The Bureau of Reclamation hired Otis Bay to design approximately 50 acres of connected backwater habitat on the Lower Colorado River near Needles, CA, within the northern portion of Moabi Regional Park (Park Moabi). Otis Bay used HEC-RAS hydraulic models to determine a channel design that could accommodate large daily and seasonal river stage fluctuations. The new backwater habitat will fill with water flowing from the Lower Colorado River at its downstream end. The restored habitat will consist of open water, marsh, and riparian landcover types, and is being implemented as part of the Lower Colorado Multi-Species Conservation Program in order to provide critical habitat for the flannelmouth sucker (Catostomus latipinnis
) and two endangered species of native Colorado River fish, the razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus
) and bonytail chub (Gila elegans
). Numerous migratory bird species will also benefit from the increase in habitat. The channel design includes topography that allows for variable depths and water velocities to provide appropriate aquatic habitat for the focal fish species.
The design phase of this project has been completed.