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Urban Waters Partnership

Middle Rio Grande Designation Story

The Middle Rio Grande / Albuquerque Urban Waters “Designated Location” was announced in June 2013 at a media event held in the Bosque west of the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Subsequently, there was a larger meeting in November 2013 at the Balloon Fiesta Park/Museum that involved meetings among the federal agencies, between the federal and local agencies, and a public meeting that included non-profit organizations, community organizations, and media. The initial federal co-leads were the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). However, in 2014, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took over the role of local federal co-lead (EPA has no offices in New Mexico).

At the June 2013 announcement, four projects were identified as Middle Rio Grande (MRG) Urban Waters projects:

  • Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge – US Fish & Wildlife Service; the Refuge was the focal point of a Department of the Interior initiative started in early 2012 that resulted in a July 2012, “Middle Rio Grande Conservation Initiative” (1)
  • Middle Rio Grande Restoration Project – US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE); part of an on-going series of projects to re-engineer the relationship between the river and the Bosque that was disrupted by past flood control and drainage projects
  • MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) watershed-based permit – the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) pilot project that involved 27 potential permittees as well as businesses, non-profit organizations, and state and local agencies
  • Bridge Boulevard Redevelopment Plan – Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Transportation (DOT); the corridor redevelopment runs from the river west to Coors Boulevard
(1) The US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) were co-lead agencies within the Department of the Interior in carrying out Secretary Salazar’s request for a MRG conservation plan by mid-year