Rio Grande Documentary

the Rio Grande is the fifth largest

river in the United States and among the

20 longest in the world starting high in

the San Juan Mountains of Colorado the

Rio Grande River travels 1760 miles it

runs the entire length of New Mexico and

creates the border between Texas and

Mexico entering the Gulf near

Brownsville along its course the face of

the Rio Grande changes dramatically from

high mountain streams to deep canyons

and travelling through agricultural

lands where at times nearly drying up

one of the most significant tributaries

to the upper Rio Grande watershed is the

Chama River the Chama starts in southern

Colorado traveling through the town of

Chama and enters the Rio Grande in

Espanola in Colorado to Chama starts as

a high alpine stream traveling through

thick vegetation and wooded forests

the weather here can change dramatically

intense rain and hailstorm sneaking up

without any notice farther downstream

below the town of Chama the River enters

deep canyons before meeting up with

Heron Lake Heron Lake is about four

miles long and three miles wide and lies

at an elevation of up to 7,000 feet

interestingly Heron Lake is not fed by

any rivers the lake is part of the San

Juan Chama project which transfers water

from the upper reaches of the San Juan

River through nearly 13 miles of the

agitated tunnels crossing the

Continental Divide the leg provides

stunning views and recreation for

fishermen as well as providing water for

agriculture and domestic use reservoirs

created by a dam 12,000 feet long and

260 feet high and enters the Chama River

through the spillway

often the distance of Heron Lake are

seen the Brazos mountains running

beneath these majestic mountains is the

Brazos River the Brazos is a tributary

to the Chama entering the river just

above Heron Lake

provides excellent fishing for fly


farther downstream the Chama travels

through Alvaro and Abiquiu reservoir

before entering the Rio Grande in



after traveling through Colorado and

northern New Mexico the Rio Grande finds

the Rio Grande Gorge State Park just

after Taos box canyon near the town of

Pilar the Taos box is a steep Gorge with

lots of whitewater but quickly mellows

to an easier gentle rear

here the gorge widens with high cliffs

surrounding the river and limited

vegetation scattering the banks

here recreation becomes a viable

industry with lots of raft companies

taking tourists down the river to enjoy

the spectacular views

those sparse the banks hold much life

like the swallowtails flying to the

thistle after exiting the gorge the rear

ground widens and finds itself in

Espanola here the Bosque begin with

large cottonwoods lining the river as

well as civilization becoming more

predominant in signs of agriculture

along the highway after traveling past

White Rock and a big Canyon the Rio

Grande River finds itself in Cochiti

reservoir the reservoir was built

primarily for flood control what serves

as a secondary purpose for recreation

for campers and fishermen below the

reservoir a series of irrigation ditches

begin which support the agriculture that

line the banks of the Rio Grande further

downstream the river and Bosque widen

here the river passes through Bernalillo

just before entering Albuquerque

after traveling through Albuquerque the

River continues south through farmlands

where agriculture is heavy and

eventually gets to Belen in Belen the

mighty Rio Grande is reduced to a

trickle being diverted into many

irrigation ditches and canals alongside

the river's banks used for all the

irrigation for agriculture more than 2

million acres of farmland are irrigated

along the Rio Grande that's slightly

more than half in Mexico south of Belen

the Rio Grande passes through Socorro

where the river flow begins to increase

the banks are lined with thick foliage

but with all the heavy siltation

the mud is thick along the banks from

Socorro the River continues southward

providing live for nature and all the

people along its banks

underneath the rocks in the river life

is teeming which provides food for the

fish like these stone flies and leeches

mayflies brawl along the rock be

identified by their two split tail

caddis typically build a case to live in

this case is open and we can see the cat

is squirming around caddis has left his

home and is exposed and soon may be

washed down for fish food crawdads

though fun to play with are invasive and

can cause problems in the streams

ecosystem farther downstream siltation

is heavy and the mud is thick there's no

bugs to be found here