ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Federal stimulus money has been allocated to the State Forestry Division
New Mexico is receiving $15 million in federal stimulus money for use in helping to prevent catastrophic wildfires and improve forest and watershed conditions on state, private and tribal lands in the state, Gov. Bill Richardson announced Wednesday.
The State Forestry Division is being provided the money through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office.
The news release said the approved projects are:
- Statewide hazardous fuels treatment, $4.5 million — These projects are designed to protect communities or other areas at risk of catastrophic wildfire due to population density and/or fuel loads. Projects will be conducted in the following areas: $1.8 million, Capitan District (Fort Stanton, Alto Mesa/Moon Mountain, Cox Canyon); $1.4 million, Cimarron District (Black Lake, Colfax Riparian Restoration, Red River, Angel Fire); $1.3 million, Chama District (San Juan County, Mesa de las Vejas).
- Santa Clara Pueblo ecosystem restoration, $6.5 million — This project is designed to reduce hazardous fuels within the boundaries of the Pueblo of Santa Clara. The project will continue to exemplify successful work and serve as a demonstration project for future collaboration with tribes. Santa Clara Pueblo developed a community Wildfire Protection Plan that addresses the risk of wildfire to various values within pueblo boundaries. The plan identifies several priority treatment areas that are in desperate need of hazardous fuel reduction treatment. This project is broken into three separate sections. The sections are Santa Clara Creek headwaters, Santa Clara Canyon and the Rio Grande River Bosque.
- New Mexico forest inventory analysis, $4 million — This project will address a significant gap in forest inventory information. While data has been collected in all but a few states each year, to guide forest management decision making, no new data has been available for New Mexico for the last decade. In the meanwhile, New Mexico forests have experienced large scale wildfires, widespread tree mortality due to drought and insect epidemics, and differing pressures from forest industries from previous decades. The information derived from this project is essential to correcting unhealthy forest conditions, sizing economic opportunities to match available and accessible wood supply and tracking the impacts of climate and other ecological changes on New Mexico’s forests.