WASHINGTON, D.C. - At a ceremony in the nation’s capital today, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne recognized the Restore New Mexico Partnership as one of 21 recipients nationwide of the Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award.
The 21 awards recognized the work of more than 700 groups and individuals who achieved excellence in conservation through collaboration and partnerships.
“These outstanding partnerships and cooperative efforts represent a fundamental way in which our Department provides stewardship for America with integrity and excellence,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “They embody a broad spectrum of conservation work from restoring wetlands, rangelands and mine lands to protecting wildlife, conserving water and fighting invasive species to teaching conservation values to the next generation.”
The award to the Restore New Mexico Partnership recognizes the group’s extraordinary initiative and leadership in achieving the vision of restored grassland and riparian ecosystems in southeastern New Mexico, including the removal of salt cedar from river corridors—which allowed the natural biodiversity to return—and reintroduction of fire to the landscape. Since 2005 brush control on 500,000 acres has been completed on public lands and almost 10,000 acres on private and state lands. Native riparian vegetation was reestablished on 36 miles of river, replacing salt cedar that had invaded their banks. And 800 acres of well pads, roads, and power lines were reclaimed, reconnecting more than 80,000 acres of wildlife habitat.
“By bringing diverse stakeholders together and through tireless dedication to a common vision, the partnership restored extensive landscapes in southeastern New Mexico,” the award noted. “Through persistence and tenacity, these small groups found success and built momentum, causing their movement to grow.”
The Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award recognizes conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of individual landowners, citizen groups, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and Federal, State, local, and/or tribal governments.
“This is a fitting start to a week of Earth Day activities,” the Secretary told the crowd at the main Interior auditorium. “If anyone were to ask me why America is the world leader in conservation of natural resources, I would simply point to the people in this auditorium. You are the spirit and you are the hands of cooperative conservation.”
Restore New Mexico Partnership (New Mexico) Members:
Ranching Partners: Monty Beckham, Daniel C. Berry III, Lewis Derrick, Robert Jolley, Bill Marley, Robert Mathis, Mathis Land & Cattle, Inc., Mark McCloy, Stacy Mills, Kelly Myers,
Alisa Ogden, Jimmy Richardson, Joe Stell
Volunteers: Stan Brisco, Howard Gebel, Larry LaPlant, Gerald Orr, Brezel Sanchez, Roy Stovall, Mack Wilemon
Bureau of Land Management: Eddie Bateson, Doug Burger, Cindy Dreps, Ron Dutton, Don Ellsworth, Dave Evans, Russell Fox, Tony Herrell, Jesse Juen, Ray Keller, Dorothy Morgan,
Linda Rundell, Jim Stovall, Eddy Williams
Carlsbad Soil and Water Conservation District: Judy Boch, Aaron Curbello, Nathan Jurva,
Dawson Geophysical Company: Brian Freidenbloom, Steve Jumper, Ray Tobias
Devon Energy Corporation: Wyatt Abbitt, Joe Johnston, Don Mayberry, Victoria Sanchez, Steve Zink
Marathon Oil: Tom Breninger
Marbob Energy Corporation: Rand French, Johnny C. Gray, Ray Miller
Natural Resources Conservation Service: Dennis Alexander, Philip Carter, Ty Carter, Hollis Fuchs, Garth Grizzale, Tim Henry
New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts: Mary Lou Ballard, Troy Hood, Debbie Hughes, Kenneth B. Leiting, Bill See
New Mexico Dept. of Game and Fish: Dale Hall, R.J. Kirkpatrick, Bruce Thompson
New Mexico State Land Office: Jim Carr, Pat Lyons, Myra Myers