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

Surface Water Quality Bureau
Monitoring & Assessment

US EPA-Approved TMDL
for the Red River Watershed
[Rio Grande to Headwaters]

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The Red River above the Village of Red River...  Download the 3.1 MB PDF today!

The Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) held a 30-Day Public Comment Period for the draft Red River Watershed TMDLs, beginning November 16th, 2005. Responses were accepted until December 16th, 2005. Comments received were incorporated into the Final Draft, which was approved with slight changes by the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) at their Tuesday, January 10th, 2005 meeting. The USEPA submitted their approval letter of this important planning document on March 17, 2006.

Heidi Henderson
TMDL Development

(505) 827-2901

WQCC Approval Order 56 kb Download the 56 kb PDF file today...
US EPA-Approved Withdrawl of TMDL 551 kb Download the 551 kb PDF file today...
US EPA Approval Letter 100 kb Download the 100 kb PDF file today...

US EPA-Approved TMDLs 3.1 MB Download the 3.1 MB PDF file today...
WQCC Approval Order 104 kb Download the 104 kb file today...
US EPA Approval 362 kb Download the 362 kb file today...
Bulleted item Red River Watershed - Watershed Restoration Action Strategy and Watershed Guide - 2003
Bulleted item Water Quality Survey Summary for the Red River Watershed - 1999

The Red River, from the its confluence with the Rio Grande to its headwaters, together with its tributaries including Bitter, Pioneer, and Placer Creeks, required five TMDL planning documents for sedimentation/siltation (stream bottom deposits), turbidity, and acute aluminum:

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ALUMINUM in the Red River (Rio Grande to Placer Creek), Rio Chama (Rio Brazos to Little Willow Creek), Bitter Creek (Red River to the headwaters), and Placer Creek (Red River to the headwaters);

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SEDIMENTATION/SILTATION in Bitter Creek (Red River to the headwaters) and;

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TURBIDITY in Pioneer Creek (Red River to the headwaters).

The TMDL document addresses the above-noted impairments as summarized in the Executive Summary tables starting on page 2.  The data used to develop these TMDLs were collected during the 1999 Red River survey.

SWQB hosted a public meeting in Red River, New Mexico on November 16, 2005 to discuss the Public Comment Draft Red River Watershed TMDLs. Notes from the public meeting are available in the SWQB Administrative Record.

Written comments received during the 30-day public comment period and SWQB responses to the Public Comment DRAFT TMDL were incorporated into a Final Draft version as Appendix F. The Final Draft version was presented to the WQCC for approval at their regular meeting on Tuesday, January 10, 2006.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) gave final approval without substantive changes to the WQCC-Approved TMDL on August 16th, 2011.

The Monitoring and Assessment Section will collect water quality data during the next rotational cycle.  The next scheduled monitoring date for the Red River Watershed is 2017 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.


SWQB has withdrawn the TMDL for aluminum for the Red River (Rio Grande to Placer Creek).  A 30-Day Public Comment Period on the Public Comment DRAFT document opened on Friday, October 19th, 2012 and closed on Monday, November 19th, 2012.  The WQCC approved the measure on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 during their regular public meeting.  Subsequently, the WQCC-Approved proposal was forwarded to the US EPA Region 6 Offices in Dallas, Texas for final Review. The US EPA reviewed the matter and issued a letter of approval on January 16, 2013.

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 Red River on Wednesday, November 7th from 6-8pm at the Red River Conference Center, 101 West River Street.


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


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