of carbon monoxide
—PAUL BEARCE, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, RIO RANCHO
Rio Rancho Fire/Rescue Department personnel recently responded
to and treated six patients in two separate incidents who were exposed
to carbon monoxide (CO). All patients were stable; however, three
were transported to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment.
In the first incident, a malfunction in the furnace at a residence
caused dangerous levels of CO to be present. The family was awakened
in the early morning when one of the children in the home complained
of not feeling well. On the second call, the smell of gas alerted
a family who began to feel sick.
CO is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that is a by-product
of incomplete combustion. CO poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms
and can progress to a victim having shortness of breath, chest pain,
fainting episodes, seizures, and even death. It is often called
“The Silent Killer” because the initial symptoms vary,
are vague, and are sometimes misdiagnosed. People who have an increased
risk of CO poisoning are the elderly, children, pregnant women,
and people with respiratory disease.
Small quantities of CO are present in the atmosphere and are higher
in an urban setting. Chronic exposure to high levels of CO increases
risk factors and can cause long term effects. During the winter
months, CO exposure increases as residents utilize their furnaces,
fireplaces, and wood stoves to heat their homes. Having heating
equipment inspected and cleaned by a professional significantly
reduces the possibility of CO exposure in the home.
If these appliances are not operating efficiently, they can release
CO into the air. To protect yourself and your family, it is recommended
that all homes utilize a CO detector. These units are similar to
smoke detectors and are available in most hardware and home improvement
Residents who have concerns related to CO and possible CO poisoning
should call 911. The City’s Fire/Rescue Department will check
homes for CO levels.
Federal Highway Administration applauds Tijeras
Canyon Wildlife Corridor
The Federal Highway Administration has awarded the New Mexico Department
of Game and Fish and the New Mexico Department of Transportation
with the Exemplary Ecosystem Initiative Award for a state-of-the-art
wildlife corridor project in Tijeras Canyon.
Governor Bill Richardson signed House Joint Memorial 3 in March
2003, creating the project to protect wildlife crossing I-40 and
NM 333. Representative Mimi Stewart sponsored the joint memorial
and $750,000 was allocated to protect wildlife moving through the
Electric fencing and several types of wildlife crossings were built
along the corridor to curb wildlife collisions with vehicles on
I-40 in the East Mountains. Bears, deer, and cougars were being
killed, depleting our state’s resources, causing serious damage
to vehicles and risking public safety.
A coalition of agencies and conservation groups made the project
possible. Student members of Wild Friends, a group sponsored by
the Center for Wildlife Law at the University of New Mexico Law
School, wrote the memorial.
“I introduce a bill for Wild Friends every year,” said
Representative Stewart. “We worked tirelessly to get this
life-saving legislation passed.”
“Wildlife-vehicle collisions probably have not been as high
a priority as they should have been,” said Gregory Heitmann,
an environmental and realty specialist for the Federal Highway Administration.
“Our goal is to preserve wildlife and natural corridors that
often are overlooked and bisected during road construction. This
project proves there are ways for agencies to work together to save
Nationwide, there are 1.5 million deer/vehicle collisions a year,
causing $1.1 billion in damage and twenty-nine thousand human injuries.
Before the creation of the corridor, wildlife collisions were becoming
a major problem through Tijeras Canyon. The wildlife corridor was
built with satellite-monitored electric fencing, Animal Detection
System warning lights, and wildlife escape ramps. Additional wildlife
corridors may be built in other areas of the state.
“We are monitoring the effectiveness of the system right
now,” said Mark Watson, a wildlife habitat specialist for
the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. “We know that
deer are using all three underpasses since the system went live
in September and bears have used two of the culverts.”
“I would say that this is the beginning,” said Heitmann,
from the Department of Transportation. “I hope this recognition
brings awareness to the safety need of the traveling public and
“It’s been extremely fulfilling to see this go from
safety identification to completion and now into the monitoring
aspect of the project,” said Jeff Fredine, an environmental
analyst for the New Mexico Department of Transportation. “This
has given us the initiative to do additional projects across the
Game and Fish still needs more feedback, specifically from motorists.
The wildlife corridor in Tijeras Canyon will help the state, and
hopefully other states, look at other critical wildlife crossings
where animals and people are at risk.
Along with Wild Friends, the Tijeras Canyon Safe Passage Coalition,
the New Mexico Land Conservancy, and the Carnuel Land Grant were
influential in the completion of the Tijeras Canyon wildlife corridor
West-wide Energy Corridor Plan proposed route
—LAS PLACITAS ASSOCIATION
Without public consultation, a major federal plan has been proposed
that will cripple the future of open space in Placitas and adversely
impact our community.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 calls for dedication of energy corridors
around the western United States. An Environmental Impact Statement
and Plan has recently been published for a West-wide Energy Corridor
spanning eleven western states. The Plan preauthorizes approximately
six thousand miles of federal lands for “future oil, gas,
and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution
facilities.” The average corridor width is thirty-five hundred
feet (2/3 mile). Whether or not you think the concept of dedicated
energy corridors is a good idea, the way this has been put into
action is deeply flawed. Consider the following:
The plan only dedicates corridors on federal land. There is no
consideration whether the private land between those segments of
federal land will be a wise or even feasible location for expanded
Pipelines and transmission lines require corridors, not segments
of corridors, so the plan fails in its basic mission of expediting
the location of energy infrastructure.
Although the federal government has issued a Plan that only shows
corridors on federal land, the fact is that the corridor will cross
private property as well: in our meetings with federal officials,
they have indicated that contracted consultants have identified
corridors on private lands. The usual way of acquiring such land
is by eminent domain. But there is no disclosure in the Plan that
massive eminent domain is in the wings. This is fundamentally misleading.
While government has the right to take private land with just compensation,
the government should openly disclose it, not bury it in government
offices to spring on landowners later after the Plan is adopted.
The corridors are thirty-five hundred feet wide and may contain
all kinds of energy transmission and distribution infrastructure.
There is NO consideration whether dedication of land to such industrial
uses is appropriate adjacent to residential properties. A plan influences
land-uses far into the future, yet this Plan states that it has
no environmental impact.
The Plan fails to consider or disclose the most basic impact of
a plan—its effect on existing and future land uses—and
the significance of these effects on private property and the greater
[In January, 2008, Las Placitas Association bulk-mailed
this information along with a petition to all households in Placitas.
For more information, to sign the petition, or to receive a petition
by mail, visit www.lasplacitas.org
or call 867-5477.]
Lewis Ranch purchase protects 5,280 Roosevelt County acres
The Lewis Ranch, 5,280 acres of mixed-grass and shinnery oak prairie
in Roosevelt County, has been purchased by the State Game Commission
using Governor Bill Richardson’s Land Conservation Appropriation.
Closing for the ranch, which sits on the state line bordering Texas,
occurred December 28, 2007. An agreement between the Commission
and former owner Tommy Lewis will allow him to graze cattle on the
ranch until May 29, 2008.
The ranch adjoins two Commission-owned properties dedicated to
providing habitat for lesser prairie-chickens—the Antelope
Flats and Bledsoe prairie-chicken areas. Cassin’s and grasshopper
sparrows, loggerhead shrikes, and northern bobwhite quail are other
species of grasslands birds that occur in the area. Antelope and
mule deer also use the ranch.
“This is the largest purchase to date using Governor Richardson’s
Land Conservation Appropriation money,” said Bruce Thompson,
Director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. “The
Commission and Department are extremely happy to be adding this
property to our wildlife habitat and conservation portfolio in eastern
“This property will be a valuable asset contributing to wildlife
and wildlife-associated recreation in the very near future,”
Milnesand is the prairie-chicken capital of New Mexico. The seventh
annual High Plains Prairie-Chicken Festival is scheduled for April
11-13 in and around Milnesand. This is a birding event that attracts
birders from across the country to New Mexico’s east side.
For registration information, visit the Department of Game and
Fish website at www.wildlife.state.nm.us.