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Santa Fe NM 87501

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Commissioner Garcia Richard Signs Agreement with Central New Mexico Audubon Society, Efforts for Expanded Outdoor Recreation on State Trust Land Moving Forward

Stephanie Garcia Richard, Commissioner of Public Lands

State of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 7, 2020

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

Commissioner Garcia Richard Signs Agreement with Central New Mexico Audubon Society, Efforts for Expanded Outdoor Recreation on State Trust Land Moving Forward

Trail and Clean Up Project at Melrose Woods Birding Site Completed

SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office has completed project work at Melrose Woods, a world-renowned birding area in Roosevelt County, approximately ten miles west of the Village of Melrose. The Land Office worked with the Central New Mexico Audubon Society (CNMAS) and a contractor to complete site clean up and trash removal, improve a visitor parking area, and craft a general trail structure.  The Land Office and CNMAS continue to work with the agricultural lessee to develop a project plan focused on restoring native vegetation, providing reliable water sources, and developing educational signage. Before and after pictures can be found below.

Melrose Woods serves as a stopping-off point for a vast array of migrating birds. The spring and fall are typically aflutter with winged visitors and the venue is a well-known haven for birders from within the state and from coast to coast. The Woods hosts a wide variety of migratory and resident birds, including the majestic barn and great horned owls, among over 250 other species.

“New Mexico has unlimited potential to grow opportunities for outdoor recreation on state trust land and beyond. By partnering with CNMAS to revamp this site, we are hoping to bring new life to the Melrose Woods, an already popular spot for our nation’s birders,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “This is a small part of our larger outdoor recreation efforts at the Land Office. We’ve hired the first ever outdoor recreation program manager, and he is working to forge similar partnerships for recreation enthusiasts who want accessible climbing and bouldering, hiking and biking, camping and glamping – you name it, and we are working to bring opportunities to grow the outdoor recreation economy on state trust land.”

The State Land Office has signed a five-year business lease with CNMAS for maintenance of Melrose Woods. Under the lease, CNMAS will provide public access, develop and implement stewardship plans for the site, and construct an on-site visitation kiosk, procure and place other signs as needed, and work in partnership with the Land Office in executing the plans.

“CNMAS is excited to be working alongside the State Land Office and the agricultural lessee in an effort to restore bird habitat, create better access, enhance educational and recreation opportunities, and build lasting partnerships to assure stewardship of the land for generations to come,” added Robert Munro, CNMAS Board Member and Melrose Woods Project Coordinator.

WHITE PEAK DISPERSED CAMPING PILOT PROGRAM – DISPERSED CAMPING PERMIT POLICY PUBLIC MEETING

ABOUT THE PROPOSED POLICY

Purpose

The overall goal of the White Peak Dispersed Camping Pilot Program is to provide alternative dispersed camping options on New Mexico State Trust Land that allow hunters increased access to an area rich in wildlife and natural beauty. This White Peak Dispersed Camping Permit Policy describes the New Mexico State Land Office policy regarding the stipulations, issuance, and management of Dispersed Camping Permits for the 2020 White Peak Dispersed Camping Pilot Program.

Background

In March 2020, the New Mexico State Land Office (NMSLO) and New Mexico Game Commission signed an easement agreement for 2020-2021 that provides access to 8.8 million acres of State Trust Land for hunters, anglers, and trappers who hold a valid New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) license. Section 11(d) of the agreement states that, on a pilot basis, dispersed camping is authorized in specific areas designated by the Commissioner.

Subsequently, the NMSLO developed the White Peak Dispersed Camping Pilot Program (Pilot Program) to allow, manage, and evaluate dispersed camping under the easement in designated State Trust Lands in White Peak (GMU 48; Mora and Colfax counties) during the Fall of 2020.  This Program reflects recommendations received from NMSLO working groups comprised of sportspeople, agriculture lessees, and NMDGF. If the Pilot Program is successful, the NMSLO may expand dispersed camping opportunities elsewhere on State Trust Land.

VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING TO GATHER INPUT ON PILOT PROGRAM

MONDAY, JULY 13, 2020

6:30 to 7:45 PM MT

REGISTER TO PROVIDE VIRTUAL PUBLIC COMMENT:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0GqP1d0IQAmp0ULqqBdiJQ

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar by web or by phone.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar by the web or by phone.

WATCH LIVE AT FACBOOK.COM/NMLANDOFFICE

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENT ONLINE (Accepted through midnight on Wednesday, July 15, 2020)

LUERA MOUNTAINS BACKPACK CAMPING PILOT PROGRAM – BACKPACK CAMPING PERMIT POLICY PUBLIC MEETING

About the Proposed Policy

Purpose

The overall goal of the Luera Mountains Backpack Camping Pilot Program is to provide an alternative dispersed camping option on New Mexico State Trust Land that allows hunters overnight backcountry access to an area rich in wildlife and natural beauty. This Backpack Camping Permit Policy describes the New Mexico State Land Office policy regarding the stipulations, issuance, and management of Backpack Camping Permits for the 2020-2021 Luera Mountains Backpack Camping Pilot Program.

Background

In March 2020, the New Mexico State Land Office (NMSLO) and New Mexico Game Commission signed an easement agreement for 2020-2021 that provides access to 8.8 million acres of State Trust Land for hunters, anglers, and trappers who hold a valid New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) license. Section 11(e) of the agreement states that, on a pilot basis, backpack camping is authorized in specific areas designated by the Commissioner.

Subsequently, the NMSLO developed the Luera Mountains Backpack Camping Pilot Program (Pilot Program) to allow, manage, and evaluate backpack camping under the easement on designated State Trust Land in the Luera Mountains (GMU 16E; Catron County) during the 2020-2021 license year.  This Program reflects recommendations received from NMSLO working groups comprised of sportspeople, agriculture lessees, and NMDGF. If the Pilot Program is successful, the NMSLO may expand backpack camping opportunities elsewhere on State Trust Land.

VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING TO GATHER INPUT ON PILOT PROGRAM

MONDAY, JULY 13, 2020

5:00 to 6:15 PM MT

REGISTER TO PROVIDE VIRTUAL PUBLIC COMMENT:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_yXEbg-nyQtOlTnlTOj-QNA

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar by web or by phone.

WATCH LIVE AT FACBOOK.COM/NMLANDOFFICE

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENT ONLINE (Accepted through midnight on Wednesday, July 15, 2020)

CLICK TO VIEW THE PILOT PROGRAM POLICY DRAFT

Commissioner Garcia Richard Declines Signature of Programmatic Agreement with U.S. Customs and Border Protection: “The Land Office Won’t Give Cover to Border Abuses”

Stephanie Garcia Richard, Land Commissioner

State of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2020

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

Commissioner Garcia Richard Declines Signature of Programmatic Agreement with U.S. Customs and Border Protection: “The Land Office Won’t Give Cover to Border Abuses”

SANTA FE, NM – Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard today declined to sign a renewal of a Programmatic Agreement between the New Mexico State Land Office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In declining to sign the Agreement, Garcia Richard sided with nearly three dozen New Mexico based community organizations and individuals that signed onto a letter urging her not to work with CBP because of their “history of discriminating heavily against people of color at our nation’s southern border in the name of national security.”

The Agreement claims to establish a process and create coordination mechanisms for CBP to use while surveilling New Mexico’s southern border including hundreds of acres of state trust land. Specifically, the Agreement states that CBP will try to work with other agencies in an attempt to prevent damage or destruction to cultural properties along the border on state trust land, Tribal land, and elsewhere. The nearly 80 page document is riddled with loopholes and ultimately gives CBP total control over its activities on the border. 

“The Agreement, on its face, seems to send a message that CBP cares about avoiding sacred Indigenous sites. But no agreement or Federal process kept CBP from destroying an Indigenous burial site in Arizona for construction of the border wall,” State Land Office Tribal Liaison Rachael Lorenzo said. “The Land Office has no faith that CBP will consult our office in a meaningful way, and by leaving New Mexico Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations out of the Agreement entirely, they confirmed what we already knew – it’s not in our best interest to enter into any agreement with CBP under this administration.”

CBP failed to include in the Agreement many tribes in New Mexico and other states who have stated cultural ties to Dona Ana, Hidalgo, and Luna Counties. Those tribes include the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Isleta Pueblo, Tesuque Pueblo, Fort Sill Apache Tribe, Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo, White Mountain Apache Tribe, Navajo Nation, Comanche Nation, and the Hopi Tribe.

“True consultation should include all tribal governments that have expressed cultural ties to border lands. We know consultation is not the actual intention of this document and the Land Office won’t give cover to border abuses,” Commissioner Garcia Richard added. “In not signing this Agreement, we stand with our Tribes, Pueblos, and Nations, we stand with immigrants, who have had the border weaponized against them, we stand with basic human dignity and we refuse to support CBP’s operations on the southern border or construction of the border wall.”

State Land Office Partners with Planet, Utilizing High Resolution Satellite Imagery to Identify Trespass and Protect Public Lands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 25, 2020

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

State Land Office Partners with Planet, Utilizing High Resolution Satellite Imagery to Identify Trespass and Protect Public Lands

Over $2.7 million to be recouped for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities

SANTA FE, NM – In 2019, after watching a 60 minutes special on satellite imagery and data analysis, New Mexico State Land Office Deputy Director of Mineral Resources, Jack Yates, started looking into commercial aerospace company Planet, which designs, builds and operates the largest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites in history. Specifically, he was interested in how Planet could help the agency to improve management and oversight of the vast 13 million acres of state trust land in their care. Through Yates, the New Mexico State Land Office entered an agreement with Planet, on a pilot basis, to access high resolution, daily satellite imagery of the Permian Basin, where staff assigned to oversee land in the booming oil field were struggling to keep up with the increase in demand.

That pilot project and continued partnership with Planet has helped the State Land Office use high resolution imagery to identify eight instances of mineral theft and trespass. Seven of those instances were caliche mines that were not approved or under lease by the State Land Office. Oil and gas companies use caliche, a shallow deposit of naturally formed limestone, as foundation material for roads and well pads to support heavy equipment. Companies were notified of their trespass, which resulted in multiple new leases for the approved use of the minerals, as well as nearly half a million dollars in fines for trespass and theft. Over the course of those new leases from identified trespass, $2.7 million will be raised to help ensure that the State Land Office is getting every dollar meant for its beneficiaries, including New Mexico public schools, hospitals and universities.

“At the New Mexico State Land Office, we are charged with managing over 13 million acres of land, including finite minerals like oil, gas and caliche. Our staff does an amazing job on the ground, but they can’t be everywhere all the time. We typically use imagery from several sources to fill the gaps, but it’s often expensive and out of date by months if not years by the time it is available,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard. “Planet has empowered us to take action, not only in the identification of trespass, but also with the identification of oil and produced water spills that threaten the long term health of our land. The faster we identify spills, the faster we can hold bad actors accountable for contamination and clean up.”

Mineral Resource staff, working with the State Land Office Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team, have identified 71 spills of oil, gas and produced water, and have helped to provide other state agencies with high resolution imagery of a recent spill in the Black River near Carlsbad. Through this coordination, the state was able to fine the operator that caused the spill $20,000 and accelerate a full remediation and clean-up plan for the spill and the river.

Staff continue to closely monitor the Permian Basin using daily imagery provided by Planet. Christian “Smitty” Smith, Manager of the State Land Office GIS team, recently presented this success story at a webinar for the National States Geographic Information Council. That webinar can be viewed in its entirety here. 

“With flexible access to data and ease of use in Planet Explorer, the New Mexico State Land Office was able to turn around incredible results in a matter of weeks and justify a significant return on investment,” said Garrick Ballantine, Vice President, Americas, at Planet. “Their success is a testament to how satellite data is a vital tool for governments and supporting agencies to address problems and enact change in a timely manner. In light of recent events, organizations are reevaluating existing workflows and utilizing satellite data to be better prepared for future events.”

“Through our continued investment in Planet, we are committing to using the best technology and data out there to protect public lands as well as protect the institutions that we raise revenue for. And we need the best information at our disposal to make data based decisions to steward our land for future generations,” said State Land Office Commissioner Garcia Richard. “Our hope is to eventually expand our use of Planet beyond the Permian Basin to monitor state trust land health statewide.”

VIEW: NMSLO & Planet Case Study

Tele-Town Halls for Agricultural Lessees with Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard and State Land Office Staff

Tele-Town Halls for Agricultural Lessees with Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard and State Land Office Staff

Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard and State Land Office staff will hold two Tele-Town Hall meetings, on July 8 and July 14.  State Land Office agricultural lessees and other New Mexico’s agricultural community members can participate via telephone conference or through a GoToMeeting online video conference.

The purpose of these events is for Commissioner Garcia Richard to speak with, listen to, and answer questions from the agricultural community. In addition, Land Office staff will explain changes to the GO series agricultural lease and the agricultural lease renewal process for 2020. The renewal packet can be downloaded here.

We are sorry that these events won’t be held in-person, as they were last year, but the Land Office is currently minimizing in-person meetings and staff travel as part of our overall effort to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

When

Tele-Town Hall #1:
Wednesday, July 8, 2020 from 10:00 am—11:30 am

Tele-Town Hall #2:
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 from 5:30 pm—7:00 pm

How to Participate

Participate via phone using the following information:
Phone number: 646.749.3122
Enter the meeting ID: 563 908 645

For visual participation, choose one of the following options using your computer, tablet, or smartphone:

  • Via web browser: for best results, use Google Chrome to visit this web address: https://app.gotomeeting.com, then enter the meeting ID: 563 908 645.

If you need assistance, please contact Alysha Shaw at 505.827.5761 or ashaw@slo.state.nm.us

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