Bioassessment and Biocriteria Program Status for New Mexico: Streams and Wadeable Rivers
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Water Quality Standards
The link to New Mexico's WQS that are in effect for Clean Water Act purposes is provided. These are the WQS approved by EPA.
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Designated Aquatic Life Uses
New Mexico’s ALUs are based on thermal definitions and tolerances. They are defined at 188.8.131.520(H) NMAC. New Mexico also has a Limited ALU designation. This subcategory includes surface waters that support aquatic species selectively adapted to take advantage of naturally occurring rapid environmental changes, ephemeral or intermittent water, high turbidity, fluctuating temperature, low dissolved oxygen content or unique chemical characteristics.
- High Quality Cold
- Marginal Cold
- Marginal Warm Water
__X__ Narrative statement
_____ No criteria
184.108.40.206.M. Biological integrity:
Surface waters of the state shall support and maintain a balanced and integrated community of aquatic organisms with species composition, diversity and functional organization comparable to those of natural or minimally impacted water bodies of a similar type and region.
Use of biocriteria or bioassessments not included in the state's antidegradation policy, 220.127.116.11 NMAC (PDF)(48 pp, 378 K)
What biological assemblages are used in the bioassessment program?
Benthic macroinvertebrates, periphyton, diatoms, and fish (Fish Index of Biological Integrity in progress)
Are bioassessments used to support 303(d) listings?
Yes. Listing methodology: Comprehensive Assessment and Listing Methodology (CALM) (PDF) (43 pp, 692 K) - Section 3
How are assemblages used to make impairment decisions?
Refer to Comprehensive Assessment and Listing Methodology (CALM) (PDF) (43 pp, 692 K) - All are applied independently.
Other uses of biocriteria or bioassessment within the water quality program:
Refining ALU; Sediment and Nutrient assessments are based on stressor-response relationships.
Technical Support Information and Documents:
New Mexico has used reference sites to develop our benthic macroinvertebrate, sedimentation, and nutrient assessment protocols, all available at Comprehensive Assessment and Listing Methodology (CALM) (PDF) (43 pp, 692 K) .
Development of biocriteria involves the collection and interpretation of biological data –e.g. benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, and periphyton. During this process entities typically use biological metrics (usually aggregated into a multimetric index) and/or multivariate analysis to assess whether a waterbody is meeting its designated aquatic life use(s). The reference materials included below include standard operation procedures used in data collection, compilation, technical approaches used to develop biocriteria as well as its implementation procedures.
Stressor identification/causal analysis approach:
Concurrent monitoring for biota and stressors. Probable source determination included in assessment protocol.