The area of the 'site' consists of the Cove Wash watershed, which includes 50 of the 70 AUMs within the Lukachukai Mountains. The Cove Wash watershed is located within the Navajo Nation and extends at the highest elevations in the Lukachukai Mountains and downstream to Cove, Arizona. The watershed contains approximately 52 miles of tributaries and is defined by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as Hydrologic Unit Code 140801050903. Annual precipitation averages 12 to 16 inches throughout the watershed.
The Cove Wash watershed is not a known drinking water source, but may have been historically used by residents before drinking water was provided by a municipal source 20 years ago. However, it is not entirely clear if residents are currently using surface water and/or groundwater wells for drinking water (Lameman-Austin 2012, NNEPA 2014). Additionally, the Cove Wash watershed is a source of water for grazing livestock. Livestock and wildlife are dependent on water from streams, seeps, and springs. The Mexican Spotted Owl, a federally-listed species, is present throughout the watershed and nests from spring to late summer. Field activities will ensure that disturbance to nesting owls is minimized.