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Surface Water Quality Bureau
Monitoring, Assessements & Standards

US EPA-APPROVED TMDL

(Total Maximum Daily Load) for
The Upper Rio Grande

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The Rio Grande above Embudo Creek...  Download the 5.8 MB PDF today!

The Upper Rio Grande watershed is located in north-central New Mexico, USA.   The Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) conducted a water quality survey of the Upper Rio Grande (URG) basin in 2009.

Heidi Henderson
TMDL Coordinator
(505) 827-2901

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A LIST OF WORK AT SWQB
IN THE RIO GRANDE BASIN...
Bulleted item TMDL for the Upper Rio Grande Watershede, Part 1
Bulleted item TMDLs for the Upper Rio Grande Watershed, Part 2
Bulleted item TMDLs for the Red River
Bulleted item TMDLs for Cordova Creek
Bulleted item TMDL for the Valle Vidal
Bulleted item TMDL for the Rio Hondo

Water quality monitoring stations were located within the URG and Conejos watersheds 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) included E. coli for the nine assessment units discussed in this TMDL.  New impairment listings include:

Bulleted item Apache Canyon
(Rio Fernando de Taos to Headwaters)
Bulleted item Rio Fernando de Taos
(Tienditas Creek to Headwaters)
Bulleted item Rio Fernando de Taos
(Rio Pueblo de Taos to USFS Boundary at Canyon)
Bulleted item Rio Fernando de Taos
(USFS Boundary at Canyon to Tienditas Creek)
Bulleted item Rio Pueblo de Taos
(Rio Grande del Rancho to Taos Pueblo Boundary)
Bulleted item Rio Quemado
(Santa Cruz River to Rio Arriba County Boundary)
Bulleted item Rio San Antonio
(Montoya Canyon to Headwaters)
Bulleted item Rio Santa Barbara
(Non-Puebolo Embudo Creek to USFS Boundary)
Bulleted item Santa Cruz River
(Santa Clara Pueblo Boundary to Sant Cruz Dam)

The TMDL document addresses the above noted impairments as summarized in the tables found in the Executive Summary.  The SWQB has prepared separate TMDL bundles for other surface waters in these watersheds, including the 2004 Upper Rio Grande Part 1 and the 2005 Upper Rio Grande Part 2 TMDL documents. The 2009 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 the impairments are verified, subsequent TMDLs will be prepared in a separate TMDL document.

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.

A 30-day comment period on the initial draft of this document opened June 13, 2012 and closed on July 13, 2012. 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 Taos on Thursday, June 28 from 6-8pm at the Taos Convention Center, 120 Civic Plaza Drive.

All Public Comments that were submitted to SWQB staff were responded to and included as an additional appendix in the Final Draft which was submitted to the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) for their approval on August 14, 2012 during their regular public meeting.  After a brief deliberation, the WQCC approved the Final DRAFT TMDLs without alterations.  The document was reviewed by the US EPA Region 6 Offices for final approval, which was granted on September 13, 2012.

The SWQB’s Monitoring, Assessment & Standards Section will collect water quality data during the next rotational cycle. The next scheduled monitoring date for the URG – Conejos Watersheds 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 Integrated Report.

The SWQB’s Watershed Protection Section will continue to work with watershed groups 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.

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