Wednesday News Roundup: New Mexico National Refuge To Expand

Jan 1, 2014

  New Mexico National Refuge To Expand - The Associated Press

The Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge on Albuquerque's southern edge is growing thanks to the purchase of 57 acres.

The $1.1 million purchase was announced this week by Bernalillo County Commissioner Art de la Cruz and state Sen. Michael Padilla. They also say development of a master plan for the refuge and visitors' center is underway.

The state Legislature approved the funding for the purchase during its last session.

As the Southwest's first urban refuge, Valle de Oro was dedicated in September 2012. It now consists of close to 490 acres of alfalfa fields and cottonwoods along the Rio Grande. There are plans to buy another 80 acres.

Officials say a public meeting is scheduled next week to gather community comments and ideas for the refuge's master plan.

Millicent Rogers Museum Gets Rare Donations - The Associated Press

The collection at one Taos museum just got a boost thanks to several donations.

The Millicent Rogers Museum announced the donations this week.

The gifts include a rare Navajo weaving featuring a crystal pattern that dates back to the 1930s and 1940s, Mexican textiles from the 19th and early 20th centuries and a piece of Navajo pottery that is around 500 years old.

An anonymous donor also gave the museum one of the largest documented "mission-style" baskets known to exist. Such baskets were made from kits and patterns supplied by manufacturers during the early 1900s.

Museum officials say the gifts will allow the museum to continue with its mission of sharing and celebrating the arts and cultures of the Southwest.

Once cataloged, the new additions will be put on exhibit.

New Mexico Land Commissioner Supports Proposed Monument The Associated Press

New Mexico Land Commissioner Ray Powell is throwing his support behind a proposal that would protect scenic areas in Dona Ana County.

New Mexico's two U.S. senators have introduced legislation that calls for designating about 780 square miles near Las Cruces as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The effort has been more than a decade in the making.

The area would include eight new wilderness areas and would be overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. It would also include about 125 square miles of state trust land.

Powell says his office is working to identify lands suitable for an exchange. He says a land swap will allow the area to be protected while the state can receive working lands that can provide income for trust beneficiaries.