COSTILLA COUNTY, Colo. —Within Colorado’s first established Mexican land grant settlements, watersheds still deliver to downstream farms and ranches via historic, hand-dug systems of aqueducts known as acequias.
The Upper Culebra Creek watershed, a system of acequias in what is now southern Costilla County, was assessed for ecological strengths and restoration opportunities in a multi-year study, now published in an 844-page assessment.
The report is the result of a comprehensive, $740,000 project led by the Costilla County Conservancy District to identify challenges and opportunities within the nearly 200-year-old agrarian water system. Conducted by Tailwater Limited, the assessment was created with financial support from partners including the Conservancy District, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Watershed Assembly, Trinchera Foundation and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.
[Read more: Colorado's oldest water rights are a system of hand-dug acequia irrigation ditches predating statehood]