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Surface Water Quality Bureau
Watershed Protection Section

The Upper Gallinas River Watershed-Based Plan
USEPA-ACCEPTED Version


Las Vegas and the Gallinas Watershed, by Martin Montoya...  Download the 3.3MB PDF today!

US EPA Accepts Watershed-Based Plan
for the Upper Gallinas River

In New Mexico, watershed-based planning is an important component of the Nonpoint Source Management Program. More than a requirement for on-the-ground Section 319 funding, watershed-based planning helps foster communication and coordination between people, organizations, and programs working to protect and restore the environment.

In May 2012, the Region 6 Offices of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) reviewed a watershed plan for the Upper Gallinas River Watershed, which was developed by the Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance with oversight provided by SWQB staff and input and final review by several key stakeholders. This plan built on an earlier, broader efforts for the larger Pecos River Watershed, some which are listed above.

The purpose of this Updated Watershed Based Plan for the Upper Gallinas River is to help guide land management and restoration efforts in the Gallinas Watershed from the Las Vegas Diversion to its headwaters including Porvenir Creek. The types of land management and restoration efforts covered here focus on those that directly affect stream condition, specifically as they pertain to restoring and maintaining stream temperatures so they meet state standards.

Abraham Franklin
Program Manager
(505) 827-2793


PDF DOWNLOADS
USEPA-ACCEPTED WBP 3.3 MB Download the 3.3 MB PDF file today...
USEPA REVIEW LETTER 140 KB Download the 140 kb PDF file today...

MORE WORK AT SWQB IN THE UPPER PECOS RIVER WATERSHED:

Bulleted item Pecos Headwaters Watershed TMDL (2013)
Bulleted item Upper Pecos WBP (2012)
Bulleted item Gallinas Watershed Thinning FINAL Monitoring Report (2007-2009)
Bulleted item Gallinas Watershed Thinning INTERIM Monitoring Report (2007)
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)

WHAT'S NEW...

Bulleted item... Rio Nutrias WBP released
Bulleted item... Technical Guide #1:
Wetland Functions
Bulleted item... Technical Guide #2:
Characterization and Restoration of Slope Wetlands in New Mexico
Bulleted item... Paso del Norte WBP
Bulleted item... Spring 2015 Clearing The Waters Newsletter
Bulleted item... 2014 NPS Annual Report
Bulleted item... 2014 US EPA-Approved NPS Management Plan

This plan’s impetus is the Federal Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant that provides funding through the New Mexico Environment Department. This plan is based on the insightful Nine Key Elements of a sound watershed plan. It provides an opportunity to examine the current condition of the Gallinas River and Porvenir Creek, identify specific causes and sources of compromised condition (impairment) and recommend efforts that can help restore healthy conditions considering the existing ecological and social circumstances. Future 319 implementation grants will then help provide the support to put this plan into action. The ultimate goal of the WBP and its implementation is to remove the Gallinas River and Porvenir Creek from the list of impaired waters through improved land management and restoration efforts.

The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Pecos Headwaters Watershed approved by the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) in June of 2005 lists the Gallinas River (Las Vegas Diversion to headwaters), as temperature impaired. It was determined that the Gallinas River from the Las Vegas Diversion to headwaters and its tributary Porvenir Creek, do not support its designated high quality coldwater aquatic life use. The designated uses, according to New Mexico Standards for Interstate and Intrastate Surface Waters of the Gallinas River and Porvenir Creek include: domestic water supply, high quality coldwater fishery, irrigation, livestock watering, wildlife habitat, municipal and industrial water supply, and secondary contact. In order to support high quality coldwater aquatic life, water temperatures should not rise above 68 degrees F (20 C).

Addressing stream temperature issues in the Gallinas Watershed provides an avenue to simultaneously improve many other key stream and watershed health related concerns. Furthermore, by addressing temperature issues, we will also deal with fundamental challenges related to climate change.

The component of stream systems that contributes most significantly to stream temperature regulation and is controllable by anthropogenic activities is riparian vegetation, through stream shading and anchoring streambanks to prevent stream channel widening. Ground water inputs and the quantity of stream flow play a significant role; we cannot however, largely control those aspects. Because riparian vegetation management and restoration is within our direct control, is the focus of US EPA load reduction requirements, and riparian vegetation offers ecosystem services related to other important aspects of water quality and quantity it is the focus of this plan.

For more information, please contact Abe Franklin at the e-address or phone number provided above.

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