Thursday, July 28, 2016

New Mexico state engineer on dealing with Mighty Mouse

As if being the man in charge of water resources in one of the nation’s driest states were not a0l employees are fencing off areas, such as stretches in the Jemez Mountains in the Santa Fe National Forest, to protect the mouse’s habitat from intrusion by cattle on adjacent federal grazing allotments. “They are fencing off streams that were available to livestock,” Blaine said during a presentation Wednesday morning to business leaders at an Economic Forum meeting at Hotel Albuquerque. “That places me in the middle. The ranchers want me to remove the fences. But that’s not in my playing field. I have no authority to move fences to make that water available to ranchers who are grazing the land. And ranching is a huge industry in New Mexico.” Blaine said that what he can do is pipe water from fenced-off streams to places where the water is accessible to livestock, an effort that was not necessary before the mouse was listed as endangered. “I can make sure the ranchers get the water,” he said. “But environmental issues are becoming more and more constraining on projects. It takes longer and longer to get things done.”...more

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