Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Friday, September 09, 2016
County discusses meadow jumping mouse habitat
Former Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employee Dan Abercrombie discussed the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse during the scheduled residents communications portion of the commission’s regular meeting Thursday morning.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service, the New Mexico jumping mouse is a rare subspecies found primarily near streams and wetlands in parts of New Mexico, eastern Arizona and southern Colorado.
New Mexico listed the species as threatened in 1983 and upgraded it to endangered status in 2006, where it remains today.
On March 16, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated critical habitat for the jumping mouse, with an effective date of April 15, 2016.
Abercrombie said he felt irritated with the current habitat for the mice and felt the need to educate commissioners on the species and their habitat.
“We wrote a letter recommending that the meadow jumping mouse be listed when I was still with NRCS 10 years ago because it’s a meadow jumping mouse. We recommended that 160 acres of every section be cut and I didn’t hear anything else on the meadow jumping mouse for the next 10 years,” Abercrombie said. “This species has experienced 82 percent reduction in population due to loss of habitat. Part of that is forest fires and part of that is because the forest has 10 times more trees now than we did in 1983.” Abercrombie said the species is thought to have been more widespread in the past during more mesic climate conditions and environments with dense vegetation.
He said in his 37 years as a federal employee, he has never found small creatures in these environments.
“This species has a fairly tight requirement for moist habitats and has little dispersal ability. It’s associated with permanent waterways that contain dense vegetation. I don’t understand the science behind it, I have a degree in range management. In my 37 years in federal employment I always noticed there was more rats, quail, rabbits and other rodents in overgrazed areas,” Abercrombie said. “I never-ever found little critters in overgrown areas with dense vegetation. They hide there, but they don’t live there. It’s kind of like that spotted owl, it can only live in that dark timber so long then it has to come out and eat.”...more