Upper Rio Grande

Conserving a Western Icon: Making a Lasting Difference for Fish, Wildlife and People on the Upper Rio Grande

In the San Luis Valley, WRC is working to conserve the Rio Grande and its tributaries. In 2018, we created the San Luis Hills State Wildlife Area, conserving a crucial reach of the river in an area that has lost significant fish and wildlife habitat, and where precious little riverfront is accessible to the public. Photo by Russ Schnitzer

The Rio Grande winds slowly through the San Luis Valley, providing important habitat for fish and wildlife and crucial water for the communities of the valley. Photo by Christi Bode.

After a swift descent from its headwaters, the Rio Grande enters Colorado's high San Luis Valley (pictured here), where the river forms channel-meanders, lush wetlands and vibrant riparian habitat. Western Rivers Conservancy is working to protect key reaches of the upper river. Photo by Andy Cook.

The meadows, oxbows and other riparian habitat of the Rio Grande floodplain provide crucial feeding, resting and breeding habitat for over 200 bird species. The San Luis Valley sits at the western edge of the Central Flyway, and thousands of birds, including 95 percent of the Rocky Mountain’s sandhill cranes (pictured), migrate through the valley. Photo by Rozanne Hakala.

By creating the San Luis Hills State Wildlife Area, WRC enabled restoration of key fish and wildlife habitat along the Rio Grande. This is especially important for Rio Grande chub and Rio Grande sucker, both native fish that are listed as sensitive species. Photo by Russ Schnitzer.

The upper Rio Grande. Photo by Andy Cook.

The upper Rio Grande. Photo by Andy Cook.

The upper Rio Grande. Photo by Russ Schnitzer.

The Rio Grande flows through Colorado's San Luis Valley before winding south into New Mexico and Mexico. Photo by Russ Schnitzer.