November 14, 2014
Last Chance to Speak for Gila River
The NM Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) is meeting in Silver City tomorrow (11/14) at 9 am. It is the final meeting before the ISC makes its decision about how to move forward under the Arizona Water Settlements Act, and maybe the last chance to stop a proposed diversion and storage boondoggle project on New Mexico’s last free-flowing river.
New Mexico must notify the Department of the Interior by the end of the year if it intends to construct a harmful diversion project on New Mexico’s last wild river. Diversion would be tremendously expensive for New Mexico taxpayers (construction, OM&R and exchange costs estimated at $1.1 billion), would yield little to no water according to the latest analyses from former ISC director Norm Gaume, and would negatively impact the hydrology and ecology of the Gila River according to the recently released Gila River Flow Needs Assessment.
Non-diversion alternatives, such as municipal and agricultural conservation, sustainable water management and infrastructure improvements, effluent reuse and watershed restoration, can meet southwest New Mexico’s long-term water needs at a fraction of the cost of a billion dollar diversion project. However, the ISC is being lobbied hard to build a diversion project.
It’s critical that supporters of the Gila River come out in force. There may not be another chance! The meeting will be held at the Grant County Administration Building, 1400 Highway 180E, in Silver City.
NM Game Commission Thumbs Nose at Mexican Wolves—Again!
The NM Game Commission again expressed its hostility towards Mexican wolf recovery, this time by amending the rules on importing wildlife into the state. Usually the director of the Department of Game and Fish approves such permits, but at its meeting today in Espanola, the governor-appointed Commission voted unanimously to give itself veto authority over any proposal to import, hold or release on private property any “carnivore” for the purpose of “reintroduction, recovery, conditioning, establishment or reestablishment in New Mexico.” The move seems aimed squarely at thwarting Ted Turner and other private landowners who wish to assist with Mexican wolf recovery. Turner operates a Mexican wolf pre-release facility on his Ladder Ranch in New Mexico. The Commission’s action won’t stop the Mexican wolf reintroduction program, since it is governed by federal law, but it may cost NM taxpayers (and hunting and fishing license buyers) money to defend the state against a lawsuit that seems inevitable if the state tries to enforce the rule change.
Don’t Forget Your Albertsons’ Card
Shopping at Albertsons this holiday season? Don’t forget your SWEC Community Partners card. Every time you shop at Albertsons (any location) and show your card a portion of the sales is donated to SWEC to help wildlife conservation programs. Can’t find your card? Stop by the center and get a new one or print a temporary card here.