A membership moment – please take a minute to consider your Sierra Club membership

Takota, a Golden Eagle from the El Paso Zoo at the Chihuahuan Desert Fiesta in 2010 by Rick LoBello

I have always admired and respected the Sierra Club. When I worked in the national parks we all heard the story of John Muir and I can really relate to what he said in The Yosemite in 1912… "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike."


Rio Grande Chapter voted Best Environmental Group by Santa Feans!

The Santa Fe Reporter's Best of Santa Fe issue came out July 15. Thanks Santa Fe; we're working to be even more effective in shaping environmental policy and actions. Click here to see the Reporter issue: http://bit.ly/1qfK9x8


New Mexico can afford to clean up its act on oil and gas drilling

Rio Grande Chapter Energy Team chair Denise Fort and team member Verne Loose, an energy economist, did a study of the economics of oil and gas drilling in New Mexico and found that, despite common claims from industry, New Mexico's oil and gas companies are not generally smaller or less able to operate under common-sense regulations like the "Pit Rule" that safeguard our water and air from contamination.

The paper is attached here:


Gila National Forest releases vehicle-management plan

The areas in pink are within one mile of a road.

By Donna Stevens, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, 07/01/14
After years of delays, the Gila National Forest finally released its much-anticipated Travel Management Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision on June 11.
When the decision is implemented in 2015, it will prohibit driving off-road. This in itself is a huge step toward protecting natural resources and is long overdue.


How to help wildlife through the human zone

This bobcat kitten was brought to the Wildlife Center from a backyard.

By Katherine Eagleson, Wildlife Center, Española, 06/30/14

In the United States we have done a pretty good job of saving scenic places. A lot of wildlife lives in those places.

But when a drought lingers year after year and depletes food sources, or a wildfire burns the habitat to dirt, or maybe it’s just time for the youngsters to move out, make a life of their own, spread the gene pool, how do we accommodate wild animals’ need to move?

Badly, that’s how we have done it so far. We have not planned well to give wildlife the corridors they need to move safely between habitats. We have also misled the public by giving the impression that wildlife managers can collect wildlife from backyards and parks and homeowners’ association properties and transport them to some wilderness nirvana.


BLM considers fencing to protect prairie dogs

By Teresa Seamster, 06/3014
A surprise population of Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs living on the Caja del Rio has encouraged a Forest Service biologist and the Northern New Mexico Group to map burrows and ask BLM for protection from off-road vehicles.

When I first heard about the prairie dogs it was in the context of how barren the BLM land was on the Caja and how it looked as if there were no longer prairie dogs out there. Later, I was asked if I could come out and see if there were any Gunnison’s out there.

The result was unexpected.


La Bajada mining decision delayed

Painting of La Bajada by Rio Grande Chapter member Jeff Potter

By Teresa Seamster, Northern New Mexico Group co-chair, 06/30/14
At its June 11 meeting, the Santa Fe Board of County commissioners failed to vote on an application for a basalt mine on La Bajada Mesa, even in the face of nearly 1,000 opponents at the meeting and 250 email comments from Northern New Mexicans Group members and supporters.
Fifty acres of La Bajada Mesa is under threat of the strip mining.The applicant, Rockology LLC, would also use thousands of gallons of potable water daily just to reduce dust at the site.


Norma McCallan: Our Living Treasure

Norma McCallan with, from left, her son Chris, County Commission candidate Henry Roybal and Tom Gorman

By Mona Blaber, Chapter communications coordinator, 06/30/14
Norma McCallan, co-chair of the Northern New Mexico Group and a cornerstone of the Rio Grande Chapter, was honored June 22 as a Santa Fe Living Treasure.

The Santa Fe Living Treasures program, celebrating its 30th anniversary, honors people over 70 who make a difference in the community. Last fall, Norma was also chosen by The Santa Fe New Mexican as one of its annual 10 Who Made a Difference.


Taos County streams look pretty good after Water Sentinels testing

By Eric Patterson, Water Sentinels — Rios de Taos, 06/30/14

Water Sentinels — Rios de Taos has resumed its water-testing season. We started with a training session on May 15 attended by 15 volunteers. Our first round of testing began May 19.

Our results show that Taos County streams are looking good, with only a few trouble spots. We are especially interested in keeping track of the Rio Hondo because of large consatruction projects slated by the new owners of Taos Ski Valley.


Water advocates shut out of dairy talks

Aerial view of dairy in Anthony, N.M.

A version of the following article, written by the Citizens Coalition — Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, Amigos Bravos and Socially Responsible Agricultural Project and New Mexico Environmental Law Center — ran in the New Mexico Mercury in June.
Less than four weeks into her governorship, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez had to be reminded by the New Mexico Supreme Court that “Nobody is above the law.” The reason: the governor had tried to prevent recently approved dairy rules, among other new environmentally protective rules, from going into effect.


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