2019 Spring Conference Recap



If you missed this years conference, make plans now to attend next years conference! The week began with a well attended workshop with topics ranging from regulations and dam failure modes to dam operation, maintenance, inspections, EAPs, and liability. In short, a full immersion into flood related topics that not everyone is familiar with but probably should be
Thursday morning’s sessions kicked off with an address by Charles Thompson, Office of the State Engineer Dam Safety Bureau Chief, with a full depth review of the state of New Mexico’s dams, the current activities of the Dam Safety Bureau, and some of the challenges the DSB faces. We also heard an update on the long-anticipated Colorado-New Mexico Regional Extreme Precipitation Study…
Which was followed in quick succession by a presentation by our New Mexico State Forester, Laura McCarthy on the statewide forest and watershed health plan, timber harvest planning, wildfire suppression and prevention, Firewise programs, reforestation, erosion control, post-fire rehab, and rare plant inventory and protection. We also received a New Mexico Legislature Update from Melanie A. Stansbury, Representative for District 28
Dan Sebert got more than his typical 15-minute time allotment to fill us in on the multitude of activities that the National Watershed Coalition continues to be engaged in, and John Crotty gave us the lowdown on the intricacies of the Clean Water Act and the Waters of the United States, and where we may be headed legal-wise.
John D’Antonio has returned to his former job as New Mexico’s State Engineer despite his familiarity with the long list of challenges he has to face. He had some ideas on how he NMWDOC could help out, and presented some potential sources of funding
Chuck Caruso revealed the secrets of upper watershed erosion control, including the not-so-well-known Hug And Shove, Nudge Not Shove, and Choke And Float methods. Next, some of us toured the Athena Pond at Bernalillo, and the Sal Reyes Dam at Algodones (which employs off-channel storage to eliminate the need for emergency spillways). The high point was the trip across the Bernalillo Watershed Protection Project overlooking the Rio Grande, where we witnessed first-hand how terraces affect the two Vs (vegetation and velocity)
Meanwhile back at the conference, sessions continued full swing with presentations on seepage concerns at Lake White Dam in Ohio, lessons learned from a near failure of Two Mile Dam at Santa Fe, New Mexico, experiences developing simple EAPs, an update on Dam Watch, and the development of an early warning system by the Dona Ana County Flood Commission
Friday morning took off with Ayana Brown switching gears from NRCS Dam Watch to presenting a session on watershed funding opportunities (who doesn’t need more money!) before the conference split into less technical and more technical tracks
The more technical track started off with Chris Naidu’s review of the advantages and requirements when using 2-D watershed modeling tools. We then got the inside look at 3-D modeling of Seepage Control Adits at the Abiquiu Dam, followed by uplift considerations for concrete dams and ethical considerations associated with water engineering related to drinking water and stormwater protection
The “less” technical track included an update on the Rio Grande Water Fund, watershed initiatives in the Hatch and Mesilla Valleys (south central New Mexico), the BOR El Vado Dam Corrective Action Study, and flood control with a twist (presenting some novel projects involving water). To get an idea of the conference sessions check out the presentations HERE