Photos: Heron Lake, New Mexico, August 2022

This page features ground-based photos of Heron Lake, a reservoir that stores water for the San Juan-Chama Project in northern New Mexico.

Located along Willow Creek, near its confluence with the Rio Chama, Heron Lake impounds water that originated in the Colorado River Basin. Through a transmountain diversion, water from the San Juan Basin is moved into the Rio Grande Basin. In addition to supplying irrigators, the lake supplies a portion of Albuquerque’s water supply thanks to a $400 million project completed in 2008.

Heron Dam is a 269-foot earthen structure that was finished in 1971 and is now operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Heron Lake State Park has been designed as a “quiet lake” where boats are only allowed to operate at no-wake speeds, but as of November 2022, all of the lake’s boat ramps were closed due to low water levels. Visitors are still allowed to launch small vessels and paddle craft from the shore.

DateAugust 22, 2022
LocationHeron Lake, N.M. (map)
CreditMitch Tobin/The Water Desk
RightsFree to reuse under Creative Commons license.

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