New culverts open pathway for Las Huertas Creek
Las Placitas Association to host leading environmentalists
Come and be inspired. On Saturday, August 16 from 9:00 a.m. to
12:00 p.m. at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, four visionary conservationists
will educate and inspire our community. Their stories and personal
accounts will help us rethink our land-use decisions and help us
truly understand the impact of development on our environment.
Dave Foreman, founder of 1) Earth First, the “notorious ‘direct
action’ environmental organization” and 2) The Wildlands
Project, will speak to the importance of protecting portions of
our Earth to let “nature rule.”
Rewilding Institute’s carnivore biologist, Dave Parsons,
will address and update us on the rewilding efforts of the critically
endangered Mexican wolf in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern
Learn about the Western burrowing owl (the bird world’s equivalent
of the seal pup) from David Wyllie and his pilot program “Owls
in Flight.” And finally, David van Hulsteyn and Lura Brookins
will advocate for the importance of native ecosystems and species
with the greatest conservation needs. They have a soft spot for
the prairie dog and have also been pivotal in promoting awareness
of wildlife corridors in the Galisteo Watershed Basin.
Bring the family and bring your questions. Suggested donations
of $5 are appreciated.
BLM rescinds blanket solar energy moratorium
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rescinded its blanket moratorium
on solar energy development on public lands in the West. On May
29, the BLM stopped reviewing applications for new solar power projects
in six western states, including New Mexico, for as much as two
years. Recently, the BLM announced that it will continue to consider
solar energy development applications on a case-by-case basis.
“At a time when energy prices are skyrocketing,” said
Rep. Tom Udall, “solar energy needs to be part of the solution.
The BLM needs to study the environmental impact of new solar developments,
but we should not have to wait for years to develop this proven
source of energy. Small businesspeople across the West cannot wait
two years for approval, and these small ventures are those least
likely to have a harmful environmental impact. Continued case-by-case
evaluation will allow BLM to protect our public lands without effectively
shutting down small solar companies. A blanket moratorium on development
goes too far, and I’m glad the BLM decided to rescind it.”
Last year, Udall offered an amendment to the House energy bill
that would require large utility companies to get fifteen percent
of their energy from renewable sources or conservation by 2020.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, this would create
hundreds of thousands of jobs in places like New Mexico, with access
to wind, sun, and other renewable resources.
Mountain wildflowers of the Southern Rockies and Central NM
Rosa woodsii Lindl
—CAROLYN DODSON AND WILLIAM W. DUNMIRE
Wild rose displays the shrubby growth, prickles, and sharply-toothed
ovate leaflets of our familiar cultivated roses. Only the flowers
differ, being limited to five round, pink petals that surround numerous
yellow stamens. Although the flowers produce no nectar, abundant
pollen attracts insect pollinators. The fruit is a bright red or
orange fleshy rose hip. Blooming from May to July, dense thickets
of wild rose are found in dry, open areas from the foothills to
near timberline, but are more common at the lower and middle elevations.
Roses are the most popular and widely cultivated flowers in the
world. Wild roses have five petals and many stamens, but most cultivated
roses are “double,” that is, they have more than five
petals. The additional petals are modified stamens, so that extremely
double flowers have few or no functional stamens and thus cannot
reproduce by seed. Today, more than five thousand cultivars of double
roses, developed from centuries of selection and hybridization,
are available in all colors but blue.
Rose hips are the richest known natural source of vitamin C, and
extracts are sold in health food stores almost everywhere. When
World War II prevented Great Britain from importing citrus fruit,
rose hips were gathered by schoolchildren from wild rose thickets
and processed into syrup to prevent scurvy. Tasty but sour, rose
hips are dried for tea or cooked into jam and jelly.
ATTAR OF ROSES
Since ancient times, oil from the damask rose, native to Asia Minor,
has been distilled to yield attar of roses, the fragrant essential
rose oil used in cosmetics. Today, this rose is extensively cultivated
for its oil. We enjoy these fragrant oils for their pleasant scents,
but, more important, they play a significant role in attracting
Excerpted from Mountain Wildflowers of the Southern Rockies,
by Carolyn Dodson and William W. Dunmire.
Published by University of New Mexico Press.
New Mexico-based tribal group receives federal grant for water
Senator Pete Domenici, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee,
announced that the National Tribal Environmental Council (NTEC)
in Albuquerque has been awarded a $794,400 federal grant to assist
tribes in improving their water systems.
The technical assistance training grant has been awarded by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development agency. The funding
will allow NTEC to provide technical assistance and training to
operators and utility managers of tribal and drinking water systems
in nine states and 163 tribal communities, as well as provide certification
to water system operators.
“This funding will be an important resource for aiding tribes
as they work to provide safe and reliable water services to their
people. The grant is an affirmation by the USDA of the services
offered by NTEC to help tribes,” said Domenici, who is a member
of the Senate Appropriations Committee that sets funding for the
USDA and its programs.
Founded in 1991, NTEC currently serves more than 184 member tribes,
including fourteen tribes in New Mexico (the Jicarilla Apache Nation,
the pueblos of Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Nambe, Pojoaque, San
Felipe, San Ildefonso, San Juan, Sandia, Santa Clara, Tesuque, and
Zuni). The organization provides assistance to help tribes protect
natural resources on tribal lands. For more information about NTEC,
visit their website at http://www.ntec.org/water.htm.
The grant award comes a day after the U.S. Senate approved a bill
that includes a Domenici co-sponsored plan to create an Indian emergency
fund with $1.0 billion to address water needs on Indian reservations.
The funding would be directed toward tribal water projects, water
supply projects associated with congressionally-approved Indian
water settlements, and safe drinking water and sanitation systems.
The Indian emergency fund, included in the Lantos-Hyde U.S. Global
Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization
Act of 2008 (S.2731), also includes $750 million to address law
enforcement and public safety on Indian reservations and $250 million
for Indian health care. S.2731 will now be reconciled with a companion
bill passed by the House.
Gardening with the Masters
Dr. Curtis Smith, Horticulture Specialist with New Mexico State
University will speak on “Xeriscaping Your Home Landscape”
on Monday, August 4 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Meadowlark Senior
Center, 4330 Meadowlark Lane, SE in Rio Rancho.
Dr. Smith is the author of the “Yard & Garden”
column for the Albuquerque Journal, and the “Southwest Garden”
series on KNME.
There is no charge for the class. To reserve a seat, call the Sandoval
County Cooperative Extension Service at (505) 867-2582.
New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative
action employer and educator.
Conservation groups merge
Forest Guardians and Sinapu, two regional conservation groups,
have joined forces to create a stronger organization to protect
and restore the wild places, wildlife, and wild rivers in the American
West. The new organization, WildEarth Guardians, creates a conservation
force that will pressure policy-makers and government agencies to
better protect and restore the lands, wildlife, and waters from
the Great Plains and Desert Southwest across the Rockies and through
the Intermountain West.
For nearly two decades, Sinapu, based in Boulder, Colorado, has
worked to defend and restore large carnivores across the Southern
Rockies, while Forest Guardians has worked to protect and restore
national forests, endangered species, and rivers in the greater
Southwest. Integrating and expanding upon the two groups’
specialties, WildEarth Guardians has four core programs: Wildlife,
Wild Rivers, Wild Places, and Climate & Energy.
“We’ve created a bigger, bolder, and better organization
to achieve our goals to restore wolves across the west, protect
iconic western rivers such as the Rio Grande, and keep wild places
like the Sagebrush Sea intact,” said John Horning, Executive
Director of WildEarth Guardians. “With the merger and other
staff additions, we’ve assembled a powerful team of incredibly
talented, passionate, and hard-working advocates for wild nature,”
Both organizations collaborated closely over the last two years
and agreed to merge a year ago. WildEarth Guardians will continue
to do much of the same work, but has also amplified its strategic
focus in several critical respects.
Among WildEarth Guardians priorities are: restoring wolves to the
American West, including protecting Mexican wolves in the Gila bioregion
and reintroducing wolves to the Southern Rockies; protecting the
Rio Grande from its headwaters in Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico;
restoring keystone species such as prairie dogs across the American
West; restoring wildfire as a natural and restorative process in
healthy western forest ecosystems; abolishing the USDA’s Wildlife
Services’ wildlife-killing program; and inspiring residents
of the West’s urban and rural communities to become a cohesive
and powerful voice for the protection of wild nature.
Two other new developments at WildEarth Guardians that parallel
the merger announcement and name change include the creation of
a new Climate & Energy program and the formal integration of
the Sagebrush Sea Campaign into WildEarth Guardians.
The Sagebrush Sea Campaign, which had been a sponsored project
of Forest Guardians until recently, focuses on protecting and restoring
the vast sagebrush-steppe landscape in the Interior West. To protect
native wildlife and ecosystems of the Sagebrush Sea, the Campaign
Director, Mark Salvo, will lead WildEarth Guardians’ efforts
to obtain Endangered Species Act protection for the greater sage-grouse,
Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, and Gunnison sage-grouse. These three
iconic grouse species have dwindled precipitously in the recent
past because of habitat destruction due to livestock grazing, energy
exploitation, and urban development.
The Climate & Energy program will fight fossil fuel extraction,
including coal, oil, and gas, while promoting renewable energy and
energy efficiency. “Unless we do more to bring about a shift
away from dirty energy and towards clean, renewable energy and efficiency,
the climate crisis is going to have a devastating effect on the
wild places, wildlife, and wild rivers of the American West,”
said Robert Ukeiley, the Climate & Energy Program Director for
WildEarth Guardians also has its own legal department. The organization
has hired four staff attorneys over the last year to provide the
legal muscle necessary to enforce environmental law and ensure that
government agencies are protecting wildlands, imperiled species,
biodiversity, and clean air and water. In the past, the organizations
have relied exclusively on outside law firms.
“The law is one of our most powerful tools to protect our
public lands and endangered species,” said Jay Tutchton, WildEarth
Guardians’ general counsel, who has successfully brought about
the protection of more than one hundred endangered species. “By
having experienced litigators on the Guardians’ team, we can
move quickly and make sure that endangered species have a fighting
WildEarth Guardians has eighteen staff members—fifteen full-time
and three part-time—and a budget of nearly $1.5 million in
2008. The group has offices in Denver, Boulder, Santa Fe, and Phoenix,
as well as more than ten thousand members and e-activists from all
across the country, the majority of whom live in the Four Corners