Fort Wingate Depot Activity Site

Final Resource Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment-Fort Wingate Depot Activity Site February 1, 2024

Fort Wingate Complaint and Approved Consent Decree


The Fort Wingate Depot Activity (FWDA) site is an inactive U.S. Army depot whose former mission was to receive, store, and ship defense-related material and to dispose of obsolete or deteriorated explosives and military munitions. In 1993, its active mission ceased and the installation was closed.

Activities at the site resulted in the release of hazardous substances including lead, arsenic, other metals, volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and explosive compounds.

FWDA currently occupies approximately 24 square miles of land in McKinley County in northwestern New Mexico and is almost entirely surrounded by federally owned or administered lands, including both national forest and tribal lands.

The Site includes an approximately 7,400-acre magazine or “Igloo” area consisting of 732 earth-covered igloos and 241 earthen revetments previously used for storage of munitions; Open Burn/Open Detonation areas; a 700- acre industrial area containing former ammunition maintenance and renovation facilities, an 800-acre administration area containing offices, housing, warehouses, and other structures; and approximately 7,400 acres of buffer zones.

The FWDA site contains a range of topographic elevations and vegetative communities that include cold desert, semiarid, and seasonal wetlands. Upland forested habitats include ponderosa and piñon/juniper woodland; desert scrublands are home to grass and shrub mixes; and lowland seasonal wetlands support a diverse community of riparian species. These vegetative communities provide habitat for mammals, birds, and other biota.  In particular, the wetlands are of critical importance to wildlife because of the arid climate and the general scarcity of water in the region.

Environmental remediation of the FWDA lands still under Army control is ongoing under the authority of the New Mexico Environment Department Hazardous Waste Bureau. For more information please see and


The installation is located approximately 12 miles east of the City of Gallup, New Mexico, on Historic US Route 66.

Map credit:

Co-Trustees for natural resources located at/near FWDA

State of New Mexico, Office of the Natural Resources Trustee (ONRT)

Navajo Nation

Zuni Tribe

United States Department of the Army

United States Bureau of Indian Affairs

United States Forest Service

Case Status

The Co-Trustees have worked cooperatively to evaluate potential injuries to all natural resources caused by known activities at the Depot, including to groundwater, upland forested habitats, desert scrublands, and lowland seasonal wetlands, as well as the natural resource and cultural service losses potentially associated with such injuries.

The Co-Trustees have reached an agreement with the United States, on behalf of the U.S. Army, to settle claims for natural resource injuries caused by releases of hazardous substances at or from FWDA. The agreement calls for payments totaling $1,451,069.84 to restore natural resources and cultural services that were injured by releases of hazardous substances from FWDA. The settlement includes $1,020,150 for upland/lowland restoration projects; $117,000 for cultural services damages; $160,770.84 for Trustees’ past costs, and $153,149 for future Trustee costs. A proposed consent decree outlining the terms of the settlement agreement was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on March 28, 2022. On March 29, 2022 a Press Release was issued notifying the public of the comment period for the proposed settlement agreement terms, which ran from April 1, 2022 through May 2, 2022. On August 9, 2022 the Court entered the proposed consent decree and the settlement agreement become effective and binding on the parties. 

Restoration Planning

Following the settlement agreement (consent decree) approval by the Court, ONRT worked together with the Co-Trustees listed above to evaluate, prioritize and select natural resource restoration projects utilizing the settlement funds.  Both tribes have long-standing historical ties to the lands in and around the former Ft. Wingate munitions depot.  In addition, separate and apart from this settlement, substantial portions of the FWDA were transferred to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in trust for each of the tribes. 

Following the process prescribed under Federal law the Draft Resource Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Fort Wingate Depot Activity Site Draft for Public Review was completed and posted for public comment on December 15, 2023. The 30-day public comment ended on January 19th, 2024 at 5pm (MST). Draft comments were incorporated into the Final Resource Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Fort Wingate Depot Activity Site on February 1, 2024. Please see the press release for more information.