Phase I of Stoner Ranch River & Wetlands Restoration Plan was completed in June 2008 and included the creation of nine new ponds, the largest of which, James Pond, is nearly three-quarters of an acre. James Pond, is stocked year round with trout.
Phase I was completed by Rick Sherman of Wildlife Habitat and Natural Resource Specialists of Montrose, Colorado. Sherman has spent a career studying and protecting the wildlife habitat of Western Colorado and is a perfect fit to the Stoner Ranch team guiding its environmental vision into the future.
As a result of fencing cows back into traditional pastures and restricting access to riparian areas along the riverfront, we've created a biodiverse haven and encouraged the return of wildlife. Now the river corridor is home to herons nesting, bald eagles fishing, redtail hawks and osprey sitings. It has also enabled the native cottonwoods, willows and natural grasses to regenerate, sprouting forth a habitat for duck, geese and song birds, as well as deer and elk.
Phase II plans includes an Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit, pending approval, which will allow us to place structure in the river and enhance the fish habitat. Historically, this area of the Dolores River was channelized to prevent it from overeflowing its banks and creating a natural spring flood pattern. We are now allowing the river to find a naturall flow pattern which is a river that turns and eddies. Work on Phase II is anticipated to begin in the Spring of 2010.
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