The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Land protected near Melrose range


May 8, 2019

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — A partnership between Cannon Air Force Base and The Conservation Fund has resulted in the protection of more than 30,000 acres of land adjacent to the Melrose Air Force Range, according to a Cannon release.

A conservation easement has been placed on the land, which surrounds the range. The easement restricts development, encroachment and changes to the land that could negatively impact operations for the range and the 27th Special Operations Wing.

The Conservation Fund worked with landowners Tom and Sharon Davis. It will be overseen by the New Mexico Land Conservancy. Funding was provided by the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program and the New Mexico Economic Development Department.

The purchase is the largest in the REPI program’s history, and took three years of planning, the release said.

The range has been in operation since 1952 and functions as the wing’s primary training range. In total, the range provides more than 4,500 annual training hours for U.S. and coalition Special Operations forces.

“On behalf of the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Special Operations Command, I want to express our gratitude to the state and federal lawmakers who provided early support, The Conservation Fund for providing strong leadership, and Tom and Sharon Davis for sticking with us through this challenging process,” said Col. Stewart Hammons, 27th SOW commander, in the release. “The 27th SOW looks forward to continuing this program to further protect our sensitive environment and protect national interests while preserving a historic way of life.”


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