State of New Mexico > Environment Department > Surface Water Quality Bureau

Surface Water Quality Bureau
Monitoring & Assessment

US EPA-Approved TMDL for the Lower Rio Chama Watershed
[Below El Vado Reservoir to
the Confluence with the Rio Grande]

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El Rito Creek, in the Lower Rio Chama Watershed...  Download the 1.7 MB PDF today!

The Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) conducted an intensive watershed survey of the Rio Chama Basin of northcentral New Mexico in 1999. Water quality monitoring stations were located within the watershed to evaluate the impact of tributary streams and ambient water quality conditions. As a result of assessing data generated during this monitoring effort, impairment determinations of New Mexico water quality standards (WQS) include the following:

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CHRONIC ALUMINUM in Cañones Creek (Abiquiu Reservoir to headwaters), and the Rio Vallecitos (Rio Tusas to headwaters);

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DISSOLVED OXYGEN in Abiquiu Creek (Rio Chama to headwaters);

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FECAL COLIFORM in Cañones Creek (Abiquiu Reservoir to headwaters);

Heidi Henderson
TMDL Development

(505) 827-2901

FULL TMDL (w/appedices) 1.7 MB Download the 1.7 MB PDF file today...
WQCC Approval 157 kb Download the 157 kb PDF file today...
US EPA Approval 147 kb Download the 147 kb PDF file today...

Bulleted item Upper Rio Chama Watershed TMDLs - 2011
Bulleted item Water Quality Survey Summary for the Upper Rio Chama Watershed - 2007
Bulleted item 2007 Lakes Water Quality Assessments including Abiquiu and El Vado Reservoirs - 2007
Bulleted item Upper Rio Chama Watershed TMDLs - 2004
Bulleted item Rio Chamita TMDLs for ammonia, fecal coliform and total phosphorus - 1999
Bulleted item Rio Chamita TMDL for temperature - 1999
Bulleted item Water Quality Survey Summary for the Lower Rio Chama Watershed - 1999
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TEMPERATURE in Polvadera Creek (Cañones Creek to headwaters), and in the Rio Vallecitos (Rio Tusas to headwaters); and

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TURBIDITY in Cañones Creek (Abiquiu Reservoir to headwaters), Rio Nutrias (Rio Chama to headwaters), Poleo Creek (Rio Puerco de Chama to headwaters) and in the Rio Vallecitos (Rio Tusas to headwaters).

The TMDL document addresses the above-noted impairments as summarized in the tables starting on page 9.  The data used to develop these TMDLs were collected during the 1999 Lower Rio Chama Watershed survey. The 1999 study identified other potential water quality impairments which are not addressed in this document.  Additional data needs for verification of those impairments are being identified and data collection will follow. If these impairments are verified, subsequent TMDLs will be prepared in a separate document.

The Monitoring and Assessment Section will collect water quality data during the next rotational cycle.  The next scheduled monitoring date for the Rio Chama Watershed is 2012 at which time TMDL targets will be re-examined and potentially revised as this document is considered to be an evolving management plan.  In the event that new data indicate that the targets used in this analysis are not appropriate and/or if new standards are adopted, the load capacity will be adjusted accordingly. When water quality standards have been achieved, the reach will be moved to the appropriate category in the State's CWA §303(d)/§305(b) Integrated Report.

The Watershed Protection Section will continue to work with watershed groups to develop Watershed-Based Plans to implement strategies that attempt to correct the water quality impairments detailed in this document.  Implementation of items detailed in the Watershed-Based Plans will be done with participation of all interested and affected parties.

A TMDL is a planning document that establishes specific goals to meet water quality standards in waterbodies where pollutant limits are exceeded. It includes current pollution loadings, reduction estimates for pollutants, information on probable sources of pollution, and suggestions to restore or protect the health of the waterbody.

For more information, please contact Heidi Henderson at the address or phone number provided above.


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