SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard announced that the Doña Ana County Flood Commission has won a bid to buy 121.04 acres of land from the State Land Office for the construction and maintenance of a flood control project just south of the Village of Hatch. The parcel sold for $326,000 at a public auction November 1. Revenue earned from the project will benefit New Mexico schools.
The Doña Ana County Flood Commission proposed building the structure on state land due to the history of severe flooding in the Hatch Valley. In August of 2006, the Placitas Arroyo overflowed from excessive rainfall and flooded the streets of Hatch, displacing approximately 500 residents – or approximately one-third of the village’s population at the time – and damaging hundreds of properties and structures. Since many residents of Hatch did not have flood insurance, the results were economically devastating.
“Today’s land sale will help the residents of Hatch and the surrounding area feel more at ease knowing there is a plan in place to reduce the risks of massive floods in their community,” said Commissioner Garcia Richard. “In an ever-changing climate, these kinds of extreme weather events are becoming more common. As our state’s Land Commissioner, I’m always looking for ways to help communities across New Mexico address their needs.”
In addition to the 2006 event, the region has a long history of disruptive floods that displace residents, damage crops and submerge structures, including as recently as 2017 when another 40 residents were displaced. As an agricultural community, the Hatch Valley consists of multiple arroyos that can carry large amounts of debris when it rains heavily. Also, the site sits in a Federal Emergency Management Agency-designated flood zone, making the region susceptible to other major floods in the future without proper infrastructure in place.
“The people of Hatch Valley have endured enough from these floods over the years. It’s our hope that selling this land to Doña Ana County for the construction of the dam can be at least one solution to the problem,” added Garcia Richard.
In accordance with state law, the State Land Office published a notice of the land sale in the Santa Fe New Mexican, Las Cruces Sun-News, and NFB Newsline.
Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has overseen the New Mexico State Land Office since 2019. In that time the agency has raised more than $5 billion for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The State Land Office has a dual mandate to use state trust land to financially support vital public institutions, while simultaneously working to protect the land for future generations.