Select Page

Announcements

Do you need some help?

The quickest way to reach us is to contact us through the contact form on the website.

Address:
310 Old Santa Fe Trail,
Santa Fe NM 87501

Phone:
505-827-5760

Check this page periodically to see any new announcements that the State Land Office wants you to know about!

State Land Office Launches Cultural Resources Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 22, 2021

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

State Land Office Launches Cultural Resources Office

SANTA FE, NM – Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard today announced the creation of the first ever Cultural Resources Office (CRO) within the New Mexico State Land Office (SLO). The mission of the CRO will be to assist Commissioner Garcia Richard as she strives to be a good steward of state trust land for beneficiaries in a way that honors and respects the heritage of New Mexico’s tribes, nations, and pueblos.

The CRO will be comprised of four current State Land Office staff who have been reorganized within the agency. Rachael Lorenzo, who previously served as the Land Office’s Assistant Commissioner of Engagement and Tribal Liaison, will take on the newly created role of Assistant Commissioner of Cultural Resources. Along with Lorenzo, three staff archaeologists will round out the Cultural Resources team.

Assistant Commissioner Lorenzo and their staff will be involved at the front end of projects and leases in an effort to help Divisions produce archaeological reports prior to surface disturbing activity.

“This is not just a re-organization of a handful of our staff. It is a re-organization of our way of thinking and doing business in an effort to be cognizant of the history of the people who occupied state trust land before it was what it is now,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “New Mexico’s Indigenous populations deserve to know that we are taking the appropriate steps to protect areas and artifacts that hold cultural significance to them and to their ability to protect their way of life for future generations.”

The Cultural Resources Office will consult with tribes, nations, and pueblos when culturally sensitive findings appear in archaeological reports and work with Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and other appropriate staff to ensure preservation before any decisions are made on ground disturbance of state trust land.

“I am proud to be leading this team – we all share a goal and that is to incorporate the expertise and honor the heritage of our state’s tribes into land stewardship,” Assistant Commissioner Lorenzo said. “For too long, tribes have not had enough say in the stewardship of state trust land. That changes with Commissioner Garcia Richard.”

Formal notice of the creation of the CRO has been sent to the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, the All Pueblo Council of Governors, as well as to the individual leadership of each of New Mexico’s tribes, nations, and pueblos.


Under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico State Land Office has seen back-to-back years of revenue over $1 billion. 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 money earned from leasing activity supports 22 beneficiaries – New Mexico public schools, seven universities and colleges, the School for the Deaf, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, three hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.

Grazing Fees on State Trust Land Decline for Fourth Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 17, 2020

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

Grazing Fees on State Trust Land Decline for Fourth Year

SANTA FE, NM – The State Land Office, in accordance with NMAC 19.2.8.11, has updated the fee assessed to ranchers and farmers who lease state trust land for livestock grazing. Misconceptions have been presented to State Land Office staff regarding how the grazing fee for state trust land is set. The annual rental amount is calculated using a formula that has been in state statute since 1988. The formula is determined using various factors such as private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. The amount is first calculated by State Land Office experts, and is then verified by a neutral third party expert. 

The 2021 calculation amounts to a 2.54% decrease, compared to 2020, in grazing fees for ranchers that lease state trust land for agriculture purposes. The slight drop in the 2021 grazing fee can be largely attributed to a decrease in beef cattle prices across 11 Western states.   

“Fees for livestock grazing on state trust land remain affordable, with 2021 being the fourth year in a row that the per-acre lease amount has decreased for farmers and ranchers that do business with the State Land Office,” Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard said.  “Given the added stressors of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ongoing drought and its varying ramifications on our communities, this decrease in rent is one area that we hope our traditional agricultural communities can look to as a slight sign of relief and better things to come as we work together to make our way out of this pandemic.”

The new grazing fee for 2021 translates to an average rate of $4.85 per animal unit month (AUM), down slightly from $4.98 in 2020.  For grazing lessees this means an average fee of $ 0.91 per-acre. The calculation of the fee has been verified and confirmed by Dr. Nick Ashcroft to assure accuracy. Dr. Ashcroft is a Senior Analyst at New Mexico State University’s Linebery Policy Center for Natural Resource Management.

Money received by the State Land Office from rent paid by grazing lessees is deposited into the Land Maintenance Fund and is then distributed monthly to state trust land beneficiaries which include New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities.

The new grazing rental fee will go into effect October 31, 2021.


Under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico State Land Office has seen back-to-back years of revenue over $1 billion. 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 money earned from leasing activity supports 22 beneficiaries – New Mexico public schools, seven universities and colleges, the School for the Deaf, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, three hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.

Commissioner Garcia Richard and Game Commission Sign Four-Year Easement Agreement for Hunting Access

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 19, 2021

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

Commissioner Garcia Richard and Game Commission Sign Four-Year Easement Agreement for Hunting Access

SANTA FE, NM – New Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard and the New Mexico Game Commission have entered into a four-year easement agreementto give licensed hunters and anglers access to nearly nine million acres of state trust land. Through the easement, the NM Department of Game and Fish will pay an annual rate of $800,000 directly to the State Land Office for access, along with agreeing to spend an additional $200,000 annually on mutually-agreed upon projects to improve sportsperson access and wildlife habitat. The Commissioner will also have the ability to designate new areas for dispersed and backpack camping.

“This new easement is reflective of the success of the version that we signed with the Commission last March. Our pilot projects for dispersed and backpack camping in the Luera Mountains and at White Peak were well received by the hunting community and well executed by staff on both sides. We hope to build on that in the coming years with new areas and programs to enhance the overall experience for our licensed sportspeople,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “The split in direct and indirect funding for access to state trust land is meant to provide stability to the Department while solidifying our joint commitment to improving access while simultaneously stewarding our land, air, water, and wildlife. We’re proud that our shared commitments shine through in what was signed today.”

For years, camping on state trust land for hunters has only been allowed in a small number of designated areas. 2020 pilot programs that expanded camping opportunities will be used as a framework for future projects.

“One of the values we share with the State Land Office is the ability to get our families outside,” Game Commission Vice-Chair Jeremy Vesbach said during a recent meeting. “One thing this pandemic has shown us is how important outdoor recreation and our ties to the land is. This easement shows that and expands opportunities to camp and get outside. I’m excited for this easement.”

Since March 2020, the Department and the State Land Office partnered on $200,000 worth of projects to fulfill the indirect project spending portion of the easement. Those successes include completed projects and some that are currently in progress. They are:

  • sheep net-wire fence modification to wildlife friendly design in SE New Mexico
  • Canadian River native riparian vegetation establishment project in Harding and Mora Counties where several thousand willows and hundreds of cottonwood poles will be planted along 2-3 miles of stream bank
  • improvements to Luera Mountains Access Road in Catron County
  • new Turkey Ridge campsite and fencing on Chupadera Mesa in Socorro County.
  • 67 new sportsperson access points including signage and gate installation (20 vehicle access, 47 walk-in access)
  • launched two new pilot programs for licensed New Mexico hunters that created the previously mentioned dispersed and backpack camping opportunities

The State Land Office exists to manage and steward nine million surface and 13 million mineral acres to support vital New Mexico institutions like our public schools, hospitals, and universities. The funds paid by the Department to the State Land Office over the term of the four-year easement will benefit New Mexico public schools. The new four-year easement agreement can be read in its entirety here.


Under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico State Land Office has seen back-to-back years of revenue over $1 billion. 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 money earned from leasing activity supports 22 beneficiaries – New Mexico public schools, seven universities and colleges, the School for the Deaf, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, three hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.

Commissioner Garcia Richard Announces Two New Appointees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 12, 2021

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

Commissioner Garcia Richard Announces Two New Appointees  

SANTA FE, NM – Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard today announced two new appointments of staff to serve her administration in the capacity of Assistant Commissioner. These crucial senior staff are tasked with advancing the Commissioner’s priorities while fulfilling the State Land Office’s (SLO) constitutional mandate of stewarding and managing nine million surface and 13 million mineral acres of state trust land. The SLO has 14 exempt positions, which serve at the pleasure of the Commissioner of Public Lands.

Selena Romero was recently appointed as Assistant Commissioner of Administrative Services. Administrative Services at SLO consists of five divisions including Accounting, Human Resources, Records, Facilities, and IT. Selena has more than 15 years of experience in state government and a total of 19 years in training and organizational development. Previously she was the SLO Human Resources Director. She has also worked as the Human Resources Manager for the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration and two post graduate certifications in Mediation and Human Resources Management.

Returning to the SLO, Greg Bloom has been appointed as Assistant Commissioner of Strategic Initiatives. Greg will work to advance key priority initiatives by coordinating across divisions within SLO.  Greg served as U.S. Senator Tom Udall’s state director from 2015 through the senator’s retirement. Prior to that, Greg was Assistant Commissioner for Mineral Resources at the SLO under Commissioner Ray Powell and represented him on the Oil Conservation Commission. 

“Selena and Greg both have indispensable knowledge of the State Land Office and our mission. Their expertise and experience will be invaluable as many long term initiatives come to fruition in the next two years of my first term,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “Today’s appointments round out our hardworking and dedicated leadership team. Thanks to the efforts of this team and SLO staff at every level, we are on track to surpass our goal of tripling the amount of renewable energy generated on state trust land; holding the oil and gas industry accountable for the land they lease; expanding outdoor recreation; setting appropriate bonding amounts; and using data and technology to steward land – there’s much more to come and I’m excited for what we have and will accomplish together.”  

Under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico State Land Office has seen back-to-back years of revenue over $1 billion. 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 money earned from leasing activity supports 22 beneficiaries – New Mexico public schools, seven universities and colleges, the School for the Deaf, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, three hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.

Office of Renewable Energy Announces Two New Projects

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 11, 2021

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

Office of Renewable Energy Announces Two New Projects: 480 Acres Leased for Solar and 642 Acres Leased for Wind

New renewable energy projects will bring $5.2 million in new revenue for New Mexico public schools

SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office on Friday held auctions for two renewable energy projects. The winning bidders – Wildcat Solar Power Plant, LLC and Boulevard Associates, LLC – will move forward with development of new solar and wind energy projects that combined will bring an estimated $5.2 million in new revenue for the state trust land beneficiary. In both cases, the assigned beneficiary is New Mexico public schools.  

With these new leases, Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has signed renewable energy leases totaling over $85 million in lifetime project revenue since assuming office in 2019. When new and pending projects are completed, renewable generation on state trust land will total around 920 megawatts (MW). 1 MW of renewable energy can power anywhere from 350 to 1,000 homes.

Wildcat Solar Power Plant

Wildcat Solar Power Plant, LLC, a subsidiary of Solariant Capital, submitted the winning bid today for 480 acres of state trust land in McKinley County. The Wildcat Solar Power Plant will encompass 960 acres of a mix of trust land and private land. PV solar panels will be installed on a single-axis tracker system, enabling the facility to follow the sun east-to-west and increase the overall energy yield.

“In 2020, the State Land Office made enormous strides in increasing our wind energy footprint. Right now, solar is poised to dominate the renewable energy applications that come to fruition within our Office of Renewable Energy,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “Over the life of the lease for the Wildcat solar project, we will raise an estimated $4.3 million for New Mexico public schools. Renewable energy revenue is and will continue helping us to diversify our revenue portfolio.”

The Wildcat Solar Power Plant will be supported by on site battery energy storage to dispatch solar power day or night. This will be the second solar project on state trust land to include an energy storage system.

“Solariant Capital is pleased to partner with the Commissioner of Public Lands and the New Mexico State Land Office for development of a 90 MW solar project and support the clean energy goal set by the State. The project also plans to incorporate a 47 MW/188 MWh battery energy storage system to provide a higher level of reliability on New Mexico’s electric grid,” Daniel Kim, Managing Director at Solariant Capital said. “Over the course of its development, construction and operation, the Wildcat Solar project will deliver environmental, social, and economic benefits to residents of McKinley County and across the state, including the use of local labor force for construction of the facility and delivery of cleaner energy with minimal impacts to animal habitats, wetlands and cultural resources.”

Borderlands Wind Project

Boulevard Associates, LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, submitted the winning bid today for 642 acres of state trust land in Catron County. The Borderlands Wind Project will be built south of U.S. Highway 60 near the Arizona-New Mexico border and in total will comprise approximately 17,000 acres of land, mostly public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. When completed, the entire facility will consist of approximately 34 wind turbines – two on the state trust land portion – capable of generating 100 MW annually.

“The two projects auctioned today are just the beginning of what we anticipate will be a record breaking year of positive developments for New Mexico’s clean energy economy. Even though our footprint on the Borderlands facility is small, the impact it will have in helping New Mexico achieve our renewable energy future cannot be understated,” Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard continued. “Over the course of this lease, the Borderlands project will bring in over $900,000 of new revenue through the State Land Office for New Mexico’s public schools.”

The company has also executed an Industrial Revenue Bond with both Catron County and the Quemado School District which they estimate totaling approximately $10 million in community tax investment over the life of the project. Roughly 100 employees will be brought on during the construction phase.

“We are very pleased to continue working with the great state of New Mexico to develop a project that will produce millions in tax and lease revenue, create good-paying jobs to build it, and generate clean, renewable energy for years to come,” said Gabe Henehan, Development Project Director for NextEra Energy Resources.

NextEra Energy Resources, LLC has over $1 billion invested in New Mexico, including four wind projects, four solar projects and a battery energy storage project in the state.


Under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico State Land Office has seen back-to-back years of revenue over $1 billion. 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 money earned from leasing activity supports 22 beneficiaries – New Mexico public schools, seven universities and colleges, the School for the Deaf, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, three hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.

State Land Office 2020 Oil and Gas Royalty Audits Recoup $2.3 Million for Land Grant Permanent Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 4, 2021

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

State Land Office 2020 Oil and Gas Royalty Audits Recoup $2.3 Million for Land Grant Permanent Fund  

SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office Royalty Management Division today announced the collection of $2,302,418 from standard audits of royalty collection for calendar year 2020. The 2020 audit collection amount is a 47.5% increase from 2019 and a 120.4% increase from 2018. 

The Royalty Management Division audits approximately 85% of State Land Office royalty revenue every five years. Staff auditors and compliance analysts look for mistakes and errors in reporting from all businesses that lease state trust land and are required to pay royalty on oil or gas extracted on leases. The COVID-19 pandemic required the Division to halt travel plans for field audits at company headquarters. All audits initiated after March 2020 were desk audits.

Revenue collected from business on state trust land that depletes a resource, like oil and gas extraction, development of mineral resources, or land exchanges or sales, is deposited into the Land Grant Permanent Fund, which is then invested by the State Investment Council.

Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has prioritized the Division’s work, a crucial mechanism of accountability for the Land Grant Permanent Fund that supports New Mexico’s school children by providing the bulk of funding for public schools.

“The audit team within the Royalty Management Division worked diligently on behalf of New Mexico’s public schools, hospitals, and universities to make sure that every single penny owed to them was received this year,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “The State Land Office has a constitutional mandate to support these vital institutions, and the last few years we have done that to the tune of more than $2.17 billion in revenue support their operations. We greatly appreciate the cooperation of the industry in our auditing process.”


Under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico State Land Office has seen back-to-back years of revenue over $1 billion. 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 money earned from leasing activity supports 22 beneficiaries – New Mexico public schools, seven universities and colleges, the School for the Deaf, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, three hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.

Join the mailing list

Sign up for updates