NM Governor Commits $3.5M for Land, Wildlife, Clean Energy

Santa Fe, NM, 7/13/2007: Governor Bill Richardson’s decision to spend $3.5 million for land, wildlife and clean energy will have real benefits for future generations of New Mexicans, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) said Thursday.

“This decision, recently announced, is an important milestone in helping protect the places which made New Mexico so different and special,” said Karyn Stockdale, Acting Director of TPL’s New Mexico program. “We all know how fast this state is growing and Gov. Richardson’s decision will benefit our children and their children. The Governor recognized that now is the time to act and he continues to be a champion for conservation.”

Gov. Richardson announced that he would spend $2.31 million for land and wildlife projects, and another $1.2 million for clean energy projects. The funds leverage matching funds from both local and federal sources, as well as funds already appropriated by state legislators.

Ms. Stockdale applauded the Governor’s decision to fund projects throughout the state that have diverse partners and community support. She noted that among the land and wildlife projects are three which TPL has been working with local groups to protect:

Rio Grande/Tonuco – The Governor’s announcement will provide $300,000 in matching funds for the first phase of a 784-acre project straddling the Rio Grande in Do?a Ana County along Selden Canyon. The project, in partnership with NM State Parks and NM State University, includes protection of wildlife habitat, recreation, agricultural preservation, and research.

La Cienega/Rael – $200,000 to purchase almost 180 acres in the La Cienega area which is bisected by the Santa Fe River and the El Camino Real National Historic Trail. This funding matches over $2 million in federal funds for the property within the area designated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

Turquoise Trail/Gutierrez Canyon – $300,000 to purchase over 400 acres running from New Mexico state highway 14 to the existing Gutierrez Canyon Open Space. The purchase will double the size of this popular recreational area and create a trailhead off Highway 14.

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. TPL has protected more than 2 million acres across the country and in New Mexico, TPL has helped protect over 140,000 acres. For more information, visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org.