Posted at: 06/19/2013 7:47 AM
By: KOB.com staff
ALBUQUERQUE -- Two state agencies and a nonprofit organization are teaming up to help provide water to New Mexico's wildlife populations during the drought.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) has made a one-time provision of $40,000 to New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) to help the state's ranchers defray the extra cost of hauling or pumping water during the drought.
NMDGF Director Jim Lane and NMDA Director/Secretary Jeff Witte made the announcement today during the mid-year meeting of the New Mexico Joint Stockmen, which is comprised largely of ranchers.
"Anytime a rancher provides water for his cattle, there will be wildlife that benefit from that water, also," Lane said. "We recognize the contributions landowners make that go a long way toward keeping our wildlife healthy, especially during the drought, and this money is to say thank you for that."
NMDGF is primarily funded by the sale of licenses to hunt, fish and trap game species in the state, not by general taxpayer dollars.
The money will pass through NMDA to the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts (NMACD), a nonprofit organization that represents the shared interests of the state's 47 soil and water conservation districts (SWCD). SWCDs work with landowners through conservation planning and assistance to benefit the soil, water, air, plants and animals in a way that results in productive lands and healthy ecosystems.
On a first-come, first-served basis, individual ranchers will be eligible for up to $350 to pay for such things as fuel to haul water or to pump groundwater. Neither NMDGF, NMDA, NMACD, nor any of the SWCDs will withhold a percentage for the administration of the funds.
"This money will go straight to the ranchers in the state who are working hard to protect not only their cattle during the drought, but also the state's wildlife population – a large percentage of which can be found on land where cattle are grazed," NMDA Director/Secretary Jeff Witte said.