We have a landmark chance to get strong water quality protections for headwater streams on the Jemez, the Rio Hondo and in the Upper Rio Grande.
In April, the Water Quality Control Commission held a hearing on designating the Upper Pecos watershed as an Outstanding National Resource Water (ONRW), the most protective water quality designation under the Clean Water Act. There was near-unanimous public comment in support of that designation, including from Conservation Voters, and we expect the WQCC will approve the designation at a future meeting.
Now, you can voice your support for ONRW designations on the Upper Rio Grande, the Rio Hondo (which runs from Wheeler Peak to the Rio Grande Gorge), and the Jemez River. Specifically, the designation would cover: Rio Hondo, Lake Fork of the Rio Hondo, Upper Rio Grande, and Jemez River Headwaters (San Antonio Creek, East Fork Jemez River, and Redondo Creek).
Wildfires are threatening the Pecos Wilderness and the Jemez watershed. ONRW designation provides an important tool for restoration of damaged waters that can build resilience for the future. In addition, these waters support irrigation for farmers and ranchers and offer important recreational benefits.
Please let the WQCC know that you support the ONRW designation for all of these rivers and tributaries by signing our petition today.
Thank you for supporting healthy waters in New Mexico.
New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission
1190 Saint Francis Drive
Suite # South 2102
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
Re: WQCC 21-62(R) – Outstanding Waters Designations for Rio Hondo, Lake Fork of the Rio Hondo, Upper Rio Grande, and Jemez River Headwaters (Rio San Antonio, East Fork Jemez River, and Redondo Creek)
Dear Water Quality Control Commissioners,
I support designating the Rio Hondo, Lake Fork of the Rio Hondo, Upper Rio Grande, and Jemez River Headwaters (San Antonio Creek, East Fork Jemez River, and Redondo Creek) as Outstanding Waters (ONRWs). The designation for these waters will ensure that water quality is protected for generations to come.
Outstanding Waters designation for these ecologically and recreationally significant waters will support and protect existing community uses, such as ranching and farming, while prohibiting new pollution from impacting our watershed. For generations the local community has depended on clean water in the Rio Hondo, Upper Rio Grande, and Jemez watersheds to water livestock and feed acequia systems. This designation will ensure that clean water continues to flow downstream to these critical watershed stakeholders and protect these traditional uses from new development and impacts.
These waters are important ecological resources and provide significant recreational opportunities such as fishing and rafting or paddling for local New Mexicans and visitors alike. In addition, Outstanding Waters protections will help draw much-needed attention to restoration, water, and fuel management projects throughout these watersheds, which will enhance their quality and help build resilience in these water systems.
I urge the Commission to designate these waters as ONRWs.