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BLM announces $7.6M for lower Pecos restoration

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SANTA FE – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced it will invest $7.6 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to increase fire resiliency and protect native vegetation on public lands in New Mexico.

This funding will be focused in one landscape area called the Lower Pecos Restoration Landscape, which runs through Artesia and Carlsbad in Southeast New Mexico. This funding is part of the BLM’s announcement to invest $161 million in ecosystem restoration and resilience on the nation’s public lands.

The work will focus on 21 “Restoration Landscapes” across 11 western states, restoring wildlife habitat and clean water on public lands in an effort to strengthen communities and local economies.

“Investments in the Lower Pecos Restoration Landscape Area will help the BLM build on nearly 20 years of experience restoring the Pecos River Watershed,” said Melanie Barnes, BLM New Mexico state director. “We are pleased that the Inflation Reduction Act assists local communities with successful projects that improve our landscapes in the Land of Enchantment.”

Landscape-scale treatments protect fragile soils, increase native grasses, reverse fragmentation, improve water filtration and groundwater recharge, reduce sediment loads in the Pecos and its tributaries, and restore habitat for a multitude of species – pronghorn, lesser prairie-chicken, bluntnose shiner, gambusia, aplomado falcon, Pecos sunflower, Noel’s amphipod, wild buckwheat, Texas hornshell mussel, Kuenzler’s hedgehog cactus and dunes sagebrush lizard.

The BLM says restoring the landscape will enhance recreation on public lands and help fulfill its mission of multiple use and sustained yield.

According to a release from the BLM, efforts in these Restoration Landscapes will improve the health of public lands that are being significantly degraded by invasive species, unprecedented wildfire events, unregulated use, and climate change. With these investments, landscapes will be better able to provide clean water, habitat for fish and wildlife, and opportunities for recreation, and will be more resilient to wildfire and drought.

Resilient public lands are critical to the BLM’s ability to manage for multiple use and sustained yield. Once-in-a-generation funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will be directed to landscapes where concentrated, strategic investment through partnership can make the most difference for communities and public resources under the BLM’s management.

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