SANTA FE – The New Mexico Game Commission this week authorized the Department of Game and Fish to proceed with plans to restore native Rio Grande cutthroat trout to 126 miles of streams in the Rio Costilla watershed in northern New Mexico, and to take necessary measures to further protect the state’s deer and elk herds against chronic wasting disease.
At its Aug. 22 meeting in Santa Fe, the Commission directed the Department to use a variety of methods — including chemical treatment as a last resort — to remove non-native fish from streams in the watershed, then restock the waters with pure strains of Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The objective of the 3- to 10-year plan is to increase numbers of native fish, increase angling opportunities and reduce the likelihood of New Mexico’s state fish becoming listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. In other action, the Commission: · Authorized the Department director to designate specific areas for restrictions on the removal of certain game animal parts from areas infected with chronic wasting disease. The proposed rule would provide a more realistic, scientific approach to preventing the spread of CWD among the state’s wild deer and elk. · Clarified qualifications necessary for individuals to be eligible to acquire mobility impaired deer, elk or antelope licenses. · Approved the Department’s proposed fiscal-year 2007 operating budget and capital project budget requests. The proposed $33.7 million operating budget is directed primarily at implementing many ongoing and new sportsmen and conservation programs approved by the 2005 Legislature and Governor Bill Richardson. The capital budget proposal of $9 million is targeted primarily for health and safety issues, including improvements to Department-owned dams. · Heard a report on the continuing efforts to change the elk landowner permit system and its objective to make the system more equitable, easier to understand, and with priorities placed on properties that have significant benefits to elk and other wildlife. The report included a summary of recent public meetings about the system changes, answers to frequently asked questions, and further explanations of why the new system is needed and how it will benefit landowners and wildlife. The Commission may adopt the new system at its Sept. 21 meeting in Las Cruces. · Approved a 60-acre private shooting preserve for upland game bird hunting near the village of Pecos. The next meeting of the New Mexico Game Commission will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, in Las Cruces. For meeting minutes, agendas and other information, visit the Department web site at or call (505) 476-8008. The New Mexico Game Commission is composed of seven members who represent the state’s diverse interests in wildlife associated recreation and conservation. Members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate. Current members are Guy Riordan, Chairman, Albuquerque; Tom Arvas, vice-chairman, Albuquerque; Alfredo Montoya, Alcalde; David Henderson, Santa Fe; M.H. “Dutch” Salmon, Silver City; Peter Pino, Zia Pueblo; and Leo Sims, Hobbs. For more information, visit the Department of Game and Fish web site at

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