New Mexico State Wildlife Action Plan Approved by Federal Administrators

USFWS approves N.M.’s State Wildlife Action Plan

nmdgf-logo-color_originalSANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish received notice the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially approved New Mexico’s State Wildlife Action Plan on Wednesday.

The plan was approved by the New Mexico State Game Commission last November and was submitted to federal administrators resulting in an initial release of $812,000 in State Wildlife Grant Program (SWG) funds and qualifies the department to continue receiving annual funds through 2025.

New Mexico’s State Wildlife Action Plan is a non-regulatory, science-based planning document that provides an inventory of species throughout the state in need of conservation, their habitats, potential threats and potential conservation actions. The department will use the plan to guide the preparation of SWG grant requests for projects beneficial to species in need of conservation.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the final State Wildlife Action Plan, please visit the department’s website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us.

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The post USFWS approves N.M.’s State Wildlife Action Plan appeared first on New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.


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Proposed Budget Could Threaten Hunting and Fishing’s Future

Trump’s Proposed Budget Could Threaten Hunting and Fishing’s Future

Deep cuts at the agencies responsible for conservation and sportsmen’s access would be felt in every corner of the country.

RooseveltWASHINGTON, D.C. – Hunters and anglers would find less healthy habitat and more public access closures under President Trump’s proposed budget, officially released this morning. In fact, the ripple effect of major budget cuts at the agencies that oversee conservation in America would likely be felt most in the rural communities that thrive off outdoor recreation spending related to public lands and other hunting and fishing access.“With the magnitude of these cutbacks—12 percent at the Department of the Interior alone—the conservation legacy left to us by Theodore Roosevelt and others would be undone very quickly, and the effects would be felt on public and private lands and waters in every corner of the nation,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Several key programs with direct benefits to local communities, such as the Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes program and the USDA’s Farm Bill service centers, would be significantly slashed. Restoration programs for the Chesapeake Bay watershed and invasive species removal efforts in the Great Lakes would be eliminated entirely.”

 

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The 12-percent cut at DOI would trim $1.5 billion in funding to the agencies largely responsible for public lands. Onshore and offshore energy development under DOI’s jurisdiction would get an increase. The U.S. Department of Agriculture budget would be cut by 21 percent or $4.7 billion, and the Environmental Protection Agency budget would be cut by 31 percent or $2.6 billion.

 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund—the single most important federal program for enhancing habitat and sportsmen’s access with funding from offshore oil and gas receipts—would be cut to pay for basic operations and maintenance, which should be a core budgeting responsibility.

Undermanned agencies could be faced with the choice to close down access points, stop habitat management, or place heavy financial burdens on the states, which sets a dangerous precedent for the transfer of management authority on America’s public lands. The budget proposal actually indicates that state and local governments will have increased responsibility for the execution of federal programs. Expecting cash-strapped states to pay for natural resources, a critical part of the federal-state partnership, is troublesome and may lead to less management, less enforcement, and stressed fish and wildlife populations.

To compound matters, two key programs providing tax payments to local counties with public lands—Payments in Lieu of Taxes and the National Wildlife Refuge Fund—would get less or no funding at all, perhaps breeding even more unrest in Western states with a large proportion of federal public lands.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal does allow agencies to have a great deal of discretion in how to implement cuts. The proposal does not include revenue projections or policy statements, and there is no language addressing mandatory spending. Agencies fear that detailed guidance will reveal even deeper cutbacks on the things that sportsmen care about.

“A much larger hit could still be coming, and with that there would be National Wildlife Refuge closures nationwide,” says Desiree Sorenson-Groves, vice president of government affairs at the National Wildlife Refuge Association. “There simply wouldn’t be enough staff or funding to keep hunting and fishing access open or to run education and volunteer programs. Even if states were able to help a little, they don’t have enough funding to take over every program currently paid for by the federal government.”

Read TRCP’s fact sheet on specific conservation programs called out in Trump’s FY2018 budget request.


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Bighorn Sheep Relocated to Cochiti Canyon

Bighorn sheep captured and relocated to Cochiti Canyon 

bighorn sheep captured

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish captured 34 bighorn sheep this week at the Chevron Mine in Questa and transferred them to Cochiti Canyon to supplement the existing Jemez Mountains herd.

The bighorn sheep on mine property came from a herd at Wheeler Peak. Biologists wanted to move the sheep primarily to augment the Jemez Herd. They also wanted to reduce the number of sheep along N.M. 38 between Questa and Red River. Numerous sheep in recent years have been killed in traffic collisions on the rural highway. A motorcyclist also died in one of those crashes.

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Most of the captured sheep where netted at a roadside site, said Nicole Quintana, the department’s big game program manager.

The captured sheep were released on U.S. Forest Service Land at Cochiti Canyon in the Jemez Mountains where an existing herd of about 45 animals was established in 2014 following the Las Conchas fire. The relocated sheep may move onto Cochiti Pueblo and Bandelier National Monument lands, Quintana said.

For more information about the department please visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us.


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Colorado Parks and Wildlife Wins Conservation Achievement Award

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s aquatics team wins 2017 Conservation Achievement award

CPW_SiteLogoDENVER, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility will be awarded the Western Division American Fisheries Society’s 2017 Conservation Achievement Award. This award recognizes a significant contribution by an agency to the conservation of fishery resources.

CPW’s Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility, located near Alamosa, is dedicated to protecting and restoring threatened and endangered aquatic species native to Colorado, such as the boreal toad. Since its inception in 2000, the facility has protected 16 different fish species and stocked more than 2.1 million fish in rivers, streams and lakes throughout Colorado. It is the only hatchery of its kind in North America.

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“Colorado has world class fisheries and CPW staff are leading the field in endangered species restoration,” said Matt Nicholl, CPW’s chief of hatcheries. “This award recognizes that states throughout the West are paying attention to our work and value what we’re doing.”

In announcing the award, the Western Division American Fisheries Society congratulated CPW’s Theodore J. Smith, James A. Garcia, Thomas S. Mix, David C. Westerman, Neil N. Heredia and the seasonal staff, volunteers and interns for their roles in earning this award.

 

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The award will be presented at an awards luncheon on May 24. The luncheon is part of the Western Division American Fisheries Society’s annual meeting that will be held from May 22-25 at the University of Montana. For more information please visit the meeting website at: http://wdmtg.fisheries.org/

 

For more information about CPW’s Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility, visit the CPW website at http://cpw.state.co.us.

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CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.


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Colorado Lynx Dies of Natural Causes

Lynx died of natural causes

CPW_SiteLogoDURANGO, Colo. – A lynx that was found dead on a ski slope Jan. 8 at the Purgatory Ski Resort died of natural causes, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced Wednesday. The lynx was seen by dozens of people at the ski area and a video of the cat was viewed on social media nearly 1 million times.

A necropsy of the 11-year-old male found a tumor in the animal’s throat that prevented it from eating. Although not common, tumors are found in wildlife.

While the news was greeted with regret by many people, this lynx is symbolic of the success of CPW’s reintroduction program.

cpw-lynx-release-0830e310-03c2-4dae-8bb1-a838d9928918
This is a photograph of a lynx being released by CPW as part of the reintroduction program in 2006 near Creede, Colo.

“The cat lived a long life in the wild and spent it’s time in some of Colorado’s most incredible backcountry,” said Scott Wait, senior terrestrial biologist for CPW’s southwest region. Wait was involved with the reintroduction from the start and continues to work on long-term monitoring efforts.

Lynx from Canada and Alaska were transplanted to Colorado starting in 1999. Most were released near the Weminuche Wilderness in southwest Colorado. The area was chosen because it contains few roads compared with other areas in the state. All the cats that were released were fitted with radio collars and tracked by researchers. This allowed CPW to monitor them, watch for mortalities, find their dens and locate newborn kittens. A microchip was implanted into all the kittens  ‒ the same type pet veterinarians use ‒ so that researchers could identify the animals later if they were found.

 

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To the delight of biologists, a chip was found in this lynx and it revealed the cat was born in the Bear Creek area near Telluride in 2005. The cat’s mother was one of the original lynx released in the reintroduction program. A record number of lynx dens, 16, were found that year by CPW biologists.

In 2009, the cat was captured as part of a research effort and fitted with a GPS collar which revealed that it was living in the remote area between Telluride, Rico and the Purgatory ski area. The collar eventually fell off the animal.

“The lynx lived in what is the best type of habitat for its species, high elevation and thick spruce-fir forest. This shows that much of Colorado’s high country is suitable lynx habitat,” Wait said.

A long-term monitoring project in southwest Colorado that uses snow-tracking and remote cameras has shown that lynx are occupying ideal habitat and are doing well in the wild. Frequent lynx sightings in many mountain areas also provide anecdotal evidence that cats are now part of the Colorado landscape. Because the cats are elusive and live in remote areas, CPW cannot accurately estimate the population of the large felines.

Even though the lynx was in its last days when it was seen on the ski slopes, the sightings provided a rare opportunity for people to see a large cat in the wild, said Patt Dorsey, CPW’s southwest regional manager.

“We talk a lot about the importance of wildlife, but when we get to see extraordinary animals in the wild, it gives us a much greater appreciation of their beauty and of the importance of conserving the natural world,” Dorsey said.

To read more about lynx, go to the CPW web site at: http://cpw.state.co.us.

CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.

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RMEF Marks Record Year for Membership

RMEF Marks 8th Consecutive Year of Record Membership

RMEF logo high resolution

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation rings in 2017 with an all-time record of 222,235 members.

“We are extremely grateful for all our members, volunteers, partners, and other sportsmen and women who support our conservation mission,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This continual growth is a strong indicator of the values and importance we all share in maintaining and improving elk and elk country, hunting and public access opportunity, and advocating for issues vital to our hunting heritage.”

The new figure marks the eighth consecutive year of record growth. It also marks a 32 percent increase in membership since 2008.

2016 included several RMEF lifetime milestones such as surpassing 10,000 conservation projects, topping one million acres of new or improved public access and surpassing a combined seven million acres of wildlife habitat protected or enhanced.

 

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RMEF also provided volunteer manpower and financial support in helping to return elk to their native range in West Virginia for the first time in more than a century.

 

“We especially appreciate the vital contributions of our dedicated volunteer army that numbers 11,000 across more than 500 RMEF chapters nationwide. They selflessly work countless hours to benefit elk and elk country,” added Allen.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation also expanded its outreach and educational efforts with its #HuntingIsConservation social media campaign which reached more than 24.4 million people in 2016 and will continue into 2017.

RMEF recently topped 485,000 likes on Facebook while the RMEF blog Elk Tracks has approximately 1.45 million page views. Its YouTube channel has more than 1.2 million views plus an additionally 82,000 followers on Instagram. RMEF is also growing on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Coming in early 2017, RMEF plans to launch a new online venture that will serve as a complete source for all things elk, elk country, hunting and conservation.


About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.
Take action: join and/or donate.


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Meeting to Discuss Wildlife Recovery – New Mexico

Game Commission to meet Jan. 12 in Santa Fe

nmdgf-logo-color_originalSANTA FE – The New Mexico Game Commission will meet Jan. 12 in Santa Fe to consider numerous matters including presentation of a draft recovery plan for Gould’s turkeys and Gila Monsters.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in the Santa Fe Community College boardroom, 6401 Richards Ave., Santa Fe.

Other agenda items include:

  • Presentation for approval of a final recovery plan for white-tailed ptarmigan.
  • Consideration of proposed 2017 -2018 migratory birds hunting season dates and bag limits.
  • Update on the Gold King Mine spill.

 

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The full agenda, detailed agenda-item briefings and other information are available on the Department of Game and Fish website. Details of proposed rules and opportunities to comment about them also are available on the website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us.

 

The State Game Commission is composed of seven members who represent the state’s diverse interests in wildlife-associated recreation and conservation. Members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. Current members are Chairman Paul Kienzle, Vice-chairman Bill Montoya, Thomas “Dickie” Salopek, Robert Espinoza Sr., Ralph Ramos, Bob Ricklefs and Elizabeth Ryan.

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of a reader, amplifier, qualified sign language interpreter, or any other form of auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in the meeting, please contact Angelica Ruiz, (505) 476-8027. Public documents, including the agenda and minutes, can be provided in various accessible forms. Game Commission meetings are video recorded and can be seen at www.governor.state.nm.us.


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NSSF Urges All – Act Now to Protect Your Public Lands

NSSF

Contact Congress: Urge Vote for Energy Conference Report Containing Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act

The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, the most important legislation in a generation for America’s hunters and target shooters, is a week away from a crucial deadline in Congress. NSSF is asking that you call your U.S. Representative’s office and politely insist that Congress act on the Energy Conference report that contains the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. Calls are urgently needed in the one week left before Congress takes up the Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government past Dec. 9.

It would be shame to see Congress punt the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act into the new Congress that begins in January.  We have come too far to go back to “square one” and begin anew. Help protect and preserve our cherished outdoor traditions that will be bolstered by provisions of the Act. Call now.

Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 | Look up your Members of Congress.


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NWTF Partners with BLM Colorado for Habitat Improvements

sth2-logo174EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation recently entered into a five-year cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Land Management Colorado State Office aimed at improving wildlife habitat and maintaining resilient landscapes. The agreement between the two partners could provide up to $400,000 of federal funding toward habitat management efforts in Colorado.

“We are grateful and excited for the NWTF to partner with the BLM in Colorado,” said Tom Spezze, NWTF conservation field supervisor. “The partnership will open new doors for NWTF conservation work, and with the alignment of NWTF and BLM missions, additional opportunities for collaborative conservation work will develop.”


“Spend more time with your family and friends, whether it be outside, hunting, at the shooting range or around the table, savoring all life has to offer.” Mia


The NWTF will work with BLM field staff and state agencies to design and implement projects to protect, maintain and enhance healthy habitats in a variety of ecosystems.

Projects will include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Thinning of forests and shrublands
  • Reduction of hazardous fuel conditions
  • Seeding to reduce erosion and provide wildlife additional food sources
  • Noxious weed control
  • Prescribed fire planning and operations

“BLM Colorado is excited about the new partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation,” said Sam Dearstyne, BLM colorado fuels program lead. “It makes a lot of sense to have partners who provide additional perspectives and resources that complement the BLM’s land management efforts.”

Colorado is located in the Western Wildlands region of the NWTF’s America’s Big Six of Wildlife Conservation.


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About Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to give the NWTF more energy and purpose than ever. Through this national initiative, the NWTF has committed to raising $1.2 billion to conserve and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. Without hunters, there will be no wildlife or habitat. The NWTF is determined to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.


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Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo to Feature New Interactive Activities

Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo
to Feature New Interactive Activities

RMEF logo high resolutionMISSOULA, Mont.—New interactive displays and activities will entice sportsmen and women at the 2016 RMEF Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Exposition.

The expo runs December 1-10 upstairs in the South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center in conjunction with Cowboy Christmas during the 10 days of the National Finals Rodeo.

“We have a great lineup of daily events that offers a little something for everyone,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing.

New to the 2016 expo is the MTN Ops Shootout-Ultimate Archery Experience which features a 3D pop-up range, skeet thrower and broken arrow tour with $15,000 in prize money going to the winners. Attendees can also view and taste wild game cooking demonstrations, meet and greet outdoor and country music celebrities, and enjoy live performances by Easton Corbin and Daryle Singletary on the Realtree Live Stage.

The Wrangler Rodeo Arena, also on the expo floor, will host the Junior National Finals Rodeo—a first of its kind competition with youth age 8 to 19 in eight different rodeo events such as miniature bull and bareback riding, barrel racing, team roping and much more. Other arena events include Bull Fighters Only, NFR Flag Girl Competition, Trick Riding Championships, Colt Starting Challenge USA and the United Bucking Horse Association.

Hunting, outdoor industry leaders and other exhibitors will feature firearms, archery equipment, optics, outfitter and guide services, hunting apparel and western lifestyle gear and clothing

Admission is free and open to the public.

“Nearly 87,000 people attended our 2015 expo and we expect greater things come December. We appreciate our conservation partners, sponsors and exhibitors for supporting our conservation mission,” added Decker.

Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo sponsors include Chevrolet, Cabela’s, ALPS OutdoorZ, MTN OPS, Peak BlueDEF, Sitka, Browning, Realtree, Weatherby, Worldwide Trophy Adventures and Weston.

Unlike the last two years, the expo will not be held in conjunction with the RMEF National Convention which takes place March 2-4, 2017, in Nashville.

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About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 220,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 6.8 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.
Take action: join and/or donate.


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