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Game and Fish seeks habitat stamp changes

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is proposing changes to the Habitat Stamp Program.

A $5 habitat stamp is required to hunt or fish on Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service lands in New Mexico. Stamp sales raise about $900,000 every year, according to Game and Fish.

Since 1991, the funds have paid for habitat improvements on nearly 900,000 acres. Game and Fish wants to extend the program until 2031.

Proposed changes would reduce the number of program regions from five to three, with the state divided into northern, central and southern regions, said Daniel Lusk, Habitat Stamp Program manager.

Currently, half the program’s annual budget is divided equally across the five regions as base funding. The other half is allocated based on the number of public land acres in each region.

“We would take those regional allocations and make them competitive funds,” Lusk said, “making a bigger pot of money available to everyone within a region. Each region would still receive the same amount of base funding regardless of acres.”

Lusk said the changes would allow federal agencies to propose more expensive projects to the regional citizen advisory committees.

Game and Fish will host a webinar to discuss the proposal at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28. Register for the webinar at wildlife.state.nm.us.

Public comments may be emailed to dgf-habitat-stamp-rule@state.nm.us or mailed to New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Attn: Habitat Stamp Rule Development, P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 87504.

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