NMWF March Newsletter: Policy Updates, Upcoming Events, And More
Why is NMWF Taking a Position on the Border Wall?
On March 1st we delivered a letter to the governor asking her to oppose the proposed border wall.
Life on our border extends beyond human habitation and a shared culture. In the vast Chihuahuan Desert and Coronado National Forest, thousands of diverse wildlife species thrive and migrate across our shared border for survival. The heart of one of the the largest and most ecologically diverse wildlife corridors in all of the Americas exists at the center of the wall’s proposed construction site. The southern end of the Rocky Mountains, the northern end of the Sierra Madres and the edges of both the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts all intersect on New Mexico’s border.
Regional native species, including desert bighorn sheep, Sonoran pronghorn, Coues deer, jaguar to myriad game and songbirds and non-game mammals and reptiles depend upon the unwalled border corridor for their survival. These species migrate across the different existing international barriers in search of food, mates, sources of water, and to ensure the survival of their species. Beyond our shared responsibility to co-habitate with wildlife, these species also serve critical needs to the people of New Mexico, including the sustainability of our food supply, economic development through hunting, wildlife watching, and other recreation opportunities, and also help ensure we keep our desert and forest ecosystems in conditions that mitigate the impact of flash flooding and forest fires. Additionally, the Mexican government has stated its opposition to the border wall on many grounds, including the negative impacts on shared ecosystems and wildlife corridors along the border that both countries mutually manage.
A conservation issue of this magnitude needs to include the negative impacts the wall would have on the human communities on both sides of the border that are so closely tied to this unique landscape and its wildlife. Like wildlife, the people that inhabit the border region do not stop at the border. These are not just our neighbors to the south, but for many of us these are our friends and family members. Today, pragmatic conservation issues simply cannot be addressed apart from the social and economic ramifications that come with them. We can all agree that the considerable immigration challenges that face this nation need to be addressed head on, but how we solve these challenges needs to be implemented thoughtfully and carefully to achieve the best possible results. There are better and smarter ways to address these challenges than by simply building a wall.
March 7: Sportsmen and Women's Meeting Taos: Join us for free food and drinks as we discuss spring turkey hunting! Our executive director will be hosting a seminar entitled “Everything You Need to Know About Spring Turkey Hunting,” like scouting, calling, and turkey behavior. We’ll also give an update on legislation happening relating to public lands on the state and federal level. Don’t miss out! Join our Facebook event and invite your friends today!
New Partnership with Nuestra Tierra and JCC Youth: The Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project is teaming up with Juvenile Community Corrections Program/Families & Youth Inc. to take local youth on an outing to a cultural site in the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument for our first event in March. Stay tuned for more details and volunteer opportunities!
Send Us Your Outdoor Gear!
We're gearing up for lots of outdoor events this spring and summer and we need your help! Send us any slightly used fishing, camping, or outdoor gear you no longer use and you'll go a long way in making it easier for us to bring more people out on their public lands! Mail donations to 6100 Seagull St. NE., Albuquerque, NM 87106 and include your name and address so we can send you a receipt for tax purposes.
NMWF Takes Part in US Forest Service Planning Rule Revision
NMWF staff is taking part in the national Planning Rule FACA Committee for the US Forest Service. This is a critical meeting as all five of New Mexico's national forests are currently undergoing plan revisions. Our staff are making sure that the interests of sportsmen and women are being reflected in the federal advisory committee that advises the US Forest Service on how to best implement the 2012 planning rule.
House Bill 254, the bill to revamp the way the State Game Commission is appointed and protecting members from being fired at gubernatorial whim, died on a party-line, six Republican – five Democrat, vote in House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources committee (HENRC) on Feb 28. The bill was aimed at strengthening and stabilizing the Commission, which for many years has seen pendulum-like swings in direction as incoming governors removed most or all incumbent commissioners.
Our thanks and deep respect to House Bill 254’s sponsor, Rep. Matthew McQueen, for his patience and guidance while negotiating among very different-minded stakeholders to develop the original bill, then in amending the original several times in attempts to address the concerns of the agricultural committee and others. Compromise can only stretch so far, however, and Rep. McQueen made the correct decision to let the bill die rather than be diluted.Another bill, Senate Bill 364, would attempt to give the AG, State Land Commissioner, and Governor the authority to weigh in on decisions relating to National Monument. designations. This move contravenes over a century of settled law. By allowing state officials to be involved in the designation of National Monuments, this bill undermines the legitimate, and constitutionally mandated, powers of Congress and the President of the United States. Contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell them that allowing the state to infringe on federal powers could create a constitutional crisis.
An upcoming meeting with the Roosevelt County Commission will address a proposed road closure. The closure will impact RR-AY from the Quay County line south to RR-BA. This will deny public access to state lands in sections 8, 9, 10, and 16 in T4n and R29e. The commissioners will meet in the Roosevelt County Courthouse at 109 West 1st Street in Portales on Tuesday, March 7th. If you live in Roosevelt County please consider attending the meeting and contacting your commissioners.
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