New Mexico Water Science Center

Environmental Geoscience

The Environmental Geoscience Unit approaches scientific questions from a broad perspective, combining multiple areas of expertise to understand water issues and the interaction of water with the surface and subsurface in New Mexico and across the Nation.  Capabilities in this unit include trend analysis of water quality across the nation, mining impacts on water, geomorphology and its relation to erosion and water quality, geochemical fingerprinting of sediment and water, sediment loads in surface waters, and unmanned aircraft systems.

Filter Total Items: 26
Date published: May 16, 2019
Status: Active

Ecohydrologic and Water Quality Data Collection at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and the Albuquerque South Valley Community Commons

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) New Mexico Water Science Center (NM WSC), in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA), and Bernalillo County (BERNCO), will measure and...

Contacts: Rebecca Travis
Date published: June 7, 2018
Status: Active

Geochemical Evidence of Groundwater Flow Paths and the Fate and Transport of Constituents of Concern in the Alluvial Aquifer at Fort Wingate Depot Activity, New Mexico

As part of an environmental investigation at Fort Wingate Depot Activity, New Mexico, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, interpreted aqueous geochemical concentrations to better understand the groundwater flow paths and the fate and transport of constituents of concern in the alluvial aquifer underlying the study area. The fine-grained nature of...

Date published: June 7, 2018
Status: Active

Hydrogeologic and geochemical characterization and evaluation of two arroyos for managed aquifer recharge by surface infiltration in the Pojoaque River Basin

In order to provide long-term storage of diverted surface water from the Rio Grande as part of the Aamodt water rights settlement, managed aquifer recharge by surface infiltration in Pojoaque River Basin arroyos was proposed as an option. The initial hydrogeologic and geochemical characterization of two arroyos located within the Pojoaque River Basin was performed in 2014 and 2015 in...

Date published: June 6, 2018
Status: Active

The Source of Groundwater and Solutes to Many Devils Wash at a Former Uranium Mill Site in Shiprock, New Mexico

The Shiprock Disposal Site is the location of the former Navajo Mill, a uranium ore-processing facility, located on a terrace overlooking the San Juan River in the town of Shiprock, New Mexico.The milling operations, conducted at the site from 1954 to 1968, created radioactive tailings and constituents of concern that are now found in the groundwater beneath the Mill. Elevated concentrations...

Date published: May 24, 2017
Status: Active

Assessment of Hydrologic Resources and the Potential Effects from Oil and Gas Development in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Tri-County Planning Area, Sierra, Doña Ana, and Otero Counties, New Mexico

The Tri-County Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS) “decision area” (the public lands and resources that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Sierra, Doña Ana, and Otero Counties) is a large (4,375 square miles) and varied landscape. The decision area contains both connected and closed surface-water and groundwater basins, some of which cross state and...

Date published: June 23, 2016
Status: Completed

USGS Data Collection: Real-Time Rain Gages for Post Conchas-Fire Flood-Early Warning System

The Las Conchas fire started on June 26, 2011, near the small community of Las Conchas in the Jemez Mountains of north-central New Mexico. When the fire was contained on August 3, 2011, it had burned 156,593 acres of mixed conifer, pinyon/juniper, and ponderosa forest. At the time, it was the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. Peak burn severity was extreme; over 60,000 acres of the total...

Date published: May 10, 2016
Status: Active

Drilling Replacement Monitoring Wells near the San Juan Coal Mine, NW New Mexico

The San Juan Coal Mine, an underground mine located about 12 miles west-northwest of Farmington, NM, supplies coal to the adjacent San Juan Generating Station. 

Date published: March 7, 2016
Status: Active

Monitoring for Potential Effects of the Gold King Mine Release on Water Quality in the Animas and San Juan Rivers in New Mexico using Continuous Monitors and Automatic Samplers

On August 5, 2015, about three million gallons of water and sediment were released from the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado, into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River. The New Mexico Environment Department, among other State, Tribal, and local entities in CO, NM, and UT, is concerned that metals associated with the water and sediment released from the Gold King Mine could have...

Date published: June 25, 2015
Status: Active

Changes in Watershed Hydrologic Response Time with Post-wildfire Changes in Vegetation and Surface Fuels Along a Severely-burned, High-desert Canyon, Bandelier National Monument, NM

Flash flooding can be a destructive and life-threatening response of watersheds to intense rainfall events, particularly in sparsely­ vegetated, or burned watersheds. Studies have been conducted to estimate the magnitude of hydrologic responses of burned watersheds to rainfall events, however the time that it takes a flood to travel through a burned watershed and reach a critical or populated...

Contacts: Anne C Tillery
Date published: June 23, 2015
Status: Completed

Post-Wildfire Investigation: Analysis of Soil Properties Based on Burn Severity

The Las Conchas fire started on June 26, 2011, near the small community of Las Conchas in the Jemez Mountains of north-central New Mexico. When the fire was contained on August 3, 2011, it had burned 156,593 acres of mixed conifer, pinyon/juniper and ponderosa forest and at the time was the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. Peak burn severity was extreme; over 60,000 acres of the total...

Date published: June 13, 2015
Status: Active

Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program (TAAP)

Transboundary aquifers are an essential source of water for United States – Mexico border communities. Declining water levels, deteriorating water quality, and increasing use of groundwater resources on both sides of the border raise concerns about the long-term availability of this supply.

The U.S. – Mexico Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Act (Public Law 109-448) of 2006 was enacted...

Date published: June 5, 2015
Status: Active

Streamgaging: Silent Sentinels

Streamflow data are needed at many sites on a daily basis for forecasting flow extremes, making water-management decisions, assessing current water availability, managing water quality, and meeting legal requirements. These activities require streamflow information at a given location for a specified time. These needs generally are best satisfied by operating a station to produce a continuous...

Contacts: Mark A Gunn