Senators Bingaman & Udall Introduce Bill to Transfer Valles Caldera to National Park Service - Update

Valles Caldera

August 5 - U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today announced that a bill he introduced with Senator Tom Udall to transfer management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service has cleared its first hurdle. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed it.

The Chapter has been strongly supporting the effort by Caldera Action to transfer management of the Valles Caldera from the Valles Caldera Trust to the National Park Service, which has the experience and resources to better manage the Preserve. We are delighted to announce that on May 27, Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall introduced legislation to transfer the management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service.

Governor Richardson Issues Trapping Restrictions in Lobo Country

Wolf1 © 2006 Larry Allen

"By prohibiting traps and snares to protect our beleaguered lobos, Governor Richardson has again shown tremendous leadership to help wolves gain recovery," stated Mary Katherine Ray, Wildlife Chair of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. "Wolves bring millions of tourism dollars to Yellowstone. Directing the Department of Tourism to examine the potential for wolf tourism in New Mexico will benefit not only our wolves but also the economy of the Gila region and New Mexico," she added.

Chapter Petitions to Stop Trapping of Wolves in the Gila

Wolf1 © 2006 Larry Allen

The Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierran Club, Wild Earth Guardians, and the Southwest Environmental Center have sent a petition to the US Forest Service and the US Fish & Wildlife Service to stop trapping and snaring of wolves in the Gila National Forest.

Innovative Strategies for ESA Species Management: Promises & Pitfalls

Aerial view of middle Rio Grande floodplain

by Mary Katherine Ray, Chapter Wildlife Chair

The recent Tenth Circuit ruling voiding a decade of litigation challenging A federal agencies' ESA approach well illustrates (see article this page), often process can overwhelm substance when it comes to species management. Not only can technical legal issues swamp more philosophical disagreements over land and water use priorities or the best methods for helping an endangered species like the Rio Grande silvery minnow recover from the verge of extinction, but politics among regional "stakeholders" can often drown out sound science.

Federal Appeals Court Rules on Middle Rio Grande, Minnow Issues - Prior Expansive Pro-ESA Rulings Voided

Rio Grande near Albuquerque

On April 21st, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit finally issued its ruling involving a crucial issue for Endangered Species Act (ESA) "consultations" on federal water project operations, and federal agency activities in general.

Trapping Continues Like It's 1899

Trap Circle

Since the furbearer rules were last reviewed in 2006, New Mexico has killed more bobcats than any other western state, over 10,600 between the years 2006 and 2009. (Last winter’s figures have not been tallied) An outbreak of rabies has cut a swath through fox populations on the Arizona border spilling into bobcats as well. This area is also the most heavily trapped for foxes in the entire state and this exploitation and disease are both ongoing. Heavy snows this past winter across the state have doubtless added to mortality.

Mexican Wolves to Be Reintroduced into … Mexico


It is only fitting that Mexico is now planning to reintroduce lobos into their own country because the last Mexican wolves known to be in the wild were captured there in the late 1970s and placed into captivity to save the entire species. Five wolves will be released into the Sierra San Luis Mountains about 100 miles south of the Arizona/New Mexico border.

New Mexico Wolves Need Your Help!

Wolf1 © 2006 Larry Allen

Code red: New Mexico wolves need your help! The end of 2009 count of Mexican wolves in the wild is sadly disappointing. In Arizona, the number went up from 23 to 29, but the count in New Mexico is down from 29 to only 15!

United States Commits to Jaguar Recovery Plan


At last, there is hope for jaguars in the Southwest. In January, the Obama administration announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would develop a recovery plan and designate critical habitat for these endangered cats. The move came in response to a letter from the Sierra Club and a coalition of environmental groups.

Wild Otters Come Back to New Mexico Rivers

Otter ©2006 Larry Allen

Jan 2010 - Two spunky yearling river otters, a reunited brother and sister, romped and tussled on the banks of the Rio Pueblo de Taos in early fall of last year. They had just been released from separate holding pens by this tributary of the Upper Rio Grande, where they had been held for several days to rest, recuperate, and fatten up after their trip from Washington State to New Mexico.

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