Recently, during routine monitoring of the Southwest Valley Flood Damage Reduction Control Project the Albuquerque Corps of Engineers project management team observed a larger than required clearing of vegetation, in an area approximately 1/3 acre, surrounding the open culvert currently under construction. The contractor failed to heed the boundary markers. The contractor was to not execute work closer than 75 feet of Rio Grande bank. Instead workers came within 2-3 feet of the river bank as they cleared and graded the area in question.

A formal cease and desist order letter was issued by the Corps on December 23rd, 2010.

Lt. Colonel Jason Williams, Commander Albuquerque District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said, “While there is no flooding danger to the public, the Corps has proactively ordered additional measures to be taken to insure the ongoing safety of nearby property and sensitive habitat.” Among the efforts will be the construction of a small earthen diversion berm, and placing the Cochiti Dam operations team on alert should there be a need to reduce the river flow for a short time.

Additional actions to be taken by the parties responsible for the incident include repair to any damage done to the levee, and to make appropriate restoration efforts of the denuded areas in order to promote rapid new-growth.

All appropriate federal and state agencies, as well as project stakeholders, have been notified of the incident.