Udall, Heinrich Announce $13 Million from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Current and Future Flood Control and Water Quality Projects in NM

Includes funding for Alamogordo, Jemez Canyon Dam, Española Valley, Middle Rio Grande and to address pollution from abandoned mines

WASHINGTON D.C. U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has provided $13 million for flood management, water infrastructure, and environmental restoration projects throughout New Mexico. The funding comes at the request of Udall and Heinrich following passage in May of the Fiscal Year 2017 omnibus appropriations bill, which funds the government through September. The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for designing and building major flood control, waterway management, and environmental restoration projects throughout the United States.

"Investments in infrastructure and smart, collaborative water management strategies are critical to helping New Mexico communities address our water challenges—from maximizing our water supply to minimizing the damage from floods. This funding will reimburse communities across the state for completed projects, help the city of Alamogordo improve safety and prevent flood damage, support operation and maintenance on the Jemez Canyon Dam, help communities protect themselves from pollution seeping from abandoned mines, and lay the groundwork for new safety and infrastructure projects,” Udall said. "As a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, I will continue to work with the Corps to ensure New Mexico gets the resources it needs to help communities prepare for floods, prevent expensive damage, and keep our families, our economy and our environment safer."

“These critical infrastructure investments will help protect our communities from devastating floods, support critical municipal water systems, and provide support to restore watersheds that have been damaged by abandoned mines,” Heinrich said. "The Army Corps of Engineers has been an important partner in addressing our flood risk in New Mexico, and I will continue to work to ensure these water and flood management projects remain a priority.” 

Water and Infrastructure Construction

A total of $7.1 million will go toward construction of projects designed to help prepare and protect Alamogordo from flooding and severe storms, and reimburse for other water infrastructure projects in the central part of the state. Funding will include:

- $4.6 million to complete a construction project designed to protect the city of Alamogordo from flooding, improve safety and prevent expensive damage to residences, businesses, and public infrastructure during severe storms. Alamogordo also will receive an additional $1 million to reconstruct the Griggs Reservoir embankment and emergency spillway.

- $1.5 million for the Army Corps’ Central New Mexico Environmental Infrastructure program, which reimburses public agencies for already completed supply, water treatment, stormwater retention, flood protection, and environmental restoration projects.  The specific projects for reimbursement will be selected by the Army Corps in the coming weeks.

Operation and Maintenance

Funding includes $5.4 million for operation and maintenance of Jemez Canyon Dam in Sandoval County to ensure safety and reliable operations. This will include:

- $1.1 million to support routine flood risk management, recreation and environmental stewardship work. 

- $4.3 million to alleviate drainage issues behind the Santa Ana Pueblo Protection Works levee that protects the ancestral village of Tamaya. This project will alleviate health, safety and ecological concerns associated with sediment trapping and standing, stagnant water at the levee, which was built in the early 1950s.

Feasibility Studies for Future Construction

- $481,000 for two ongoing Army Corps studies to determine feasibility for future construction projects: 

- $115,000 to complete the feasibility study of the Española Valley, Rio Grande and Tributaries project, which is working with the Pueblos of Ohkay Owingeh, Santa Clara and San Ildefonso to improve flood risk management along the Rio Grande and Rio Chama, and for riparian ecosystem restoration to address flooding and water quality impacts resulting from the Las Conchas Fire. 

- $366,000 for the General Reevaluation Report and Supplemental Impact Statement for the Middle Rio Grande Flood Protection project to identify new project design features and mitigation options to replace existing flood control infrastructure along the Middle Rio Grande between Corrales and Belen. 

Restoration of Abandoned Mine Sites

The Corps also announced that New Mexico is eligible to receive a portion of the $2 million available through the Restoration of Abandoned Mine Sites program to assist with planning and design of projects that will protect rivers and streams and carry-outs and to address water quality problems caused by drainage from abandoned mines. The specific project sites have not yet been chosen.