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Open-file Report - 543
Sacramento Mountains Hydrogeologic Study: Final technical report. Prepared for Otero Soil and Water Conservation District (Supersedes OFR 518)

B. T. Newton, G. C. Rawling, S. S. Timmons, L. Land, P. S. Johnson, T. J. Kludt, and J. M. Timmons

2012

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In 2005, the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources initiated a hydrogeology study in the southern Sacramento Mountains with funding from legislative appropriations through the Otero Soil and Water Conservation district. The project was initiated and research funding was continued because of concerns about future water resources for local communities in the southern Sacramento Mountains. Over the past decade, water managers and residents have observed decreasing spring discharge and streamflow in the area, and significant declines of water-levels in wells. Land and resource managers have expressed interest in the potential to increase water availability by thinning woodlands in the mountain watersheds. The focus of this investigation has been to characterize the hydrogeologic framework of the southern Sacramento Mountains and surrounding areas. The results of this study also provide a foundation to assess the impact of tree thinning on groundwater-levels, spring discharge and streamflow in an ongoing study of a small mountain watershed.

Understanding the regional hydrologic system is important for sustainable water resource management in local communities. Much of the groundwater in the Sacramento Mountains ultimately recharges adjacent regional aquifer systems. Previous studies have indicated that significant quantities of groundwater in the Salt Basin to the south and the Roswell Artesian Basin aquifer to the east originate as precipitation in the Sacramento Mountains. However, the dominant mechanisms by which this water travels from the mountains to surrounding aquifers have not been well understood.

The goals of this regional hydrogeologic investigation were (1) to delineate areas of groundwater recharge; (2) determine directions and rates of groundwater movement; and (3) develop a conceptual model of interactions between different aquifers and the groundwater and surface water systems. Methods used for this study include geologic mapping, groundwaterlevel measurements, and geochemical and isotopic Executive Summary techniques. This report describes the results of this multi-scale study.

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OFR543_Appendices.zip 19.00 MB 12/16/2013 12:05:28 PM
OFR543_june12_HR.pdf 63.51 MB 06/22/2012 10:41:53 AM
OFR543_june12_LR.pdf 7.46 MB 06/22/2012 11:06:25 AM

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