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

Surface Water Quality Bureau
Monitoring, Assessment & Standards Section
Total Maximum Daily Loads
The Pecos Headwaters
Watershed TMDLs
US EPA-Approved Version

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The Upper Pecos River...  Download the 1.1 MB PDF today!

The Pecos Headwaters watershed is located in north-central New Mexico. Stations were located throughout the Pecos Headwaters watershed during an intensive watershed survey performed by NMED-SWQB in 2010 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 include the following:

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BACTERIA (E. coli) in Pecos Arroyo (Gallinas River to headwaters), Pecos River (Santa Rosa Reservoir to Tecolote Creek), and El Rito (Pecos River to headwaters); and

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SPECIFIC CONDUCTANCE in Dalton Canyon Creek (Pecos River to headwaters), Falls Creek (Tecolote Creek to headwaters), Macho Canyon Creek (Pecos River to headwaters), and Willow Creek (Pecos River to headwaters).

A Total Maximum Daily Load (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.

Temperature TMDLs were developed in 2005 for Bull Creek, Cow Creek, and portions of the Gallinas and Pecos Rivers; Bull Creek is no longer impaired for temperature but Cow Creek, Gallinas River, and Pecos River remain impaired for temperature. TMDLs for turbidity were also developed in 2005 for Cow Creek and portions of Pecos River; all three turbidity impairments were removed from the 2012-2014 Integrated CWA §303(d)/305(b) List.

This TMDL document addresses the above noted impairments as summarized in the Executive Summary. Data used to develop this TMDL were collected during the 2010 Upper Pecos Water Quality Survey. The 2010 study identified other potential water quality impairments that are not addressed in this document. Additional data needs for verification of those impairments and TMDL development are being identified and data collection will follow. If the impairments are verified, subsequent TMDLs will be prepared in a separate TMDL document.

A 30-day comment period on the initial draft of this document opened July 10, 2013 and closed on August 9, 2013 at 4:00pm MDT. Public notices were published in the Albuquerque Journal North, Las Vegas Optic and the Santa Fe New Mexican.  The public notice was mailed or e-mailed to appropriate portions of the SWQB mailing list  (approximately 850 recipients). A public meeting was held to summarize the information and to provide a forum for interested parties to ask questions and provide comments. The meeting date allowed the public time to review the document and generate questions or comments. The meeting was held in the Village of Pecos on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 from 6-8pm at the Upper Pecos Watershed Association, 28 South Main.

Heidi Henderson
TMDL Coordinator
(505) 827-2901

Bulleted item US EPA - Approved TMDL 1.3MB Download the 1.3 MB PDF today...
Bulleted item US EPA Approval Letter 244 kb Download the 244 kb PDF today...
Bulleted item WQCC Approval Order 76 kb Download the 76 kb PDF today...
Bulleted item Public Notice 34 kb Download the 34 kb PDF today...
Bulleted item Community Meeting Flyer 70 kb Download the 70 kb PDF today...


Bulleted item Upper Pecos WQS - 2010 (2013)
Bulleted item Upper Pecos WBP (2012)
Bulleted item Upper Gallinas River WPB (2012)
Bulleted item Gallinas Watershed Thinning FINAL Monitoring Report (2007-2009)
Bulleted item Gallinas Watershed Thinning INTERIM Monitoring Report (2007)
Bulleted item Upper Pecos TMDL (2005)
Bulleted item Gallinas River Watershed Resoration Action Strategy (2005)
Bulleted item TMDL for the Pecos Headwaters Watershed (2005)
Bulleted item Water Quality Survey Summary for the Upper Pecos River Watershed, Part I - 2001 (2004)
Bulleted item Water Quality Survey Summary for the Upper Pecos River Watershed, Part II - 2001 (2004)
Bulleted item Water Quality Survey Summary for the Upper Pecos River Watershed, Part III - 2001 (2004)
Bulleted item Water Quality Assessment of the Gallinas River and Tecolote Creek - 2001 (2002)

All Public Comments that were submitted to SWQB staff have been responded to and included as an additional appendix in the Final Draft version of the TMDL. The Final Draft was approved by the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) on September 10, 2013 during their regular public meeting.  The WQCC-Approved version was submitted for final review and approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency's Region 6 Offices (US EPA) on September 25, 2013.

The SWQB’s Monitoring, Assessment & Standards Section will collect water quality data during the next rotational cycle. The next scheduled monitoring date for the Pecos Headwaters Watershed is 2018, 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 Integrated Report.

The SWQB’s Watershed Protection Section will continue to work with watershed groups such as the Upper Pecos Watershed Association and the Hermit's Peak Watershed Alliance to develop Watershed-Based Plans (WBPs) to implement strategies that attempt to correct the water quality impairments detailed in this document. Implementation of items detailed in the WBPs will be done with participation of all interested and affected parties.  The Upper Pecos River Watershed-Based Plan was finalized in June 2012, while the Upper Gallinas River Watershed-Based Plan was completed just a bit later, in July 2012.

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