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New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund Act (SB273/HB223)

New Mexico’s land and water form the foundation of our communities, and yet without investing in both, we risk our future and that of our children.

Our ancient acequias, water systems and watersheds face grave uncertainty under volatile climate scenarios;

New Mexico’s land base faces drought, soil erosion and lost productivity, while our forests grow increasingly vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire;

New Mexico loses an average of 50,000 acres of undeveloped land per year, threatening the future of our agricultural way of life, and resulting in increased habitat fragmentation for our states’ wildlife;

Two of New Mexico’s most important economic sectors, agriculture ($10 billion) and outdoor recreation/eco-tourism ($1 billion) are threatened by these impacts;

Our rural economies struggle to sustain vibrant communities, yet programs in similar states resulted in 15-24 local jobs created for every $1 million spent;

New Mexico could be capitalizing on millions of dollars of available Federal funding simply through the availability of state matching funds.

Vision

We seek to sustain and enhance New Mexico’s agricultural and natural heritage through stewardship, conservation and restoration of our forests, grasslands and watersheds; to provide for wildlife populations and habitats; and to ensure the continuation of agricultural production on working farms and ranches.

Need

New Mexico needs to invest in its land and water resources in order to ensure the integrity and sustainability of our water supply, wildlife, agriculture, and wide-open spaces – all of which comprise our incredible and unique natural and cultural heritage recognized nationally and worldwide.

Opportunity

Given the record high revenue surpluses New Mexico is projected to enjoy, we have a limited window within which to take steps to conserve and restore high priority landscapes, watersheds and resources that sustain our state. Surpluses will not last forever, now is the time to invest in the conservation and restoration of our natural resources.  It is estimated that at least 20 to 30 million dollars annually can be leveraged with the State’s investment, a 6:1 match ratio.

Help us prepare our campaign for next session. Share your NM Land and Water Story

Tell a personal story that illustrates why you support investment in New Mexico's land and water resources. In particular, we are excited to share stories of restoration success that demonstrate the potential of New Mexico's resources, when given just a bit more TLC.

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Thank you to our broad coalition of supporters!

This list of supporting organizations continues to grow:

Adelante Consulting, Inc., Advocacy Matters LLC, Agri Nature Center Los Ranchos, Albuquerque Wildlife Federation, Alianza Agri-Cultura de Taos, American Forest Foundation, Amigos Bravos, Audubon New Mexico, Ballard Farm and Ranch, Berlier Farm and Ranch, Brinistool Ranch, Chama Peak Land Alliance, Chavez Ranch, Cimarron Mercantile LLC, Cimarron Watershed Alliance, Inc., Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, Cooperative Catalyst of New Mexico, Crawford Farms, CS Cattle Co., Defenders of Wildlife, Del Medio Forestry, LLC, Ducks Unlimited, Element Adept, Garduno Farm/Hondo Rancho, Global Water Policy Project, Grow The Hemp Shed, Guadalupe Feed Store, High Plains Grasslands Alliance, Holistic Management International, Hood Farm and Ranch, Hughes Hunting Services, Indian Nations Conservation Alliance, Keystone Restoration Ecology, Little River Flower Farm, Localogy, Mer-Girl Farms, LLC, Molino de la Isla Organics, LLC, Mule Deer Foundation, National Young Farmers Coalition, New Mexico Acequia Assocation, New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, New Mexico Certified Tree Farm #2, New Mexico Land Conservancy, New Mexico Wild, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Not Forgotten Outreach, Inc., Old Gem Farm, Quivira Coalition, Rio Chiquito Research & Consulting, Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust, Rio Grande Restoration, Rio Grande Return, River Source Inc., Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Santa Fe Conservation Trust, Save Our Bosque Task Force, Simms Ranch, Brazos Limited Partnership, Taos Land Trust, Taos Valley Acequia Association, The Wildlife Conservation Society-Rocky Mountain Program, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Tierra Bueno Gardens, Tooley's Trees and Keyline Design, Trout Stalker Ranch, Trout Unlimited, Twin Willows Ranch, Upper Pecos Watershed Association, Valle Vidal Grazing Association, Virsylvia Farm, Western Ecology, LLC, Western Landowners Alliance, Wild Turkey Sportsmen's Association, Wildlife Conservation Society.

What SB273/HB223 does

Permanent Trust Fund

Creates an endowment fund where only the accrued interest will be used to conserve and enhance land, water and habitat across New Mexico. The Coalition’s long-term vision is to see the Fund reach $400 million through a combination of surplus revenue from oil/gas and other sources of public and private funding.

Publicly-accountable Board

Creates a Board representing different regions within the state and different areas of expertise to evaluate, rank and select projects to receive grants or other forms of funding from the interest of the Fund. The board would be required to periodically submit progress reports back to the Governor and Legislature.

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Policy News from New Mexico

New Mexico Wildlife Corridors Act: public meetings and comment

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) in partnership with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) has begun developing the Wildlife Corridors Action Plan (Plan) in accordance with New Mexico Senate Bill 228, the Wildlife Corridors Act (Act). Public meetings will be held state wide and public comments will be accepted through April 18, 2020.

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Opinion: Conservation and restoration of our precious land

The future of New Mexico over the next 100 years will depend on actions taken today to ensure our natural resources continue to provide our most essential needs. The New Mexico Land Conservancy, the New Mexico Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the New Mexico Land Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon New Mexico urge New Mexicans to speak up during the current legislative session in favor of the New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund Act.

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New Mexico needs realistic, sustainable water plan

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has long talked about the importance of water to the arid state, even campaigning on the idea of creating a 50-year plan to guide management of the finite resource. Her administration is now asking lawmakers for more money and manpower to start what some experts say will be a multiyear endeavor.

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Editorial: Using oil surplus to help restore habitat worth the investment

A bill that would dedicate a portion of the state’s record oil and gas revenues to a permanent fund for habitat restoration and sustainable agriculture projects deserves serious consideration from lawmakers, and it’s good to see support for it from a broad coalition of agricultural and environmental groups.

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New Mexico bill would divert oil and gas money to restoration

Skyrocketing oil and natural gas production in southeastern New Mexico continues to produce record-setting state revenue. A broad coalition of agricultural and environmental groups believe some of that money should help restore the state’s land and water.

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Petition seeks federal protections for Rio Grande fish

Environmentalists are asking federal wildlife managers to use the Endangered Species Act to protect a fish found only in the Rio Grande in Texas and the Pecos River in New Mexico. WildEarth Guardians filed the petition with the Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday, saying it is part of a campaign focused on vulnerable species found in rivers and streams across the West.

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New in-stream flow rights in New Mexico

Surface water rights in the state of New Mexico are typically granted to individuals for diverting water from streams and rivers to irrigate crops and support food production. Now, the state has granted its first water rights permit to keep water in a river.

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