Restoration of a vast tract of salt cedar-choked land on the south end of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to productive wetlands and wildlife habitat was the life dream of the late John Taylor, senior biologist at the refuge for nearly 20 years. The restoration was well under way upon his untimely death in 2004, and the project has advanced dramatically since, following Taylor's vision. The John Taylor Water Management Project will deliver water to the 1,798-acre redeveloped area, including 78 irrigated agricultural acres within the restored area. Phase II of the project restored 146 acres of flooded riparian forest, 216 acres of seasonally flooded wetlands and 373 acres of xeric grass/shrub-land on the southernmost portion of the refuge.
Ducks Unlimited and its partners removed invasive salt cedar and added levees and water-control structures, allowing refuge staff to manage the area around Taylor Water Management Project to benefit waterfowl, shorebirds and a host of other wetland-dependent wildlife.
Tens of thousands of birds—including more than 10,000 sandhill cranes, more than 20,000 Ross's and snow geese and many duck species—gather each fall and winter at Bosque del Apache NWR. An annual "festival of the cranes" is held the weekend before Thanksgiving as large numbers of cranes begin arriving at the refuge. Hunting and bird watching are both popular recreation on the refuge.
This project was funded in part by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant.
Partners: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North American Wetlands Conservation Council, Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust, Freeman Electric, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District, Pueblo de Sandia, Pueblo de Cochiti, Save Our Bosque Task Force, City of Albuquerque/University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, several private landowners and Ducks Unlimited