US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District Website

SPECIAL PUBLIC NOTICE: Final Regional General Permit No. 17-02 for Bureau of Reclamation, Rio Grande, Elephant Butte Reach, Channel Maintenance

Published Jan. 31, 2018

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED ACTION: Interested parties are hereby notified that, in accordance with 33 CFR 322.2(f), 323.2(h), and 325.2(e)(2), the Albuquerque District of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has reissued the regional general permit (RGP)17-02 (previously RGP 12-02), Bureau of Reclamation, Rio Grande, Elephant Butte Reach, Channel Maintenance. The purpose of this public notice is to inform interested parties of the availability of the RGP.

AUTHORITY: Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the U.S. State water quality certification is provided under authority of 20.6.2 NMAC.

AREA OF COVERAGE: The project site is located in or adjacent to the Rio Grande, Mescal Arroyo, Cuchillo Negro Creek, Arroyo Hondo, Palomas Creek and other Rio Grande tributaries within the reach between the Elephant Butte Dam channel, Section 27, Tl3S, R4W, Latitude 33.15386° N, Longitude -107.19256° W to the Interstate 25 Bridge south of Caballo Dam, Section 31, T16S, R4W, Latitude 32.87941° N, Longitude -107.29695° W, Sierra County, New Mexico.
Within the State of New Mexico.

SCOPE OF ACTIVITIES: The applicant proposes to annually remove up to approximately 60,000 cubic yards (cy) of sediment and other debris from the Rio Grande near the following tributaries: Mescal Arroyo, Cuchillo Negro Creek, Arroyo Hondo, Palomas Arroyo, Red Canyon, Ralph Edwards Park, Carrie Tingley Hill, and several unnamed smaller arroyos between the Elephant Butte Dam channel from the base to the headwaters of Caballo Reservoir and below Caballo Dam to the Interstate 25 bridge. Removal of additional quantities of sediment and debris may be approved by USACE under this permit in the event of heavy monsoon rainfalls and debris flows. Additional quantity removals would be subject to prior approval by the USACE. Sediments would be removed during periods of low flow or when irrigation season flows cease from Elephant Butte Dam. Equipment used for sediment removal includes excavators, scrapers and bulldozers. Existing upland spoil areas would be used as disposal sites.

Two existing grade control structures, located south of Cuchillo Negro Creek, will be maintained. An estimated 50 cubic yards (cy) of rock rip rap would be used annually to maintain these structures. Equipment used for maintenance of existing bank protection structures includes front end loaders, bulldozers and excavators.

A maximum of 1000 cy of rock rip rap would be used annually to maintain existing bank stabilization or to construct additional new bank protection for private properties along the reach. This work would primarily occur between the Rio Grande Bridge below Elephant Butte Dam to Williamsburg where there is a patchwork of private properties with a mix of existing rip rap bank stabilization and unprotected areas. The work in these areas would occur as needed based on response to erosion caused by activities adjacent to the river, runoff and monsoonal rains. Additional quantities may be placed under this permit subject to prior approval of the Corps for the purposes of bank protection within the Rio Grande and side tributaries and arroyos as appropriate to maintain channel capacity and alignments. Work on existing bank stabilization areas will be repaired at 2 cy/linear foot. New bank stabilization sites will be constructed at 3 cy/linear foot.

During periods of non-release from the Elephant Butte Dam, a temporary rock dike would be installed in the vicinity of the local bath houses. The approximate dimensions of the temporary dike would be 140 feet long, 5 to 8 feet high, 10 feet wide at the top, and 102 feet wide at the bottom. The front side slope would be 1.5:1 with a back slope of 10:1 (approximately 3000 cy of rock). The temporary dike volume would be placed and removed every year. The dike would be placed by front end loaders and dozers, and then removed upon resumption of irrigation flow.

WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: In accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, certification of compliance with state water quality standards is required for any discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This notice serves to notify the public that the New Mexico Environment Department Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) has issued conditional certification under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. The purpose of certification is to reasonably ensure that the permitted activities will be conducted in a manner compliant with applicable New Mexico water quality standards.