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The State Game Commission will make another important decision about the future of wild creatures in New Mexico.

September 30, 2015

The New Mexican

The State Game Commission will make another important decision today about the future of wild creatures in New Mexico.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials want to release up to 10 raised-in-captivity Mexican gray wolves, a move that has been rejected by the Department of Game and Fish. That decision has been appealed to the State Game Commission, which will be deciding the matter today at a meeting in Albuquerque. (The meeting, at Embassy Suites, 1000 Woodward Place NE, begins at 9 a.m., but wolf enthusiasts plan to rally at 8 a.m.)

Releasing more wolves into the wild is essential in adding genetic diversity to the wild population. The department should have allowed the release, and the commissioners should overturn the initial decision. That likely won’t happen, given the commission’s recent spate of decisions against carnivores.

Commissioners’ decisions have made it easier to hunt and kill cougars and bears. They denied a permit to Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch to aid in the federal wolf recovery program by providing pen space — a reversal of 17 years of a program that worked. This clearly is a Game Commission hostile to wild animals.

Should the commission not allow the release of additional wolves, we trust that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bosses will use the Endangered Species Act to force New Mexico’s hand. Under federal law, the United States is charged with protecting the endangered wolves and striving to ensure their survival. Only 110 Mexican gray wolves are believed to be roaming in our state and neighboring Arizona.

For the wolves to thrive, a more diverse DNA is necessary. Releasing these wolves — born in captivity but ready to take to the wilderness — is essential to the survival of a species. New Mexico is not alone in trying to block the release of these wolves; Arizona also is dragging its feet.

Such short-sightedness on the state level must be fought by aggressive federal action. If the states won’t do the right thing by wolves, the federal government must act, using its authority under the Endangered Species Act. Humans pushed the wolf to extinction. By acting wisely, humans can restore the wolf to its rightful place. Release the wolves, with or without state approval.

Click here for the original article

 

 

 

Support Reauthorization and Full Funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Time is ticking down and there is little time left until America’s most important conservation and recreation program expires. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), created in 1964, is a little known program with an enormous impact – it protects urban, state and national parks; trails; wildlife refuges; historic sites; hunting and fishing areas; ball fields and playgrounds for all Americans to enjoy. Most of the iconic public lands we cherish were protected by LWCF from Rocky Mountain National Park and the Appalachian Trail, to our nation’s history at Gettysburg National Military Park, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, and more. But the program, and the places it protects, is threatened this year without action.

In its 50-year history, LWCF has touched every state and 98% of counties, funding over 42,000 state and local conservation and recreation projects. It also boosts the outdoor recreation economy which is a $646 billion dollar industry supporting 6.1 million American jobs. But LWCF is unique in that it does not use a dime of taxpayer money to protect our nation’s heritage; instead it is funded through a small portion of off-shore oil and gas drilling royalties. The concept is simple: balance the depletion of one American resource -oil and gas- to protect another – our forests, water, and wildlife.

The success of the program has come despite the fact that LWCF has only been fully funded once, with dollars intended for conservation instead going to other programs – putting outdoor recreation and conservation projects across the country on hold and at risk. If Congress does not act before September 30 of this year, LWCF will not be able to preserve lands threatened by development, make wildlife refuges and parks whole, protect drinking water supplies, and create local parks. And some in Congress want to divert even more funds from the program, or change completely the program that has worked so well for the past 50 years.  But there is hope – there are three bills pending in Congress that show the bipartisan support of the program.  These bills were offered by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Congressman Mike FItzpatrick (R-PA)calling for reauthorization of LWCF. Please join these champions of your public lands in demanding that this vital program is renewed for all Americans, before it is too late.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION

Santa Fe Forest Plan Revision

Published October 22, 2015

News From the Santa Fe National Forest: Click Here for Official websitestelprd3791437

Welcome! The Forest Plan is an important document that governs all of our management actions. It is time for us to revise our existing plan. We invite you to work with us to develop a new plan that promotes a healthy, diverse, and productive Santa Fe National Forest. Our goal is to remain inclusive and efficient as we move through the collaborative planning process.

Are you interested in or affected by the way that Santa Fe National Forest is managed? We want to hear from you!

There will be several opportunities for you to participate in the revision process, beginning in 2014. We also plan to consult with area Tribes as well as local, state, and federal agencies to get their feedback.

The revision process involves three phases:

  1. Assess the condition of forest resources
  2. Develop a revised plan
  3. Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the plan

Click Here to Get Involved

The Forest Plan Revision process is expected to take several years. You will have many opportunities to engage during that time, from public meetings and workshops to virtual communication. Upcoming meetings and events will be posted here. Please stay tuned!
Symposium Meeting Agenda

The Symposium on October 23rd,  at the Santa Fe Community College from 8:30am to 3pm, will follow the release of the Draft Assessment on October 20th.  The Symposium is a chance for you to hear from the specialists who wrote the Draft Assessment, which includes your input and evaluates current ecological, economic, and social conditions.

Fall 2015 “Need-for-Change” Meetings Dates and Locations

10 Need-for-Change meetings, October 26th to November 17th, throughout the Santa Fe National Forest.  Need-for-change statements recommend changing 1987 Forest Plan as new Forest Plan develops.  Public input needed to propose need-for-change statements as well as edit proposed statements.
Meeting Schedule:

Date

Time Location Room Address
10/23/2015 8:30am-3:00pm Santa Fe Community College Board Room (West Wing Room 223) 6401 Richards Ave.
Santa Fe, NM 87508
10/26/2015 6:00-8:00pm Rio Arriba County Rural Events Center Large Conference Room State Road 554 House #122-A
El Rito, NM 87530
10/27/2015 6:00-8:00pm Mora Independent School Board Room 10 Ranger Rd.
Mora, NM 87732
10/28/2015 6:00-8:00pm Eichwald Center Gym Martinez Drive
Cuba, NM 87013
11/02/2015 6:00-8:00pm Mesa Public Library Rooms 1, 2, and 3 2400 Central Ave
Los Alamos, NM 87544
11/03/2015 6:00-8:00pm New Mexico Highlands University STEC rooms 203 and 204 1031 11th Street
Las Vegas, NM 87701
11/09/2015 6:00-8:00pm Coyote Elementary School Gym St. Highway 96
Coyote, NM 87012
11/10/2015 6:00-8:00pm Pecos Elementary School High School Library 10 Panther Pkwy, Hwy 63 N
Pecos, NM 87552
11/12/2015 6:00-8:00pm Santa Fe National Forest Supervisors Office Conference Rooms A and B 11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87508
11/16/2015 6:00-8:00pm Science and Education Center Jemez Springs Conference Room 090 Villa Louis Martin
Jemez Springs, NM 87025
11/17/2015 6:00-8:00pm UNM West Room 2222
(2nd floor)
2600 College Blvd. NE
Rio Rancho, NM 87144

Need-for-Change Meeting Agenda:

  • 6:00-6:20           Welcome and introductions
  • 6:20-6:35           Presentation on how “need-for-change” meeting fits into the Forest Plan Revision process
  • 6:35-7:45           Breakout sessions where the public creates and edits proposed “need-for-change” statements
  • 7:45-8:00           Summary and evaluation

Draft Assessment

The Assessment rapidly evaluates current conditions and trends on 15 topics on Ecological, Economic, and Social conditions, and does not provide any recommendations about what should be in the Forest Plan.  The Santa Fe National Forest Draft Assessment was released on October 20, 2015.

Draft Assessment Volume 1. (Ecological Resources)

Draft Assessment Volume 2. (Socioeconomic Report)

Contact the Forest Plan Revision Team

Santa Fe National Forest
Forest Plan Revision Team
phone:  505-438-5442
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM  87508

What’s New?

The Symposium on October 23rd,  at the Santa Fe Community College from 8:30am to 3pm.

10 Need-for-Change meetings, October 26th to November 17th, throughout the Santa Fe National Forest.

Draft Assessment Volume 1. (Ecological Resources)

Draft Assessment Volume 2. (Socioeconomic Report)

View the Public Participation Plan which includes what we heard from the public over the last year, a timeline of Forest Plan Revision, and great opportunities for the public to engage.
 
Click here for a summary of public inputs from the Forest Plan Revision Assessment Meetings that occured in April and May of 2014.

Game panel delays decision on Mexican wolf appeal

Game panel delays decision on Mexican wolf appeal

 — The New Mexico Game Commission has delayed a decision on an appeal filed by federal officials who are seeking to release endangered Mexican gray wolves as part of recovery efforts in the Southwest.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initially sought three permits, including one to release a pair of wolves and their pups onto federal land in New Mexico and another allowing for up to 10 captive pups to be raised by foster wolves in the wild.
The requests were denied in June by the state game and fish director.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional deputy director, Joy Nicholopoulos, told commissioners during a meeting Thursday in Santa Fe that delaying releases could compromise the genetics of the wild population in New Mexico and Arizona.

The commission is expected to take up the matter again next month.

 

Expanded NM cougar, bear hunting OK’d

By
UPDATED: Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 10:56 pm
PUBLISHED: Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 1:43 pm
SANTA FE — The state Game Commission on Thursday unanimously approved expanded hunting of bears and cougars — including cougar trapping on 9 million acres of state lands – over the fierce objections of critics who said the decision was rooted in politics, not science. The vote was followed by an outburst from some opponents in the packed meeting room, with cries of “Shame on you” and “You’re a disgrace” directed at commission members. The new rules, effective in the license year beginning in April 2016, allow a 26 percent increase in the number of bears that can be killed statewide each year by hunters, from 640 to 804. The per-hunter limit for shooting cougars in most areas of the state will double from two to four, although the statewide limit of about 750 will remain. lobo2 dryheatphotography 640x640The requirement to obtain permits to trap cougars on private land will be lifted. And for the first time – at the request of Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn – cougar leg-hold trapping and snaring will be allowed on the trust lands that are managed by the State Land Office. The trapping will be allowed annually from November through March.
 
The Game and Fish Commission today approved expanding cougar and bear hunting in New Mexico. The Game Commission said in a statement after the voice vote that the changes are “based on sound science and research,” relying on current estimates of population densities, how much habitat is available, and other research data. “The only thing we can truly rely on is the scientific data,” Commissioner Elizabeth Ryan said at the meeting. Ranching, farming and livestock groups endorsed the expanded hunting as a means of predator control, and hunting guides and outfitters backed the new rules as well. “The lion and bear populations, at least in my part of the state, are on the increase,” Ty Bays, a third-generation rancher from Silver City, told the commission. But critics of the new rules – most of the roughly 250 people at the meeting – questioned the validity of the research data the Game Commission relied on. And they said that even if the populations are up – for which they said there is no supportive data in the case of cougars – commissioners hadn’t provided any economic or ecological reasons to justify expanded hunting. “We don’t know how you get from ‘We have more’ … to ‘We need to kill more,’ ” said Kevin Bixby of the Southwest Environmental Center.
 
Opponents said trapping is cruel and indiscriminate, with the potential of snagging unintended wildlife – including cougar kittens and nursing mothers – as well as humans and their dogs. And they said that although the new bear research data collected by the commission indicate there are more bears than previously thought, there was a 28 percent drop in the number of bears killed by hunters last year, with no accompanying decline in licenses. Members of the commission, who were appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez, said they were inundated with thousands of emails from supporters and opponents of the rules change. Commissioner Bill Montoya said some critics apparently believe the Game Commission and the Department of Game and Fish want to destroy species. “Our intent is not to eliminate any species. … Our intent is to manage, correctly manage, with all the biological information we can put together,” Montoya said.
 
Opponents of the new rules who rallied before the meeting, however, said the Martinez administration is anti-predator and is catering to the livestock industry while ignoring the wishes of most New Mexicans. The commission “has chosen to blow off the conservation community,” said Dave Parsons, who coordinated the federal Mexican wolf recovery program for nine years. “The New Mexico Game Commission is pathetically political,” Parsons added. Commissioners on Thursday also heard an appeal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the commission’s earlier denial of permits for the federal agency to release more Mexican wolves this year as part of the ongoing recovery program. The commission could vote on the appeal next month. The department said it rejected the permit requests because the federal agency’s 1982 wolf recovery plan has not been updated. But Joy Nicholopoulos told the commission that a revised recovery plan “is not required to continue Mexican wolf recovery efforts in any state, including New Mexico.”
 
The federal agency will have a new recovery plan by the end of 2017, she said. In the meantime, it’s critical for the health of the wolf population – now at least 110 in Arizona and New Mexico – that genetic diversity be increased by releasing additional wolves from the captive population, she said. That includes a plan for “cross-fostering,” in which wolf pups less than two weeks old are taken from their captive, biological parents and placed in dens of wild wolves to be raised by wild parents. Nicholopoulos also said that if releases are curtailed, the federal Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility – where the wolves are being held – won’t have the pen space to take in problem wolves that have to be removed from the wild.

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