Land conservation plan met with concerns


Last updated 1/25/2022 at 5:20pm

CLOVIS — A proposal to ensure that 30% of New Mexico lands are conserved by 2030, part of a federal “30 by 30” plan with the same goal for the nation, was met Monday by Curry County commissioners with concerns about encroachment on private property rights.

The plan was presented as a preliminary step in the process of developing the conservation plan. According to slides presented to the commission on Monday, the process will include public engagement, developing a set of definitions for public feedback, and a review of existing conservation programs and the state’s expressed needs for conservation.

Eight state agencies are working on developing a final report to present to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham by the end of 2022. The agencies are the state departments of Agriculture; Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources; Environment; Indian Affairs; Game and Fish; and the Office of the State Engineer, the State Land Office and the Outdoor Recreation Division.

Commission Chair Chet Spear and District 4 Commissioner Seth Martin said they would like to know much more about the definitions of conservation and what restrictions might be placed on private landowners.

State Forester Laura McCarthy assured commissioners that private property rights would be respected, and that terms would not be defined until public hearings are held in the middle of the year.

Lance Adkins, general manager for Farmers Electric Coop, mentioned some severe restrictions placed on private land use from efforts to preserve habitat for the Lesser Prairie Chicken and expressed concern about additional limits on land use.

The state’s plan was put into motion by an executive order from Grisham last year in connection with a 30 by 30 plan proposed by President Joe Biden in May.

The commissioners on Monday also authorized County Manager Lance Pyle to oversee application for a grant through the American Rescue Plan Act for $1 million to expand the livestock barn at the Curry County Fairgrounds to include more livestock stalls and more room for special events. The county would provide a 10% match of around $100,000.

In consent agenda items, which are decided upon by a single commission vote, the commission approved:

Disposal of a computer monitor and a wooden desk.

Approved a remote access agreements with Curry County Abstract and Title and Landmark Title for two years.

Approved permits for a culvert installation on Curry Road 10 and installation of an irrigation line between Curry Road M and Curry Road N.


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