Dona Ana and Sierra Counties
    Along Rio Grande River between Caballo Dam, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas
    National Register 8/08/1997
The Elephant Butte Irrigation District includes 217 contributing features spread over a vast discontinuous area. The features are all associated with the Bureau of Reclamation's Rio Grande Project located along the Rio Grande River of south-central New Mexico and westernmost Texas. Authorized in 1905, the Rio Grande Project accomplished the consolidation and reconstruction of small privately-built water diversion and conveyance structures located in the Rincon and Mesilla Valleys.   For the first time, the supply of irrigation water became both predictable and dependable; as a consequence, the amount of irrigated farmland in the Rincon and Mesilla Valleys tripled to more than 100,000 acres. The principal engineering features of the Rio Grande Project include Elephant Butte and Caballo storage dams, six diversion dams (Percha, Percha Arroyo, Leasburg, American, Mesilla, and Riverside), 141 miles of canals, 462 miles of laterals, 457 miles of drains, and one hydroelectric plant.   

The Elephant Butte Irrigation District listed in the National Register is one of three irrigation systems served by the complex Rio Grande Project.  The District contains three of the project diversion dams (Percha, Leasburg, and Mesilla) and over 200 canals, laterals, and drains. Other contributing features include the Leasburg Dam Tender's Residence and four siphons.    

In 1996, ownership of a majority of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District was transferred from the Bureau of Reclamation to the Elephant Butte Irrigation District operating entity.   Reclamation retains ownership of four contributing features: Leasburg Diversion Dam, Leasburg Dam Tender's Residence, Mesilla Diversion Dam, and Percha Diversion Dam.  The latter is also individually listed in the National Register.

            Elephant Butte Dam
       Elephant Butte Dam

Eddy County
      Vicinity of Carlsbad
      National Historic Landmark 7/19/1964
The Carlsbad Irrigation District, also known as the Carlsbad Project, is a large and complex irrigation project that provides water to about 25,000 acres of farmland in the Carlsbad area and along the valley to the south.   Private entrepreneurs initiated the project in the late 19th century.   They touted grandiose plans but were unsuccessful in seeing them to fruition.  In 1905, the Bureau of Reclamation purchased the struggling project and brought it to completion. The Federally-constructed features are representative of the early technical innovation and experimentation of the Bureau of Reclamation. Historically, water was distributed through a system that included Avalon Dam, McMillan Dam, two primary canals and a substantial network of laterals. Operation of the project was significantly modified with the construction of Alamogordo Dam in 1938 and Brantley Dam in 1988.  

In June 2000, title of the distribution system was transferred to the Carlsbad Irrigation District.   Of the 29 contributing properties identified in the National Historic Landmark, Reclamation retains title to 18 of them.   These include McMillan Dam and Reservoir; McMillan Spillway No. 1; McMillan Spillway No. 2; McMillan West Embankment; McMillan East Embankment; McMillan Railroad Dike; McMillan Gate Keeper's House; McMillan Garage/Boathouse; Avalon Dam and Reservoir; Avalon Spillway No. 1; Avalon Spillway No. 2; Avalon Spillway No. 3; Avalon Suspension Bridge; Avalon Water Distribution System; Avalon Gate Keeper's House; Avalon Garage; Avalon Warehouse; and Avalon Guard House.

            Arch Hurley Building, New Mexico
       Arch Hurley Building, Headquarters for the Tucumcari Project, in 1940 or 1941

Quay County
      101 E. High St. , Tucumcari  
      National Register 12/16/1994
The Arch Hurley Conservancy District Office Building was constructed in 1940 by the Bureau of Reclamation as the administrative offices for the Tucumcari Project.   Authorized in 1938, the Tucumcari Project provides water to about 34,000 acres of land in east-central New Mexico.   Arch Hurley, a local businessman for whom the building was named, played a central role lobbying for the project's construction.   Hurley was also the first president of the irrigation district that bears his moniker. The style of the office building is Spanish-Pueblo Revival but in a fairly austere form reflecting the building's origins at the end of the Great Depression. The rectangular plan, one-story building is of concrete block with exterior walls finished with cement stucco.   The Bureau of Reclamation and the Arch Hurley Conservancy District both occupied the building from 1940 through 1953.   Thereafter, it was used exclusively by the Conservancy District.

Sierra County

      Truth or Consequences vicinity
      National Register 12/16/1989
The Reclamation-owned Monticello Point Archaeological district and 15 individual archaeological sites (of which Reclamation owns ten) together comprise the Prehistoric Adaptations along the Rio Grande Drainage, Sierra County, New Mexico, Thematic Resources Nomination. The sites represent prehistoric occupation in the Mogollon culture area in Southern New Mexico from between circa A.D. 200 to A.D. 1250.   Included in the nomination are sites representing the Mimbres Mogollon culture that occurred west of the Rio Grande and the Jornada Mogollon culture that occurred east of the Rio Grande.  Some multi-component sites include materials typical of both cultures. All of the sites are habitation features that exhibit a wide range of architecture and artifacts.   

     On the Rio Grande River north of Truth or Consequences
     National Register 4/09/1979
Elephant Butte Dam is the principal feature of the Rio Grande Project, one of the early irrigation projects undertaken by the Bureau of Reclamation following passage of the Reclamation Act of 1902. Construction of the project facilities resulted in the delivery of a predictable and dependable water supply to farmers in the Rio Grande Valley in south-central New Mexico and west Texas. Built between 1911 and 1916, Elephant Butte Dam is a gravity concrete structure with a height of 301 feet and a crest length of 1,674 feet.   The enormous dam was a major engineering feat in its day.  It created Elephant Butte Reservoir, the largest irrigation reservoir in the world when completed.  Elephant Butte Dam is also significant for touching off an historic debate over interstate and international aspects of water use.   Under a 1906 treaty, the United States is required to provide Rio Grande water to Mexico. Elephant Butte Dam is incorporated in the Elephant Butte Historic District National Register listing.

      Roughly along NM 51 from the Elephant Butte Dam to Mescal Canyon and along NM 52
      from Ash Canyon to Long Ridge
      National Register 2/10/97
The Elephant Butte Historic District encompasses Elephant Butte Dam and surrounding historic buildings, structures, and archaeological sites dating as early as 1908.  All are directly related to the construction and subsequent operation of the dam and reservoir, the principal features of the Bureau of Reclamation's Rio Grande Project.   Many surviving buildings and structures date to the New Deal and include Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) - built tourist facilities and fish hatchery buildings, extensive CCC-built landscaping, and a Public Works Administration - built hydroelectric plant.   There are 74 contributing features in the district. Although the unifying thread of the district is its historical importance, elements are also significant for their architectural and engineering values or for their ability to contribute important information through archaeological study.

            Elephant Butte Cottages
      Elephant Butte Cottages

    Vicinity of Elephant Butte
    National Register 4/07/2005
Fort McRae, a frontier military post in operation from April 3, 1863 , until October 30, 1876, served an important function during that period of Indian and Euro-American conflict in the New Mexico Territory. One of the primary purposes of the fort was to protect nearby Euro-American settlements from Apache depredation. Additionally, the fort was located close to the Ojo del Muerto, one of the only water sources available to travelers along the dreaded Jornada de Muerto, the centuries-old north-south route across the inhospitable desert of central New Mexico, which lay just a few miles east.  Today Fort McRae consists of archaeological remains which normally are inundated by the waters of Elephant Butte Reservoir.

      2 miles northeast of Arrey
      National Register 4/06/1979  
Percha Diversion Dam is an integral feature of the widespread Rio Grande Project, an early Bureau of Reclamation irrigation project that was authorized in 1905. Construction of the project facilities resulted in the delivery of a predictable and dependable water supply to farmers in the Rio Grande Valley in south-central New Mexico and west Texas.   Located two miles downstream from Caballo Dam on the Rio Grande River, Percha Dam is a concrete ogee weir structure with embankment wings.   It was constructed between 1916 and 1918. The dam diverts water into the Rincon Valley Main Canal, which provides water to over 16,000 acres of land in the Rincon Valley.  Individually listed in the National Register, Percha Dam is also included as a contributing feature of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District National Register District.   

Hoover Dam Floor Design

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Last Updated: 7/24/15