SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District, (Corps) and the New Mexico Environment Department’s Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) are evaluating an application for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s (NMDGF) Lisboa Diversion Dam Project. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
The proposed project would permanently impact approximately 0.146 acres of the Pecos River, which is a perennial stream channel. Additionally, the project would temporarily impact approximately 0.05 acres of the same stream channel.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Sections 404 and 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for the discharge of fill material in waters of the United States. State water quality certification is provided under the authority of 20.6.2 New Mexico Administrative Code.
APPLICANT: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
1 Wildlife Way
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504
AGENT: Samantha Ferguson
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
1 Wildlife Way
Santa Fe, NM 87504
LOCATION: The project site is located approximately 0.60 river miles north of the NMDGF Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery, in the Pecos River, within Section 17, Township 16 N, Range 12 E, San Miguel County, New Mexico. The approximate coordinates to the site are Latitude 35.618185, Longitude -105.684386. Refer to the project area map for a detailed display of the project are location (Figure 1).
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The NMDGF currently diverts water, as needed, from the Pecos River to the NMDGF’s Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery using an existing concrete diversion dam, which is failing and is an impediment to fish passage within the Pecos River. Consequently, the applicant proposes to remove the existing diversion dam and construct a new diversion dam.
The new diversion dam would be approximately 110-feet long by 58-feet wide and constructed using gravel, onsite river rock, concrete grout, and Class C rock riprap. Additionally, the structure will include a boulder weir, scour pool, constructed riffles, and a fish passage channel. Prior to the construction of the new diversion dam, a temporary earthen diversion dam will be installed upstream of the project area to divert the entire flow of the Pecos River into an existing relic overflow channel, directing flow around the project area, and discharging downstream. In addition to the temporary upstream diversion dam, a temporary earthen berm will be constructed at the overflow channel discharge point immediately downstream of the project area. The area of the earthen berm within the Pecos River will measure approximately 400 square feet. The attached drawings provide additional project details and location information (Figure 2).
PURPOSE AND NEED: The basic project purpose is to replace an existing diversion dam. The Corps has determined that the overall project purpose is to restore the supplemental water flows for the operations of the NMDGF’s Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery. The applicant’s stated project purpose is to replace an existing diversion dam that supplements water flows to the Lisboa Springs State Fish Hatchery when the need occurs. The NMDFG Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery relies on the diversion dam to supplement water to the fish hatchery on an as needed basis.
PROPOSED MITIGATION: The Corps requires that applicants consider and use all reasonable and practical measures to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources. If the applicant is unable to avoid or minimize impacts, the Corps may require compensatory mitigation. Compensatory mitigation projects provided to offset losses of aquatic resources must comply with the applicable provisions of 33 CFR Part 332. The applicant is not proposing mitigation to compensate for the impacts of the project due to the fact that the proposed new structure will enhance stream functions by creating a riffle and pool section, and will allow fish passage, via a fish channel, through the structure.
Environmental Setting. The project area is located within the National Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) identified as the Southern Rocky Mountain Foothills Major Land Resources Area (MLRA) in Land Resource Region E –Rocky Mountain Range and Forest (NRCS-Land Resource Regions and Major Land Resource Areas of the United States, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Basin, 2006). Elevations within the MLRA typically range from 5,000 feet to 8,000 feet, with small mountainous areas reaching as high as 10,000 feet in elevation. Geology within the New Mexico portion of the MLRA primarily consist of remnants of uplifted and folded Pennsylvania through Cretaceous sedimentary rocks. The project area is characterized by riparian vegetation primarily composed of cottonwood trees (Populus spp.) and willows (Salix spp.), with various pine trees (Pinaceae spp.) interspersed throughout the periphery of the project area.
The Desert Research Institute, Western Regional Climate Center, provides the following climate data for Pecos, New Mexico, which is located approximately 3.5 miles south of the project area: Annual average temperature is approximately33 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, average annual precipitation is approximately 16.15 inches, and average annual snowfall is approximately 27.2 inches.
The soils within the project area consist of Dula, frequently flooded-Shawa, moist complex 0 to 4 percent slopes; and Hesperus-Dula, frequently flooded-Pastorious complex 0 to 15 percent slopes (U.S. Department of Agriculture-Web Soil Survey).
The project area is located within the Pecos River, which is identified by the U.S. Geological Survey, National Hydrography Dataset, as a perennial stream. This section of the Pecos River is located in the Glorieta Creek-Pecos River watershed, Hydrologic Code Unit Code-12, No. 130600010207. Land use surrounding the project area includes a small amount of residential development to the southwest, an artificial lake to the southeast, and undeveloped land in all other directions. New Mexico Highway 63 is located approximately 0.07 miles to the east of the project area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) identifies the project area as occurring within Zone A (FIRM Panel-F35047C0785D, FEMA 2010). Zone A contains areas which are areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event.
Alternatives. The applicant is required to provide information concerning project alternatives. The Corps will consider all reasonable project alternatives, in particular those which may be less damaging to the aquatic environment. Several alternatives have been and are continuing to be evaluated for this project, including the no action alternative. Other alternatives may develop during the review process for this permit application.
EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the described activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the described activity, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the described activity will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The activity's impact on the public interest will include application of the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 230).
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: A historical structural analysis of the existing diversion dam was conducted by Townsend Archaeological Consultants (TAC) on January 28, 2019. As a result of this investigation, TAC recommended that this historic structure is not eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHPA) under any criteria. The NMDGF consulted with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and received concurrence with a no historic properties affected determination on June 24, 2019. Based on the analysis and subsequent recommendations provided by TAC and results of NMDGF’s consultation with the SHPO, the Corps has determined there will be no historic properties affected within the permit area.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has reviewed the applicant’s Biological Evaluation (BE) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) latest published version of Federally-listed endangered and threatened species located within and adjacent to the project area to determine if any listed species or their critical habitat may occur in the proposed project area. The following species have a home range that encompasses the action area: Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus), Mexican Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis lucida), New Mexican Meadow Jumping Mouse (Zapus hudsonious luteus), and Holy Ghost Ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus). The previously listed species have not been observed within project area, and no USFWS proposed or designated critical habitat is within the project area. The Corps has made a preliminary determination that the proposed project will not affect any Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat that are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT: The Corps is sending a copy of this public notice to the local floodplain administrator. In accordance with 44 CFR part 60 (Flood Plain Management Regulations Criteria for Land Management and Use), the floodplain administrators of participating communities are required to review all proposed development to determine if a floodplain development permit is required and maintain records of such review.
COMMENT SUBMITTAL AND DEADLINES: The Corps and SWQB are soliciting comments from all interested parties to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered to determine whether to issue, issue with special conditions, or deny a permit for this proposal.
Submittal of Corps Permit Application Comments: All comments regarding the Corps permit application for the above-described project must be received on or before October 5, 2019, which is the close of the comment period. Comments on state Section 401 certification must be submitted as described below under “Water Quality Certification Comments”. Extensions of the comment period may be granted for valid reasons provided a written request is received by the limiting date. If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections. Anyone may request, in writing, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests shall specifically state the particular reason(s) for holding a public hearing. If the Corps determines that the information received in response to this notice is inadequate for thorough evaluation, a public hearing may be warranted. If a public hearing is warranted, interested parties will be notified of the time, date, and location. Comments and requests for additional information on the Corps permitting action should be submitted to:
Daniel Delgado, Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District
4101 Jefferson Plaza NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Submittal of Water Quality Certification Comments: Section 401 requires that any applicant for an individual Section 404 permit provide proof of water quality certification to the Corps prior to permit issuance. For the above described project, the applicant is required to obtain water quality certification, under Section 401 of the CWA, from the SWQB.
This notice serves to notify the public that the SWQB will consider issuing a certification under Section 401 of the CWA. The purpose of such certification is to reasonably ensure that the permitted activities will be conducted in a manner compliant with applicable New Mexico water quality standards, including the antidegradation policy, and the statewide water quality management plan. This Notice, including notice of the 30-day public comment period, is also posted on the SWQB website at: https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/public-notices/
SWQB will accept and consider written comments regarding the state certification received during the public comment period. Comments may be submitted electronically or by hard copy to:
New Mexico Environment Department SWQB
P.O. Box 5469
Santa Fe, NM 87502-5469
Please note that names and addresses of those who submit comments in response to this public notice may be made publicly available through the Freedom of Information Act, the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, or both.