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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Native plant poles and plugs help protect minnow habitat

When replacement of three bridges over the Rio San Jose in Cibola County, New Mexico threatened prime habitat for a minnow called the Rio Grande chub, crews from the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department protected the minnow's habitat with more than the usual erosion control measures. On the steep slopes they hand-planted a combination of native riparian, wetland, and upland species - a combination known to stabilize soils. They planted native willow and cottonwood poles, fencing each pole to protect it from beavers, and they planted seedlings of wild rose and other native woody species. The crews also used native plant "plugs" - tiny plantings of rushes, watercress, salt grass, and other herbaceous species. All the plantings survived, and within a year the new vegetation was flourishing and the banks were stable.
--Apr 25, 2003

Steve Reed, (505) 827-5254 or

Rio Grande chub
Photo by Johnson, American Fisheries Society
Rio Grande chub

On or Near Bridges - New Mexico
Updated: 12/12/2012
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