Los Lunas Silvery Minnow Refugium
The Los Lunas Silvery Minnow Refugium demonstrates a high degree of achievement. It will assist the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (NMISC) in meeting the requirements of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2003 Biological Opinion: to spawn and propagate the Rio Grande silvery minnow (Hybognathus amarus) (RGSM), which was listed as endangered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1994 (and was also listed by New Mexico, Texas, and the Republic of Mexico). The RGSM is endangered due to the loss of floodplain spawning habitat, barriers to migration, pollution, the introduction of non-native species, and the over-allocation of water (which can dewater the Rio Grande during the dry Summer months).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2003 Biological Opinion required the construction of two new refugia to spawn and propagate the silvery minnow. The design and construction of both refugia were funded by NMISC. The first refugium (also designed by HDR) was given to the City of Albuquerque BioPark. The second, the Los Lunas Silvery Minnow Refugium, is operated by the NMISC and will be a key component of RGSM recovery efforts.
NMISC selected HDR to design the refugium on a 2.5-acre site at the Los Lunas Hospital and Training School campus in the Village of Los Lunas, New Mexico.
The Refugium demonstrates a high degree of innovation. It minimizes genetic drift, inbreeding, and domestication; mimics the natural hydrograph (water flow, velocity, depth, quality, and turbidity); and provides available habitats for different life stages that have occurred historically in the Rio Grande (overbank areas, islands with vegetation, off-channel areas, etc.). It will allow for the maximum beneficial use of Rio Grande water to all facets of our community.
The refugium has a unique sustainability component incorporated into the design. Due to severe water right limitations, the project has a 99.5% recirculation flow (1800 gpm) requirement. Of the 0.5 percent make up flow (9 gpm), only evaporative losses are consumptive while any additional water discharged from the system is given a return flow credit as it returns into an infiltration gallery designed on site.
HDR provided post-construction support services for the operation of this unique facility.
- 2008 - Engineering Design, Best of 2008 New Mexico Awards, Southwest Contractor
- 2008 - Small Project in the Nation, Best of the Best Awards, McGraw Hill Construction
- 2008 - Environmental Category, Engineering Excellence Awards, American Council of Engineering Companies New Mexico