Skip to main content

TMDL's IN NEW MEXICO: A CASE STUDY IN MANAGING COURT ORDERS, TRIBAL INTERESTS, AND ENDANGERED SPECIES ISSUES IN A DESERT HYDROGRAPH

Buy Article:

$17.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial

Like other states, New Mexico is working hard to resolve potentially perplexing issues facing its Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program. A number of issues complicate the state's effort, including: the technical challenges of flow assumptions presented by the arid or semi-arid hydrographic conditions of southwestern water bodies; considerations imposed due to endangered species; special multi-jurisdictional issues raised by the presence of Tribal entities; coordination with review of water quality standards and revisions to the prioritized list of impaired water bodies; and, compliance with a federally enforceable, court ordered timeline. On a practical level, these issues will impact different stakeholders. New Mexico's aggressive timeline for TMDL's is driven by a citizen's suit filed to force their promulgation. The resulting settlement requires TMDL's for all of the state's listed water bodies by 2016. Under the agreements, New Mexico is obligated to finalize over 60 TMDL's within 10 years (2006), and the remainder by 2016. New Mexico's TMDL program has been advancing in coordination with the triennial review of its water quality standards and revisions to its Clean Water Act ยง303(d) list of impaired water bodies. These processes have not been without controversy. Environmental groups have filed citizen suit notices and actual suits over this process, and the EPA has rejected parts of the State's proposals. The arid, or semiarid environment in New Mexico presents challenges in appropriately assessing stream hydrology for TMDL's. The state is working to address this challenge through technical protocols for calculating critical low flows, and updating stream gauge data.

Tribes play an important role in the state's water quality management. New Mexico Tribes and Pueblos exercise jurisdiction over significant stream reaches. In many instances, Tribal water quality standards are much more stringent than state standards. Such jurisdictional matters and differing standards complicate the TMDL process, and its practical application to affected stakeholders. Endangered Species Act (ESA) requirements arguably apply to EPA actions related to New Mexico's TMDL program, such as approval of the 303(d) list. Endangered or threatened species are a determinative factor in how New Mexico prioritizes its 303(d) list. TMDLs will have a real-life impact on New Mexico stakeholders. The form and degree of that impact is the subject of debate. In the Middle Rio Grande, point sources and non-point sources are trying to understand what requirements might result from the recently finalized TMDL for fecal coliforms. NPDES, MS4, and other storm water discharge permit holders in the Middle Rio Grande may soon see stringent BMP requirements or numerical standards in their permits.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation includes access to most papers presented at the annual WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) and other conferences held since 2000. Subscription access begins 12 months after the event and is valid for 12 months from month of purchase. A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is included in Water Environment Federation (WEF) membership.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access. Access begins 12 months after the conference or event
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Learn about the many other WEF member benefits and join today
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more