The Jemez Canyon Reservoir is located within the area identified as Plains-Mesa Sand Scrub biotic community. Plants dominating this area can survive in deep sands, whereas common shrub species have specifically adapted water-retention features such as small leaves. Environmental conditions such as low annual precipitation; shallow rocky soils; and sandy, gravelly and saline soils are contributing factors responsible for the formation of this type of vegetation community. Some of the dominant plant species include one-seed juniper, cottonwood, Russian olive, prickly pear, tree cholla and Mormon tea to name a few.
The Great Basin biotic communities support a diverse array of animal species. The dominant mammal species include townsend ground squirrel, dark kangaroo mouse, and sagebrush vole. Lesser found animals include Ord’s kangaroo rat, montane vole, coyote and kit fox. Common reptile species represented include the leopard lizard; collared lizard; and prairie and Western diamondback rattlesnakes.
There are 102 archaeological sites on Pueblo of Santa Ana Reservation land that the Corps leases for the Jemez Canyon Dam and Reservoir Project; however, in consultation and agreement with the Pueblo, not all of the Corps easement lands have been surveyed. All of these recorded sites are eligible for nomination to the State and National Registers. Plus the historic Tamaya village (LA8975) that is listed on the State Register of Cultural Properties (No. 165; March 13, 1970) and on the National Register of Historic Places (No. 74001204; November 1, 1974); for a total of 103 historic properties at Jemez Canyon. The area is of historical significance - so remember it is unlawful to remove any artifacts or other natural resources from the area.