Watershed Dams

Watershed Districts

Watershed Districts are formed for the purpose of conservation of water, or of water usage, including water-based recreation, flood prevention, flood control, erosion prevention and control of erosion, and floodwater and sediment damages.  The land area in a watershed district must be contiguous and must lie within a well-defined watershed area or sub-watershed areas; and may embrace lands lying in one or more soil and water conservation districts, or lands lying partly within and partly outside a soil and water conservation district.  There are now eight active watershed districts in New Mexico since Dona Ana SWCD has recently formed the La Union Watershed District.

To view NRCS Dam Locations in New Mexico, click on the Dams.pdf file below.


Emergency Action Plans (EAPs)

Owners and operators of high hazard dams have a responsibility to develop emergency action plans (EAP)and to keep them current. These plans are developed to reduce the risk to loss of life and property if the dam fails. Many dam owners may not know where to start in developing EAPs or what to include in them.

In 2004, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) launched a joint effort to develop a sample EAP for earthen high hazard dams. A multi-agency work group was formed. This work group gathered good examples of EAPs from various state and federal agencies, solicited “lessons learned” from persons who had experienced activations of their EAPs, and developed a draft sample EAP that was routed for comment to many groups and organizations.

Based upon the information gathered and comments received, NRCS revised agency policy relating to content and format of EAPs and prepared a final sample EAP. An electronic fillable form, template, instructions, and helpful hints to prepare site specific EAPs were also developed.

The documents that were produced are available on the links listed below:

EAP Factsheet August 2016 (PDF; 0.4 MB)

Detailed instructions for completing the EAP fillable form (PDF; 0.4 MB)

Sample EAP developed using fillable form (PDF; 1.58 MB)

EAP Fillable form (WORD; 0.8 MB)

For more information, contact the NRCS State Conservation Engineer.


New Mexico Department of Agriculture received West Regional Award of Merit for exemplary contributions to dam safety in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer Dam Safety Bureau nominated NMDA for the ASDSO West Regional Award. This was for completing the Soil and Water Conservation District-Owned Dams Inundation Mapping and Emergency Action Planning Project. The project is a product of NMDA’s Agricultural Programs and Resources Division.

The Dam Inundation Mapping and Emergency Action Planning Project came into fruition in 2014. This was after the New Mexico Legislature provided $1 million to NMDA.  This money provided much needed Inundation Maps and Emergency Action Plans to Soil and Water Conservation and Watershed Districts.  NMDA also received funding through the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Hazardous Mitigation Grant Program. This assisted in the completion of five inundation maps and two regional workshops.



NMACD Admin,
Jul 12, 2019, 10:11 AM