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

Surface Water Quality Bureau
Water Quality Standards
Outstanding National
Resource Waters

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West Fork of the Gila River in the Gila Wilderness


Kris Pintado
Standards Coordinator
(505) 827-2822


ONRWs receive the highest level of protection under the New Mexico's Water Quality Standards.  This designation now protects

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all surface waters within the Valle Vidal; and

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perennial rivers and streams, lakes, and wetlands within U.S. Forest Service Wilderness Areas.


The Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) approved the statewide designation of wilderness waters on December 15, 2010. The designation includes 29 lakes, 192 perennial streams, and approximately 5,000 acres of wetlands.  The Pleading Log for the matter (WQCC 10-01 (R) is still available online an archived resource.

Criteria for ONRW Designation:


The water is a significant attribute of special trout waters, national or state park, national or state monument, national or state wildlife refuge or designated wilderness area, or is part of a designated wild river under the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act; or


The water has exceptional recreational or ecological significance; or


The existing water quality is equal to or better than the numeric criteria for protection of aquatic life uses, recreational uses, and human health uses, and the water has not been significantly modified by human activities in a manner that substantially detracts from its value as a natural resource.

Bulleted item... RECENT AMENDMENTS - Approved December 15, 2010
Effective January 14, 2011
87 kb Download the 87 kb PDF today...
Bulleted item... Antidegradation Policy Implementation Procedure
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Bulleted item... Nonpoint Source Guidance for ONRWs
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For more information about ONRWs or the process for nominating waters as ONRWs, please contact SWQB's Standards Coordinator, Kris Pintado, at (505) 827-2822.


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