AMAFCA’s Development Review program serves to ensure technical, policy and procedural compliance for development within AMAFCA’s jurisdiction of current policy, regulation, and criteria promulgated by AMAFCA and other agencies. The program includes but is not limited to review and approval of site development plans, grading and drainage plans, preliminary plats, and final plats through City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County development process.

  • City Development Review Board (DRB)
  • City Design Review Committee (DRC)
  • City Environmental Planning Commission (EPC)
  • County Planning Commission (CPC)
  • County Development Review Authority (CDRA)

Recommendation: in order to avoid delays in review and approvals during the above processes, please be sure to contact AMAFCA in the early stages of development planning; transmitting critical documents directly to AMAFCA may reduce or eliminate unnecessary delays.

AMAFCA’s current Drainage Policy was established by the AMAFCA Board of Directors Resolution 2020-11 – Drainage Policy and is available here (100 kb). The Drainage Policy was established to set forth standards which are intended to protect the capacity of existing watercourses, to ensure adequate space to convey the design storm under urbanized development, and to prevent the capacity of existing and planned drainage facilities from being exceeded during the storm for which the facilities were designed.


AMAFCA must review and sign off on all plats/platting action within AMAFCA’s jurisdiction (view the AMAFCA jurisdictional map here). Below is the process for plats followed by AMAFCA.

  1. AMAFCA will review the plats electronically first, they can be emailed or shared with the Development Review Engineer
  2. Once reviewed and approved, the plat can be dropped off on a Friday afternoon at the AMAFCA Office at 2600 Prospect Ave. NE Albuquerque, NM 87107. Include a hard copy of the email approval with the plat. The plat will be signed-in with the AMAFCA Office Staff.
  3. The plats will be signed on Monday mornings. Notification will be given when signature is complete.
  4. The plat can then be picked up and signed out from the AMAFCA Office Staff.


The AMAFCA Drainage Policy states that “all right of way required to preserve an existing arroyo or to implement an approved drainage plan shall, to the extent the same is located within the 100-year floodplain at minimum, be granted or dedicated to a public authority without compensation as a condition of approval. …. The right of way required to preserve an arroyo is that land constituting its 100-year floodplain and all areas determined to be within the energy grade line limits as determined in the required drainage analysis report …of this Regulation. Limited grading or modification will be allowed within the area needed to preserve the arroyo…”

AMAFCA may require additional easements for things like access, embankment slope, or any other need required for AMAFCA’s mission of flood control.

Easements are subject to comments, direction, and approval by the AMAFCA Board of Directors and to the fee schedule shown below.

Encroachment/Maintenance Licenses & Turnkey Agreements

In the event a property owner wishes to construct any improvements within an easement granted to AMAFCA or within AMAFCA property, an Encroachment/Maintenance License and/or a Turnkey Agreement must be executed. Any improvements within an easement granted to AMAFCA or within AMAFCA property must meet AMAFCA’s design and construction requirements prior to approval.

Encroachment/Maintenance License – These licenses (also referred to as permits in some cases) are executed when a property owner proposes to construct any improvement within an easement granted to AMAFCA or within AMAFCA property and intends to maintain such improvements in a way that preserves the drainage and flood control function of such improvements. Encroachment/Maintenance Licenses are subject to the fee schedule shown below.

Turnkey Agreement – These agreements are executed when a property owner proposes to construct any drainage improvement within an easement granted to AMAFCA or within AMAFCA property and intends to turn over maintenance of such improvements to AMAFCA. This agreement is subject to comments, direction, and approval by the AMAFCA Board of Directors and to the fee schedule shown below. There is an additional Turnkey Agreement fee of two percent (2%) of the estimated construction costs of the improvements within the AMAFCA easement/property. The estimated construction costs of the improvements shall be approved by AMAFCA prior to finalization of turnkey agreement fee. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the finalized turnkey agreement fee shall be paid to AMAFCA upon approval of the turnkey agreement by the AMAFCA Board of Directors. The remaining twenty-five percent (25%) of the finalized turnkey agreement fee shall be paid to AMAFCA at time of signature for construction approval of the improvements by the AMAFCA Executive Engineer.

Service Fees

Below is a schedule of fees for goods and services associated with development review provided by AMAFCA as approved by the AMAFCA Board of Directors on June 24, 2021, per AMAFCA Resolution 2006-08 – Reimbursement for AMAFCA Goods and Services:

Property/Development Document Preparation and Administration $150

License Agreement Document Preparation and Administration $150

Recording documents (Easement/Quitclaim/Encroachment/etc.) $50/each

Note: These fees do not include applicable NM GRT.

North Albuquerque Acres

In North Albuquerque Acres, AMAFCA and Bernalillo County (and the City of Albuquerque in some locations), are the responsible entities for development review and stormwater management. Platted in the 1920-1930’s and sold as individual lots, the North Albuquerque Acres subdivision sought to preserve the rural nature of the foothills, and the arroyos were left largely in their natural state. To protect homeowners from the identified risk of flooding from these natural arroyos, AMAFCA and Bernalillo County beginning in the early 1990’s required individual property owners to submit Grading and Drainage Plans (G&Ds) for approval on proposed development. In some cases where an arroyo or flowpath was identified, AMAFCA and Bernalillo County required a grant a Drainage Easement to AMAFCA or Bernalillo County to preserve the conveyance of stormwater through each lot.

As development has increased in the area, a growing number of drainage issues have been identified by the agencies. For more information about current efforts to manage stormwater in North Albuquerque Acres, click here.

Storm Water Runoff is rain and snow melt that runs off surfaces like buildings, yards or hillsides, flowing down driveways, streets and channels, eventually reaching the Rio Grande. As storm water runs over these surfaces, it picks up pollutants left behind by our activity.

Most pollutants end up in the river; storm water is not treated like sewage.

According to the 1996 National Water Quality Inventory, storm water runoff is a leading source of water pollution. Even before that study it was recognized that storm water carried non-point sources of pollution.

Non-Point Source Pollution, like trash from your yard, is not usually intentional or concentrated, but it’s a problem nonetheless. Unlike sewage or industrial wastes which are regulated at their source, non-point sources must be controlled largely by individual effort.

You are the solution to Storm Water Pollution!
Storm Water

Storm water runoff is the most common cause of water pollution. Unlike pollution from industry or sewage treatment facilities, which is caused by discrete sources, storm water pollution is caused by the daily activities of people everywhere. Rainwater and snowmelt run off streets, lawns, farms, and construction and industrial sites and pick up pet waste, fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, oil and grease and many other pollutants on the way to the Rio Grande. Unlike sewage, storm water receives almost no treatment before it is released into the Rio Grande.


The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates storm water discharges under the Clean Water Act’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. On November 16, 1990, the EPA published regulations (the ‘Phase I rule’) requiring NPDES permits for sources of storm water runoff. The NPDES regulations cover discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), certain industrial activities, and construction activities that disturb one acre or more of land.

The Phase I storm water rule defines “municipal separate storm sewer” at 40 CFR 122.26(b)(8) to include any conveyance or system of conveyances that is owned or operated by a state or local government entity and is designed for collecting and conveying storm water which is not part of a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (i.e., not a combined sewer). The Phase I MS4 regulations apply to MS4s serving populations of 100,000 or more.

The Storm Water Phase I Final Rule requires operators of regulated MS4s to obtain an NPDES permit and develop a storm water management program designed to prevent harmful pollutants from being washed by storm water runoff into bodies of water.

Albuquerque MS4

AMAFCA, the City of Albuquerque, the New Mexico Department of Transportation, and the University of New Mexico are all co-permittees in the Albuquerque MS4 Permit. The permit was originally issued in 2003 and the newly updated MS4 permit was issued on March 1, 2012. The current permit covers a 5-year time frame and will expire on March 1, 2017.

On May 1, 2013 EPA published the draft Watershed-Based MS4 Permit for the Middle Rio Grande in the Federal Register. EPA also published a Fact Sheet on the draft Watershed-Based Permit to provide background information on the draft permit. Public comments were due July 1, 2013. AMAFCA comments were submitted to EPA Region 6 during the public comment period.

AMAFCA has updated the Storm Water Management Program (SWMP) that includes the following six minimum control measures:

  • Public Education and Outreach
  • Public Participation/Involvement
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  • Construction Site Runoff Control
  • Post-Construction Runoff Control
  • Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping

As part of the SWMP, AMAFCA staff strives to inform the public about the importance of maintaining and improving the health of our local watershed. AMAFCA is a member of the Mid Rio Grande Stormwater Quality Team (MRGSQT) which has the sole mission of informing the public about storm water quality issues. For more information about the MRGSQT, visit www.keeptheriogrand.org.

Click here to download the AMAFCA SWMP Revision 5 July 2020.

Click here to download the FY21 MS4 Program Summaries.

Click here to download the FY21 MS4 Annual Report Form.

Annual Report

Annually, AMAFCA submits a report to EPA. The 2021 report is available below. Note that the size of the document is listed next to the link. Please allow sufficient time for it to download. It will open in a separate tab or window.

Storm Water Quality

AMAFCA has a special interest in promoting storm water quality, as all of the water in our arroyos and channels eventually reaches the Rio Grande.

AMAFCA promotes storm water quality as a member of the “Storm Water Quality Team.” See the Keep the Rio Grand website for more information about this program which features Rio the Duck (you may have seen or heard our ads). The “Scoop the Poop” campaign is also one of the Storm Water Quality Team’s Initiatives.

AMAFCA has built a number of storm water quality facilities on the arroyos in its boundaries. Here are a few of them:

  • Tijeras Arroyo Sediment Retention Structure
  • Hahn Arroyo Storm Water Quality Structure
  • South Diversion Channel Baffle Chute Water Quality Structure
  • La Cueva Arroyo Water Quality Facility
  • Black Dam Water Quality Facility

More of these are listed on the AMAFCA Interactive Map.

As the owner of almost a hundred miles of ditches and arroyos in the Albuquerque area, AMAFCA has a special interest in promoting ditch safety. Our storms in New Mexico can arrive quickly, catching residents off guard. Just a few inches of rapidly-moving water can knock a person off their feet. As a result, the “Ditches are Deadly” program, with the slogan “Ditches are Deadly – Stay Away! Find Safe Places to Swim and Play” was developed, and is presented to schoolchildren all over the Albuquerque area. Summer ads and public service announcements also remind residents to stay out of the ditches.

AMAFCA promotes ditch safety as a member of the “Ditch and Water Safety Team.” See the City’s Ditch Safety webpage and the “Ditches are Deadly” website for more information about this program, which features summer swim passes for kids as a way to provide alternative recreation to keep them out of ditches and arroyos during monsoon season.