TAOS COUNTY, NM (August, 20 2019) – Taos County Commissioners today passed Resolution No. 2019-39, in support of protecting wildlife corridors in the Upper Rio Grande Basin. Taos County joins several other New Mexican counties and municipalities that have unanimously supported wildlife corridors in the Upper Rio Grande. The resolution also urges Congress to pass the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2019 that would serve to protect wildlife corridors nationally.
The Taos County Commission welcomed several distinguished guests during their meeting. U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Lujan attended the county meeting and spoke in support of wildlife corridors and the resolution. “I just want to encourage support, which I know is broad for the resolution,” Lujan said. He highlighted how “supporting the wildlife corridors as we continue to protect access for our public lands” helps entire “ecosystems and species that continue to move.”
Colorado State Representative and HECHO Advisory Board Member Donald Valdez also attended the meeting and spoke as a “neighbor to the north” saying that it is “an honor to truly work as neighbors for the next generation now more than ever— for our water, for our soils, and for our natural resources.”
The resolution represents the respect community members have for wildlife, and their migration patterns. Rampant development of roads, fences, and other human-created barriers can make it increasingly difficult for wildlife species to migrate safely across landscapes. With forest planning underway in the Carson National Forest, the approval of the resolution demonstrates to the U.S. Forest Service that local community cares about habitat connectivity.
HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors) and the New Mexico Wildlife Federation (NMWF) strongly support the Taos County resolution, which was passed on the same day as the 3rd Annual Upper Rio Grande Wildlife Corridors Summit took place in Taos. HECHO Advisory Board Member and Chairman for HECHO, Rock Ulibarri, attended and expressed gratitude for the resolution having passed.
“I have witnessed the overwhelming support from members of the community and county commissioners who believe in the preservation of our cultural traditions and our connection to the land,” Ulibarri said. “It is absolutely critical to include all of the municipalities that have a stake in the future and health of our wildlife and forests as we work together to tell our congressional delegation in Washington D.C. as well as our forest planners that wildlife migration corridors are strongly supported at the local level,” said Ulibarri.
Jesse Deubel, Executive Director of the NMWF, said “To be responsible stewards of our planet, it is imperative that we consider the impacts our communities and developments have on wildlife and in turn on future generations of people. The sustainability of our wildlife populations depends on the ability of animals to move across the landscape. Human development has already resulted in highly fragmented habitat, and we must protect and conserve the critical migration corridors that provide our wildlife with connectivity.”
Taos County joins Town of Taos, Pecos, City of Española, as well as Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, and San Miguel counties in supporting the protection of wildlife corridors in the Upper Rio Grande region.