Urban Storm Water
Ciudad SWCD strives to protect and improve watershed health and resultant water quality within its District boundaries. One way in which we pursue this goal is to coordinate with municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) agencies and regulatory agencies to reduce pollution discharges with storm water runoff from urbanized areas within our District. Some example activities include:
- Ciudad SWCD has coordinated the development of two Watershed Restoration Action Strategies (WRAS), one for the Rio Grande-Albuquerque (2006) and one for Tijeras Creek (2004). Each WRAS provides a framework for reducing runoff pollution into its respective receiving water body. For information about sources of bacterial loading to the Rio Grande, please see the 2005 Middle Rio Grande Microbial Source Tracking Assessment Report.
- Steve Glass, Chairman of the Ciudad SWCD Board, also represents Bernalillo County on the Water Protection Advisory Board (WPAB), which advises the Bernalillo County Commission, the Albuquerque City Council and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority on water quality issues (including storm water pollution reduction). Steve was elected Chairman of WPAB for 2014.
- Ciudad SWCD participates as an advisory organization to the Middle Rio Grande Stormwater Quality Team, whose goal is effective public outreach and education around the topic of storm water pollution.
- Ciudad SWCD Supervisors provide in-school presentations for local 5th grade classes about watershed health and storm water pollution prevention in conjunction with the annual RiverXchange program. In addition, District Supervisors, staff and volunteers provide watershed training upon request with our Rolling River demonstration trailer.
- Ciudad SWCD maintains the Rio Grande Clean Water Partnership Information Exchange as a resource for local watershed management agencies to share information and opportunities.
- Ciudad SWCD in 2011 and 2012 coordinated a public outreach campaign about responsible septic system management, in support of the Middle Rio Grande Stormwater Quality Team. A 2005 study showed that 16% of fecal coliform bacteria reaching the Rio Grande is from human sources, likely including mis-managed and failing septic systems.
- Since 2010, Ciudad SWCD has participated actively with local stakeholders, with NMED and with EPA in developing one of the first watershed-based Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits in the U.S. In the absence of EPA funding, Ciudad SWCD has successfully acquired several grants through the Clean Water Act Section 604(b) Watershed Planning program to fund the effort. Using 604(b) funds, Ciudad SWCD employed Jessica Bennett, a master's student in Environmental Engineering at NM Tech in Socorro, to develop an algorithm using consensus-based watershed characteristics to determine the relative storm water pollution impact potential for jurisdictions in the Middle Rio Grande. The resulting spreadsheet model, completed in 2013, allows jurisdictions to evaluate relative resource commitments when collaborating for storm water permit compliance programs. The spreadsheet, along with other pertinent project documentation, is available in the project library here.
- Beginning in 2013, Ciudad SWCD and partner organization the New Mexico Water Collaborative will design, permit and construct a green infrastructure facility to prevent stormwater pollution from a local business parking lot. See our project page for more detail.