New Mexico Conservation Groups Developing Statewide Public Lands Policy

By Greg Peters, Public Lands & Wildlife Advocate

New Mexico is heavily reliant upon our lands and waters, which support our economy, sustain traditional and indigenous communities, provide our water supplies, support our food security, preserve biodiversity, provide access for recreation, hunting and fishing, and support the health and well-being of our residents. 

Photo credit: Les McKee. (https://www.organmountains.org/multimedia/photos-of-the-monument/organ-mountains-photos/)

Loss of nature is one of the greatest threats to New Mexico’s future. Our state strongly identifies with its scenic beauty and its diverse cultures, and this identity is built upon a foundation of land, water, and an intertwined web of living things. The protection and restoration of nature is in the interest of all New Mexicans. 

To safeguard the resources that support life, scientists are urging ambitious conservation action to stop the loss of nature. Efforts are coalescing around the goal of conserving 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030 (“30×30”) as a means to help solve climate change and reverse the decline of America’s wildlife, rivers, oceans, and natural lands. 

Political action to support this goal is gaining momentum. Nationally, a resolution has been introduced in the U.S. Congress to commit the nation to a 30×30 goal. New Mexico Senator Tom Udall and New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland are lead sponsors. 

Momentum is growing at the state level as well. CVNM has been working with allies and stakeholders across the state to build a locally driven campaign to work toward achieving the goals of a uniquely New Mexican 30×30 to protect New Mexico’s land, water, wildlife, and heritage. The coalition is working on plans that complements the national 30×30 goal and aligns New Mexico with a growing number of states that are linking climate action with land and water conservation. 

As a coordinated alliance with mutual unifying goals, we are working collectively to design a 30×30 vision with an ambitious policy agenda rooted in the passage of transformational, proactive conservation policy. Our goal is to seize emerging opportunities in the protection of our natural resources while advancing policies that support New Mexican’s conservation values, cultural heritage, and economic security. 

This is an ambitious goal, but it is one that more than three-quarters of New Mexicans support. Colorado College’s State of the Rockies Project 2020 Conservation in the West poll found that 72% of New Mexicans consider themselves to be conservationists. A remarkable 78% voice support for a national goal of conserving 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030. Achieving it will help conserve nature and wildlife, connect people, mitigate the impacts of climate change, protect our economy, increase our food and water security, and safeguard New Mexicans’ quality of life for generations to come. 

By creating a uniquely New Mexican roadmap to protect at least 30 percent of lands and waters in the state by 2030, New Mexico is poised to be a national conservation leader. We can accomplish this by advancing locally led conservation initiatives, building a more inclusive, equitable, and just approach to the restoration, stewardship, and access of our lands, and providing needed economic support to our rural communities. Conserving and restoring more lands and waters will also help protect our communities from floods, fires, storms, and other impacts of climate change, safeguarding the natural resources we rely on for food, jobs, and recreation. 

To stay up-to-date on the ongoing developments of our work and see what actions you can take to play a role, please follow us on social media, and/or reach out to us by contacting Greg Peters at Greg@cvnm.org. 

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