As the state with the fourth highest biodiversity in the country, New Mexico deserves a modern approach to wildlife conservation. Senate Bill 312, the New Mexico Wildlife Heritage Act, would bring us one step closer by transforming the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish into the New Mexico Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Senate Bill 312 would better wildlife management practices in New Mexico by updating several provisions and expanding the wildlife department’s mission, allowing it to do more to address the needs of game and non-game species alike. Among the positive changes to wildlife management proposed by the bill are:
- An expanded authority to manage game and non-game wildlife populations, allowing the department to take advantage of funding opportunities afforded by the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
- The repeal of an unpopular rule that allows landowners to kill deer, elk, pronghorn, and other protected wildlife on private land without department permission or oversight.
- An expanded definition of “waste of game”, preventing hunters from leaving animals to waste in the field.
- An update to the state’s tag system, bringing New Mexico in line with other western states and increasing equity in access to wildlife for New Mexico residents and indigenous communities.
- A one-time one million dollar appropriation for management of species of greatest conservation need. This new funding would go far for priority species like the Pecos Pupfish, Pinyon Jay, Boreal Toad, and more.
New Mexico is one of only 11 states that still manages wildlife within a ‘game and fish’ structure, and the New Mexico Wildlife Heritage Act brings some long-overdue changes. Birds and other wildlife face a future with increased drought, more frequent wildfires, and unpredictable extreme weather events. To protect our state’s biodiversity from these growing threats of tomorrow, we must implement a modern approach to wildlife management and conservation today. Please, take action by supporting SB 312 – The New Mexico Wildlife Heritage Act.
(Do you feel like an email isn’t enough? Go a step further by using this link to find contact information for your district’s Senator and give them a call!)
Yours in Conservation,
1800 Upper Canyon Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501