Elected officials, forest planners, wildlife authorities, landowners and tribal leaders will discuss new policy initiatives for protecting important migration areas.
SANTA FE, NM – On August 20, the National Wildlife Federation and the Upper Rio Grande Wildlife Initiative will convene its third summit to promote collaboration between local, state, federal and tribal agencies to protect wildlife corridors in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.
“With new management plans from the Carson, Rio Grande and Santa Fe National Forests, a landmark state law in New Mexico seeking to reduce vehicle collisions with wildlife, and proposed federal legislation on wildlife corridors, it is vitally important that a broad range of stakeholders come together to discuss the best ways to protect the robust migration corridors in the Upper Rio Grande,” said Andrew Black, public lands field director at the National Wildlife Federation.
The day-long summit will feature remarks by leaders in the effort to protect migration corridors and critical wildlife habitat, including U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM), New Mexico State Land Commissioner Stephanie Richard Garcia, Colorado Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director Tim Mauck, Colorado and New Mexico state elected officials, representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, state game agencies, tribal wildlife officials and private land owners.
“New Mexico’s wildlife corridors face unique challenges ranging from the climate crisis to encroaching developments that require us to act – and I’ve been a proud partner in Congress working to deliver on federal protections that are much-needed. Working with diverse stakeholders to protect wildlife corridors is critical in order to protect our wildlife habitats and ensure healthy wildlife migration, and I’m excited to join the Upper Rio Grande Wildlife Corridors Summit to hear from community leaders,” Luján said.
Spanning from the San Luis Valley in Colorado to the Sandia Pueblo in New Mexico, this region is home to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, elk, pronghorn, mule deer, lynx, Rio Grande cutthroat trout and much more. Although it has been recognized as one of the best connected landscapes for wildlife in the country, roads, fences, extractive industries and climate change now threaten to fragment it.
The Santa Fe, Carson and Rio Grande National Forests have recently released draft forest plans that will guide land management and the direction of these forests for decades to come. Within each forest, several migration corridors have been identified which need greater protection from development, logging and road building. The public is encouraged to send comments about these plans to the U.S. Forest Service.
What: Upper Rio Grande Wildlife Corridors Summit
When: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Aug. 20, 2019
Where: Sagebrush Inn & Suites – 1508 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos, N.M.
The event is free and open to the public. Register at www.connectedcorridors.com/summit