The BLM recently issued the Draft Tri-County Resource Management Plan (RMP), which would govern the BLM's decisions in Otero, Sierra, and Dona Ana counties for the next 20 years. Otero Mesa, one of New Mexico's most precious places, is included in the plan. The largest remaining Chihuahuan desert grassland in the United States, Otero Mesa is important to various wildlife, including the pronghorn and the rare Aplomado falcon.
We have several concerns about the proposed management prescriptions for the area. First, we are concerned that the proposed management prescriptions for the Otero Mesa ACEC would not be enough to protect it's exceptional values.
We are also concerned there are so few areas designated as Lands with Wilderness Characteristics in the plan. The three counties covered by this plan contain pretty outstanding places which are special to New Mexicans and visitors from all over the country.
Also, the BLM is delaying analyzing oil and gas in the planning area for another five years, but there are some companies who want to develop in the three counties. We believe this is something that should be analyzed during the RMP process, so we are advising that they pause this draft process and complete a supplement, which plans for future oil and gas decisions. Please take action now to help protect the lands included in this RMP.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the release of Mexican gray wolves (also known as lobos) back into the wild Gila. The latest good news is that Mexican gray wolves are on the uptick with some 75 roaming the wild Gila, up from 58 at last year’s count. But, with only one wolf per 115,184 people living in New Mexico and Arizona, and a 50 percent decline in breeding pairs since last year’s count, wolves of the Southwest still need your help.
Ask Dr. Tuggle to:
- Release more wolves now. With more breeding pairs producing pups, greater genetic diversity will make for a more resilient Mexican gray wolf population.
- Allow direct releases of captive-bred wolves in New Mexico. Currently such releases can only occur in Arizona, thus limiting the number of wolves that can be set free and significantly hindering recovery efforts. Too many wolves are all dressed up with no place to go!
- Thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for promoting proactive measures that effectively minimize conflict between wolves and livestock and strongly encourage them to continue their efforts.