The Land of Enchantment’s color palette is overflowing, from red rocks and vivid sunsets to rich green bosqué and deep blue sky. We have it all: majestic mountains, lush valleys, stunning mesas and scenic desert landscapes. New Mexicans have a profound appreciation of the breathtaking beauty of our state and know that we are lucky to call it home.
One of the most captivating experiences that we share is the thrill of encountering wildlife, whether in the wilderness or in our backyards. New Mexicans have a powerful connection to our land and wildlife and have demonstrated our commitment to protecting our heritage and legacy over and over again.
It’s a constant struggle, however, to conserve what we love while accommodating growing cities, increasing demand for the water in our rivers, expanding oil and gas development, and mounting pressure from other natural resource industries like mining and forestry.
Slowly, we are recognizing the tremendous economic benefits of protecting our natural assets. Outdoor recreation is a multi-billion dollar industry in New Mexico. Economic studies show that more than $1 billion annually is spent directly on wildlife-associated recreation, and an additional $1 billion is spent on non-wildlife related outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and skiing. The recent creation of the Division of Outdoor Recreation by the Lujan Grisham administration is an impressive step toward leveraging this industry and generate jobs in a way that protects what makes our state unique. The division includes the first-ever Outdoor Equity Fund that ensures New Mexico’s youth experience the land their culture is tied to.
Add to that the booming film industry that thrives on our scenic beauty, and we have every reason in the world to take aggressive action to ensure that we don’t jeopardize either our economic opportunity or our legacy for our children and grandchildren.
Mexican Gray Wolves
Shown here in the Brookfield Zoo, Illinois, the Mexican Gray Wolf has nearly been eliminated in the wild (due to intensive U.S. government efforts to eradicate them) and are critically endangered, with only about 300 remaining in recovery facilities, zoo breeding programs, and reserves in the U.S. and Mexico. About
60 were returned to the wild in New Mexico and Arizona, but despite their endangered status, are permitted to be killed under certain circumstances. Photo: Chad Horwedel
Related Votes for Wildlife & Habitat Conservation
- Energy &
- Wildlife & Habitat
State Game Commission Changes more
Summary: HB 263 established requirements and qualifications for the members of the State Game Commission to lessen the politicization of the commission and established professional qualifications for four of the seven members.
Outcome: HB 263 passed the House 45-20 but was tabled and died in the Senate Rules Committee.
No Use of State Resources for Border Wall more
Summary: HB 287 would have prohibited the use of state trust lands or state financial resources to build a border barrier, exempting barriers that would prevent the movement of livestock. A border barrier would have extreme impact on the movement of wildlife and would be prohibitively expensive to the state to fund any aspect of its construction.
Outcome: HB 287 passed the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary Committee and died on the House Calendar.
Wildlife Protection and Public Safety Act more
Summary: HB 366 prohibited the use of traps and poisons designed to kill animals on public land and established penalties for violations.
Outcome: HB 366 was tabled by the House for technical reasons and died there.
|Roberto J. Gonzales,
Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests more
Summary: SB 76 prohibits organized or sponsored competitions with the objective of killing coyotes for prizes or entertainment.
Outcome: SB 76 passed the Senate 22-17 and passed the House 37-30. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 2, 2019.
Know the Score > Take Action
Strategies for Wildlife & Habitat Conservation
Actions that protect wildlife and habitats:
For years, New Mexico has lagged far behind other states in allocating resources to protect land, water, wildlife, working farms and ranches. As a result, we have been losing out on approximately $20 million per year in federal and private funding that is accessible only when we have a state fund to provide the matching dollars. In 2010, Gov. Richardson, Sen. Carlos Cisneros and Speaker of the House Ben Luján worked closely with advocates to pass the Natural Heritage Conservation Act, which establishes just such a state fund. Gov. Richardson also secured $5 million to seed the fund. That $5 million has generated more than $15 million in matching funds. Unfortunately, former Gov. Martinez nor the legislature have allocated any additional resources to this fund.
Actions that threaten wildlife and habitats:
No thank you!
In 1997, Sen. Tim Jennings passed an amendment to wildlife legislation that authorized the indiscriminate killing of wildlife whenever a landowner determines that animals pose an “immediate” threat to property. The result has been numerous cases of landowners slaughtering (or wounding and leaving to die) dozens of elk, antelope and other wildlife because they claimed the animals were eating their crops. Landowners have many remedies available to them besides slaughter, and legislation has been introduced that would increase landowner assistance while restricting the authority to kill wildlife to only those instances in which predators are threatening humans, livestock or family pets.
- National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation, US Fish & Wildlife Service, 2001, plus 2003 addendum
- Funding Conservation for New Mexico: Providing for Future Generations, NM Dept. of Game & Fish, and Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Dept., 2004
Communicate with the Governor and your Legislators
Whether you’re congratulating them on their score or expressing your disappointment, be direct, courteous and polite.
The most important part is letting them know that you are paying close attention to how they vote or, in the case of the Governor, what actions she takes on legislation that affects our air, land, and water.
Calling your legislator directly and sending letters through regular mail remain by far the most effective ways to communicate with your legislators.
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor can always be contacted at the State Capitol. Except during the legislative session, state legislators should be contacted in their home districts, as listed on the current Legislators page.