In northern New Mexico, a sacred site has been returned to its indigenous community.
On July 14, the Taos Land Trust officially transferred the Ponce de León Hot Springs to the Pueblo of Taos.
Now, the springs will be protected from any future development and also remain open to the general public. “This kind of partnership is very rare in the conservation community,” says Patricia Quintana, executive director of Taos Land Trust.
The land trust had purchased the 44-acre parcel in 1997 to save the springs from private development and create a public park.
A study by the federal government shows that New Mexico is expected to see its population that uses the Colorado River Basin for water grow from nearly 1.5 million people today to between 2 million and 3 million by 2060.
That's according to the latest data from a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation study.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/OhHnQI) that New Mexico and the other states that depend on the Colorado River Basin for water face a growing gap between how much water nature provides and how much people want to use.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added a New Mexico county to its list of primary natural disaster areas due to drought and excessive heat.
Cibola County joins 39 counties in eight states in the latest designation Wednesday.
In all, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared nearly 1,300 counties in 29 states as disaster areas during the current crop year. Much of New Mexico and the Southwest is already on the list.
On July 6, law enforcement officials from Arizona Game and Fish Department recovered the body of Mexican Gray Wolf. The carcass was found near Big Lake in the Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests.
The carcass is that of AM806, an adult male wolf that was released into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in 2006. The recovery area includes 4.4 million acres in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico and Arizona’s Apache National Forest.
This is the third wolf death documented within the recovery area this year.
About an hour north of Albuquerque, the Jemez Mountains are popular with hikers, fly fishermen, and pretty much anyone else looking for a mountain escape. The mountains have also been grazed, logged, and recently, hit hard by wildfire—Cerro Grande in 2000 and Las Conchas in 2011.
As the natural gas boom has spread to the eastern United States, the term “fracking” has become common in news reports coming out of Pennsylvania and New York. But fracking has been a part of New Mexico’s history for decades.
After all, fracking is not a new technology. Halliburton pioneered hydraulic fracturing, as it’s officially known, in the 1940s. And it has been used around New Mexico for decades.
More than 150 Chiricahua leopard frogs have been released into the Galiuros Mountains by Arizona officials.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department recently announced that the threatened adult and juvenile frogs were released at the new location where they haven't been seen since the 1990s.
Until the 1970s, Chiricahua leopard frogs lived in ponds and creeks across central and southeastern Arizona, but populations have declined significantly due to drought, disease, habitat loss and threats from other species.
The recent rains brought some relief to New Mexico’s parched forests, but they also brought a rash of lightning-caused fires.
Firefighters are responding to several smoke reports in the Questa Ranger District, according to U.S. Forest Service officials. They expect no problems. However, more smoke reports are anticipated as temperatures increase and humidity decreases.
Corrales officials say a fire that burned more than 350 acres of the wooded area along the Rio Grande last month was most likely sparked by an electronic cigarette.
Village Administrator John Avila says an employee apparently dropped the device while patrolling on June 20. The employee realized the device was gone after ducking under a tree limb. The fire started soon after.
Navajo lawmakers have rejected a settlement that recognizes the tribe's rights to water from the Little Colorado River basin.
The Tribal Council voted 15-6 against the settlement Thursday during a special session in Window Rock.
U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl had introduced legislation to approve the settlement, but it needed the blessing of the Navajo and Hopi tribes to move forward. Kyl has said the settlement would address water needs on the reservations and provide certainty of the water supply for off-reservation communities.
The water utility in Albuquerque inadvertently diverted farmers' irrigation water from the Rio Grande for more than a week in late June and used it for the city's drinking water supplies.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/MXVOs1) that John Stomp, chief operating officer of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility, acknowledged the improper diversions and agreed to pay back the farmers.
On Monday, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez that an alternative to dealing with haze-causing pollution at a New Mexico power plant should be worked out among stakeholders.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a letter sent to the governor that such an alternative would be in the environmental and economic best interests of the state.
Jackson signed a 90-day stay so the parties can evaluate alternatives for the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico.
All this week we're considering the Endangered Species Act in New Mexico. Today, KUNM’s Sidsel Overgaard brings you: The Case of the Disappearing Frogs...
The plight of the Chiricahua Leopard frog begins long ago, in a medical lab when researchers devise a way to use frogs as pregnancy tests. The African Clawed frogs used for this purpose were soon shipped all around the world, carrying with them a deadly fungus known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd for short (at least, that's the current favorite theory).
So far in our series, we’ve looked at some of the difficulties in recovering a species. But one of the emerging strengths of the Endangered Species Act is in its ability to spark compromise before a species ever makes it onto the list. And in the case of the Lesser Prairie Chicken and Dunes Sagebrush lizard, just the threat of a listing has been enough to make for some unlikely allies in Southeastern New Mexico.
As part of our series on endangered species in New Mexico, Carrie and Sidsel took a field trip with WildEarth Guardians Executive Director, John Horning, to look for the elusive New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse (you really should listen to this one...it's a radio geek's dream, but not so translate-able to print...).
In a newly released ranking of city park systems, Albuquerque came in 11th, just below major metropolises like Seattle and Philadelphia. Meanwhile, environmental advocates in Rio Rancho say its time their city starting trying to catch up.
In terms of developed parkland-- that is, space including amenities like basketball courts and swing sets-- Rio Rancho isn’t doing that badly. The city boasts 3.5 acres of developed parkland per thousand residents, compared to Albuquerque's 5.5.
A new scorecard for park systems in the nation’s largest 40 cities places Albuquerque near the top of the heap.
The rating system, developed by the Trust for Public Land, considers three factors: total park acreage, public access to those parks and spending on parks. Albuquerque missed the top ten by just one. But TPL’s Greg Hiner says that score places it within a stone’s throw of cities like New York, Seattle and Philadelphia.
Public Service Company of New Mexico says it has received four bids to install EPA-mandated pollution controls at its San Juan Generating Station...all of them just as costly as the company had predicted.
According to the Albuquerque Journal:
PNM says the lowest bid is more than double the federal agency’s estimate of $345 million to equip the coal-fired plant with selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, technology to cut pollutants that cause regional haze.
A week-long hearing on New Mexico’s pit rule has drawn to a close…for now.
The pit rule, adopted in 2008, governs the disposal of waste from oil and gas drilling, and has been called one of the strictest regulations in the country.
This week the Oil Conservation Commission heard testimony from experts and the public about the oil and gas industry’s push to revise the regulations. But with time running out and several people yet to testify, the OCC decided to continue the hearing June 20-22.
On Sunday, Albuquerque residents and visitors will be treated to the rare sight of an annular solar eclipse. The eclipse starts at 6:28 PM and continues until the sun sets. KUNM’s Conservation Beat reporter Sidsel Overgaard spoke with Barry Spletzer with the Albuquerque Astronomical Society to learn more.
The economy took a serious hit with the last recession. And while it will take time to recover, New Mexico is faring much better than the rest of the United States. That’s according to a recent Headwaters Economics report. The independent research group says New Mexico is creating jobs faster and has higher per capita income than the U.S as a whole. Headwaters Policy Director Chris Mehl says public lands have been a significant factor in New Mexico's economic recovery.