40 Years of Conservation in New Mexico
We are celebrating the 40th anniversary of our New Mexico Chapter. Looking back over our conservation accomplishments of the past four decades, it is gratifying to see that our program has shown both a tremendous continuity of purpose and the ability to strategically innovate.
Our chapter has had a profound, tangible and lasting impact both in and beyond New Mexico through a number of successful, collaborative and innovative projects, such as:
- Acquiring the 220,000-acre Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge
- Purchasing the 320,000-acre Gray Ranch (now Diamond A Ranch)
- Protecting the 50,000-acre Rancho El Uno in Chihuahua, Mexico
- Managing tens of thousands of acres and five miles of river at the Gila Riparian Preserve
- Leading the Rio Grande Water Fund, a collaborative project that will impact 600,000 acres of forest in northern New Mexico
- Launching the Albuquerque Urban Conservation Program, where we are engaging and inspiring youth and planting trees to keep neighborhoods cool and reduce air pollution
We are grateful to you for making this conservation work possible. None of our successes would be possible without your generous ongoing support.
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We’re excited to be celebrating our 40th Anniversary with events scheduled throughout the year. Join us for a guided hike at one of our preserves, find opportunities to connect with nature in the city, and join us for movies and music all summer long in the Santa Fe Railyard.
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40 Years of Conservation in New Mexico
The Nature Conservancy began working in New Mexico in the 1970s and was formally chartered in 1979.
Sevilleta Ranch. The Nature Conservancy acquires the 220,000-acre Sevilleta Ranch and transfers the property to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, establishing the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. At the time, this was the largest single acquisition in TNC history.
TNC in New Mexico. The chapter is formally chartered and authorized by the Board of Governors to “engage in natural area preservation activities."
The Nature Conservancy identifies critical conservation targets and sets out to protect New Mexico's lands and waters.
Gila River. TNC initiates efforts to preserve riparian woodlands in the Gila River watershed, known as the Gila Riparian Project.
Conservation Targets. Mimbres River, Rattlesnake Springs, Kuenzler Cactus, Jornada Bat Caves and the Sabo Preserve are announced as critical conservation targets. TNC protects all five sites by the year 2000.
Natural Lands Protection. TNC lobbies successfully to pass the Natural Lands Protection Act in the New Mexico State Legislature.
Dripping Springs. TNC acquires the 2,200-acre Cox Ranch in the Organ Mountains. After it is transferred to the Bureau of Land Management, the ranch becomes the Dripping Springs Natural Area.
From managing the largest land acquisition in TNC history to establishing important preserves, The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico asserts its leadership in transformative conservation projects.
Gray Ranch. TNC acquires the 320,000-acre Gray Ranch which, at the time, was the largest conservation project in the history of all TNC’s global chapters.
Jornada Bat Caves. TNC acquires mineral rights to the Jornada Bat Caves, thereby protecting the bat community from mining.
Rio Nutria Preserve. TNC acquires the 1,280-acre Rio Nutria in the Zuni Mountains. The preserve provides essential habitat for the Zuni bluehead sucker.
The Nature Conservancy focuses on climate change and other pressing issues affecting our planet.
Santa Fe Canyon. PNM donates 200 acres in the Santa Fe River Watershed, which ultimately serves as the foundation of the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve.
Rancho El Uno. TNC and our partner in Mexico, Pronatura Noreste, acquire 46,000-acre Rancho El Uno in the Janos grassland, which is contiguous with the Gray Ranch. This was the largest private conservation acquisition in the history of Mexico.
Climate Change Initiative. TNC launches the Southwest Climate Change Initiative, a three-year program that established tools to help communities and landscapes adapt to climate change.
Janos Grasslands. The government of Mexico designates 1.3 million acres of the Janos grasslands as the Janos Biosphere Reserve, one of the largest grassland reserves on the planet.
TNC increases the pace and scope of work to protect the Land of Enchantment and improve the relationship between people and nature.
Santa Fe Canyon Preserve. An additional 320 acres of land are donated to the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve.
Rare Jemez Salamanders. TNC begins a partnership with Conservation Canines to locate endangered Jemez Mountain Salamanders.
Rio Grande Water Fund. The launch of the Rio Grande Water Fund offers a comprehensive plan for wildfire and water source protection to restore forests and secure fresh water for one million New Mexicans.
Urban Conservation. TNC establishes an Urban Conservation Program in Albuquerque and adds Climate and Energy to our strategic framework.
Gaining Momentum. Now supported by more than 70 public and private organizations, the Rio Grande Water Fund restored 33,000 acres of forest in 2018. The total number is now 108,000 acres treated with thinning, controlled burns and managed natural fires.