Home Opinion Dear Editor Letter: Effort to conserve lands, waters has mainstream support

Letter: Effort to conserve lands, waters has mainstream support


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

It is unfortunate that members of the Chaves County Land Council were provided with such misleading information about President Biden’s 30×30 conservation proposal by an anti-public lands group based in Texas (RDR, 3/14/21). I’d like to correct the record so that the citizens of Chaves County can understand why this conservation plan is so important for New Mexico.

New Mexicans are deeply tied to the land. We all understand that it is our responsibility to future generations to leave our state better off than we experienced it, and to do so by working together. And we’re worried about it: A recent poll from Colorado College found that 58% of New Mexicans are worried about the future of nature. That’s why 77% of us support this important national goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.

Scientists tell us we stand to lose a third of our wildlife if we don’t act. I represent hunters and anglers all across our great state. We’ve seen firsthand how wildlife habitat is degraded by drought and megafires which leads to population declines. The only way to reverse this trend is for communities to work together to conserve and restore our forests and grasslands. Doing so will not only revitalize wildlife populations, it will help mitigate climate change by increasing the capacity of the land to absorb and store carbon.

The 30×30 goal can help fund locally-driven initiatives to protect critically important habitat and offer incentives to private landowners to foster conservation. It can provide funding for restoration efforts like cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells, which will put people to work in places like Chaves County.

Elected leaders should welcome these kinds of opportunities for investment in our communities. It’s exactly what most New Mexicans say they want: a whopping 90% of New Mexicans in that same poll said that even with our state’s budget problems, we should find money to protect our state’s land, water, and wildlife.

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Those ideas aren’t fringe — they’re mainstream. I urge the Chaves County Board of Commissioners to heed the wishes of New Mexicans, not an anti-public lands group from Texas.

Jesse W. Deubel
Executive Director
New Mexico Wildlife Federation

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