Water Resources Professional Project Reports


Joy K. O'Neil

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In designing a monitoring plan, it is important to first look at the overview of the watershed, issues and uses. In our case, we are looking at the Santa Fe River Watershed. It is 241 square miles and approximately 37 miles in river length. The headwaters are in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at Santa Fe Lake east of the City of Santa Fe. The watershed is split into three reaches: forested, urban and rural. In the forested reach, the river is perennial and flow is captured by a sequence of dams. The water is used for drinking supply. The urban reach is ephemeral, attaining most of its flow during storm events. The rural reach is mainly perennial with flow coming from the waste water treatment plant located at the top of the rural reach with flow augmented by springs. The urban reach is the area of interest since it contains the City and heavy urbanization. The urban reach contains a population of approximately 50,000. The City is too small for a sophisticated storm water runoff system, hence storm water runoff is directed into the Santa Fe River. The urban reach of the river is in poor condition, dewatered and eroded in some areas. It is listed as a category 1 in need of restoration watershed (NMEO). The urban reach is currently not routinely monitored. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring a storm water management plan by 2002. The storm water management plan requires the City to comply with 6 ""minimum measures"", three of which may be fulfilled with this monitoring plan: public participation, public education and outreach on storm water impacts, and illicit charge detection. Monitoring Plan Approach: After reviewing the background of the watershed, one gains a better idea of what the issues are and what area is in need of focus. In our situation, the urban reach is the focus and the issues are lack of routine water quality monitoring, public participation and education, and storm water pollution. The approach to devise appropriate parameters is to research water quality standards and existing monitoring programs. These sources act as a guide only, due to the fact that the urban reach of the river is ephemeral and heavily urbanized. There were no other existing monitoring programs that seemed to fit our situation. Monitoring Plan Implementation: Implementation briefly consists of the following: • Writing of the handbook. • Recruiting volunteers. • Gathering and purchasing monitoring equipment and materals. • Training. • Collection and organization of results. A few concepts to remember when designing a monitoring plan are to think about who will conduct the monitoring, scientists or non-scientists. For a monitoring plan such as this, the plan must be simple enough to keep the interest for those who are volunteers, non-scientists. The other important consideration is to understand the watershed, issues surrounding the watershed, and the area of which monitoring is of interest before deciding on the parameters to be measured.

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Stream restoration--Monitoring--New Mexico--Santa Fe Region--Citizen participation., Watershed restoration--Monitoring--New Mexico--Santa Fe Region--Citizen participation.


A Professional Project Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Water Resources Water Resource Program, The University of New Mexico, July 12, 2000.