow downstream unobstructed.

The repairs are being conducted upstream from the trout hatchery and are expected to take one to two weeks to complete. Crews from Catron County are rebuilding additional sections of the damaged berm on Whitewater Creek, and the State Department of Transportation, in cooperation with a private landowner, is working to clear the bridge on Highway 180.

“We recognize that other agencies have their hands full right now, and the Department is happy to be able to play some part in protecting New Mexicans’ and their property,” said Department Fisheries Chief Mike Sloane.

Logo courtesy New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

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