Pipeline studies nearing completion, public meeting
to be scheduled
Two pipeline projects affecting Placitas remain pending and may
be the focus of discussions in the coming weeks.
An environmental assessment on expanding a Mid-American Pipeline
Company natural-gas liquids line still has not been completed, according
to Danita Burns, Bureau of Land Management public affairs officer.
The delay is in gathering final comments and signatures on an agreement
on how to deal with any cultural resources uncovered during construction
of additional pipeline segments, she said.
Those discussions involve the BLM, MAPCO, the Bureau of Indian
Affairs, and the State Historic Preservation Office.
MAPCO has proposed boosting capacity in its line by building a
dozen parallel segments at various locations between gas fields
in Wyoming and refineries in Hobbs. The local segment begins at
a pumping station near San Ysidro and extends within an existing
pipeline corridor to a valve station in the Placitas Open Space.
Giant Industries also is nearing an announcement on a public meeting
in Placitas on its plans to revive a dormant petroleum pipeline
running through Placitas near the village and the elementary school.
Giant proposes to reverse the original direction of the flow to
send crude oil from Hobbs to an underutilized Giant refinery at
Consulting engineers currently are testing parts of the line,
said Giant executive vice president Leland Gould. Giant officials
plan to meet with Placitas-based Citizens for Safe Pipelines in
the coming weeks and are waiting for a final report from the consulting
engineers, he said.
Giant then will schedule a public meeting in Placitas, probably
sometime in May, Gould added.
Conservationist Dave Foreman to speak at wildlife-trails
—REID BANDEEN, MEMBER, LAS PLACITAS ASSOCIATION
Well-known conservationist Dave Foreman will be a featured speaker
at the Wildlife Trails workshop to be hosted by Las Placitas Association
on Saturday, April 15. The event is cosponsored by the Las Huertas
Watershed Project and the Earth Care Committee of the Las Placitas
Presbyterian Church, and will be held from 9:00 am to noon at the
church. Admission is free.
Foreman, currently the chairman of the Rewilding Institute, is
nationally and internationally recognized for his pioneering work
in restoring regional and continental linkages for wildlife populations,
particularly large mammals, that have been disrupted by human populations.
On the local scale, Placitas enjoys a plentiful and diverse community
of wildlife, from birds and reptiles to coyotes, bears, and bobcats.
The Placitas area also occupies a valuable link in regional wildlife-migration
routes linking wildlife territories in the Sandia and Manzano Mountains,
to the south, with the Jemez, Ortiz, and Sangre de Cristo Mountains,
to the north. These areas in turn connect with wildlife populations
further north in the Rockies, and the “sky islands”
mountain ranges of southern New Mexico and Arizona, and beyond.
Foreman is the author of a recent book, Rewilding North America,
that develops these concepts in well-researched detail.
He will be joined by colleagues Dave Parsons and Kurt Menke. Dave
Parsons, a wildlife biologist and vice-chairman of the Rewilding
Institute, is widely known for his work in reintroducing Mexican
wolf populations to the American Southwest. He is currently involved
in research documenting recent discoveries of ivory-billed woodpecker
populations, previously thought to be extinct, in the south-central
Kurt Menke is cochairperson for the Tijeras Canyon Safe Passage
Coalition, an Albuquerque conservation group devoted to creating
viable wildlife-passage corridors across Interstate 40 in Tijeras
Canyon, which has been identified as one of the most critically
important, and endangered, areas in the nation for wildlife passage.
Menke will share from the coalition's recent work supporting a redesign
of I-40 between Carnuel and Tijeras to provide safer passage for
both wildlife and people in this area.
Denise Smith, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will discuss
government-grant programs available to assist private landowners
in Placitas with enhancing wildlife habitat on their lands.
The Wildlife Trails workshop promises a powerful morning that
will include a sobering look at the current state of local and regional
wildlife populations, as well as inspiration from those actively
engaged in ensuring their future.
For more information, please contact Reid Bandeen, Las Huertas
Watershed Coordinator, at 867-5477, and visit the following Web
• The Rewilding Institute: www.rewilding.org
• Tijeras Canyon Safe Passage Coalition: www.safepassagecoalition.org
• Las Placitas Association/Las Huertas Watershed Project:
• Las Placitas Presbyterian Church/Earth Care Committee:
• U.S. Fish and Wildlife/Partners for Fish & Wildlife
Gila workshop will help teachers bring ecology into
Teachers, naturalists and others interested in education and the
ecosystem of the Gila National Forest are invited to participate
in a natural history workshop April 28-30 at the Pueblo Park Campground
north of Glenwood.
The workshop, titled “Get Wild in the Gila,” will
feature presentations by Department of Game and Fish and U.S. Forest
Service experts about the Mexican wolf reintroduction program, jaguars
of northern Mexico, springtime birds and reptiles, fire ecology
and wilderness management. The programs are designed mostly to teach
educators how to integrate ecology into traditional classroom studies,
but members of the public are welcome to attend.
Registration deadline is April 30, with a $15 refundable signup
fee. Participants will camp in a meadow surrounded by old-growth
ponderosa pines, and will have opportunities to hike the famous
Catwalk National Recreation Trail, tour the Glenwood Fish Hatchery
and fish for trout in Glenwood Pond.
To register or for more information about the workshop, contact
Colleen Welch, (505) 476-8119, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Kevin
Holladay, (505) 476-8095, email@example.com.
Corrales Growers' Market opens April 30
The Corrales Growers' Market will open for the season on Sunday,
April 30, running from 9:00 a.m. to noon, with a plant-and-garden
show, live music, and Jim White's breakfast burritos. The market
offers visitors local produce, a market shop, agricultural products,
natural soaps, salsas, baked goods, and more.
Sunday markets will run through October 29.
The Corrales Growers’ Market will also be held on Wednesday
evenings, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., from May 31 through September 20.
The market is next to the Corrales Post Office, on Corrales Road.
For further information, call 897-0502.
Energy company stakes out wildlife refuge
—APRIL REESE, HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
Iridescent dragonflies, shimmering wetlands, and the many imperiled
species that call a southeastern New Mexico wildlife refuge home
may soon have a new neighbor: gas wells.
Yates Petroleum Co., based in Artesia, N.M., told U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service officials last month it plans to drill two wells
in Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge—one of them just a
quarter-mile from the visitor center. The company has yet to file
for the required permits, but its surveyor has staked out the locations
of wells it is hoping to drill under leases issued by the state,
which retained the mineral rights when the land became a federal
Those plans concern refuge managers and Wildlife Service biologists,
who wonder if the refuge’s rare species, which include two
diminutive snails listed under the Endangered Species Act and several
state-protected fish, can survive in springs that could be contaminated
by brine and other drilling by-products.
"They’re proposing to drill through the aquifer that
is feeding those springs," says Paul Tashjian, a hydrologist
with Wildlife Service’s water resources office in Albuquerque.
Yates must receive permits from New Mexico’s oil and gas
conservation division before it can drill, and from the Fish and
Wildlife Service to build roads and drill pads. Both agencies say
that if they give the project the go-ahead, they will attach stipulations
to protect the springs.
Yates has a long history with Bitter Lake. In 1982, the company
attracted national attention and a federal citation for trespassing
after it erected a drill rig within the refuge without federal permits.
Yates officials did not return calls for this story.
High Country News (www.hcn.org)
covers the West's communities and natural-resource issues from Paonia,
Classes will teach PV design, installation
Are you interested in learning more about solar electricity? Would
you like to learn about siting, sizing, and safely installing a
photovoltaic system? Two classes, sponsored by New Mexico Solar
Energy Association, will be held for women only on April 21-23,
and 29-30, and for men and women together on May 26-28 and June
3-4. Topics to be covered include photovoltaic components, designing
and sizing a system, siting, and the configuration of stand-alone
(off-grid) and grid-tie (utility-connected) systems. Safety and
energy efficiency will also be covered.
Starting with three days in the classroom, both classes will include
visiting instructors, tours of local PV systems and hands-on labs.
The remaining two days will be spent installing a PV system.
Students will have the opportunity to hear from local PV business
owners, installers and other PV experts. Depending upon the group's
interest, there may be evening slide shows and talks from members
of the New Mexico Solar Energy Association.
The instructor, Marlene Brown, president of the New Mexico Solar
Energy Association, has been working with PV systems for over fifteen
years and has installed hundreds of systems in the United States
and the developing world. She has been teaching PV classes for over
For updated information, check www.nmsea.org
or call Mary McArthur, 505-281-0471. A limited number of volunteer
opportunities are available for students in need.
To register, mail your name, address, phone, e-mail, preferred
workshop, and dietary or other special needs, along with a check
for $450, to New Mexico Solar Energy Association, 1009 Bradbury
SE, Suite 35, Albuquerque, NM 87106. To register with a credit card,
call the NMSEA office, at 505-246-0400 or 888-88NMSOL.