A Quick look at the Blanca Wetlands

One of the many beautiful views of Mt. Blanca from the Blanca Wetlands

One of the many beautiful views of Mt. Blanca from the Blanca Wetlands

The Blanca Wetlands were part of a restoration effort by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Blanca Wetlands are naturally formed basins that were formed when the San Luis Valley lake, that stretched for miles across the San Luis Valley, began to dry. The basins became dry due to water diversions and well pumping that occurred in the San Luis Valley. Re-wetting the 200 basins began in the 1960s. Although natural basins were used for the restoration, due to the large amounts of water diversion and well pumping within the San Luis Valley natural water sources such as runoff from the closed basin streams and groundwater were not available during the restoration of the wetlands. Due to these unfortunate circumstances, artesian wells were drilled to replace these natural water sources. The Blanca Wetlands is also used as an area for recreational activities. These activities include fishing, byway, hiking, hunting and wildlife viewing. Many schools also use Blanca Wetlands as a place to educate the students about habitat management, macroinvertebrates, and shorebirds.
Blanca Wetlands is an extremely important habitat for a variety of organisms. Organisms as big as elk and as small and diverse as macroinvertebrates call this amazing place home. Several different species of macroinvertebrates which in turn are a great protein sources for the migrating shorebirds and waterfowl. Shorebirds from all over the Americas vitally depend on the Blanca Wetlands as a resting/ refueling stop on their migrations. The same goes for waterfowl. During the months of March through May the playas are covered in several different species of shorebirds and waterfowl. Blanca Wetlands is the largest nesting site in Colorado for the Snowy Plover, which is a sensitive species. To give you an idea of how diverse this area is here is a short list of only some of the species that live here: coyotes, foxes, porcupines, mule deer, muskrats, pelicans, yellow-headed blackbirds, bald eagles, tiger salamanders, great plains toads, chorus frogs, leopard frogs, and even bullfrogs.

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