DRAFT March 11, 2002



Santa Fe Community College
Jemez Rooms 1 and 2
6401 Richards Avenue
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

February 8, 2002
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1. Meeting Called to Order

The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2. Roll Call

Director Bell calls roll:

Commissioner Thomas Growney - Present

Commissioner Tamara Hurt - Present

Commissioner George Ortega - Present

Commissioner Steve Padilla - Present

Chairwoman Karen Stevens - Present

Commissioner James Weaver - Present

Commissioner Ray Westall - Present

Chairwoman Stevens requested introduction from the Commission members and of the audience.

Introduction is made

Chairwoman Stevens informed the public that there would be a meeting procedure change. Procedure as follows: Department presentation; public comment; motion; commission discussion and then vote.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. Approval of Minutes (January 3, 2002)

MOTION: Commissioner Ortega moves to approve the January 3, 2002 Commission Meeting minutes: Second by Commissioner Padilla.

DISCUSSION: Commissioner Padilla felt the January minutes were a little too vague and requested more detail.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4. Approval of Agenda

Director Bell requested of the Commission to allot time at this meeting for an award presentation. Also requested was to delete Agenda Item No. 9. Director Bell stated this agenda will have further changes incorporated and will be presented at the next scheduled commission meeting. Agenda Item No. 6 was not contemplated for discussion, but only to remind the Department of this unfinished business.

MOTION: Commissioner Hurt moves to approve the Agenda with amendments as presented by Director Bell; Second by Commissioner Growney.


VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

Special Recognition Award Presentation: Director Bell presented Jeff Pederson the Director’s Award of Excellence for contributions to the successful construction and occupancy of the new Headquarters facility. Pederson was selected to be the primary Department representative in design and construction of the new building. Over the last three years Pederson has made outstanding contributions in helping identify and accommodate a wide variety of needs in the design, construction and personnel occupancy of the building. Pederson worked with the Commission, Department Directorate and staff, along with architects to develop building design and assure that all needs were accommodated.


AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. Amendments to 2002-2003 Cougar Rules (19 NMAC 31.8.23 and 19 NMAC 30.6.8)

Presented by Luis Rios – The Department has previously presented information regarding expansion of the Preventative Cougar Control Program and changes to the 2002-2003 Cougar Section of the Big Game Rule. Previously presented material has been amended to include the Commission’s recommendations to extend cougar season to year round and bag limit to 2 cougars in Game Management Units (GMU’s) 29, 30 and 34. Regulatory changes consistent with the Commission’s recommendations were presented for consideration. The Department is also requesting the Commission expand the preventative take to all of Unit 30 and to increase the preventative take from 14 to 20 cougar. The Department is recommending that the amendments be approved.


R. L. Posey – Appreciated work Department has done in attempting to resolve this problem.

Sam Hitt – Requested Commission take a good look at long-term consequence. Concerned on direction Department is taking on this issue.

Richard West – Carlsbad Sportsman Club – In favor of Department’s recommendation. Feels cougar regulations presented will benefit decline of deer population.

Catherine Molland – Santa Fe Business Owner – Not in agreement with Department’s recommendation. Hunting quotas on cougar should be decreased, not increased. If unable to decrease, consider not increasing.

John Boretsky, Executive Director, NM Council of Outfitters and Guides – In favor of Department’s recommendations.

Ed Machin – In favor of Department’s recommendations.

Debbie Hughes, Hughes Brothers Ranch – In favor of Department’s recommendation. Supports preventative program, it does need expanding. Everyone is referring to the lion study the Department contracted for but all need to know there were a lot of other studies done by others. Feels there was adequate information for Commission to make decisions.

Marvin Samford, citizen – In favor of Department’s recommendation.

Bill Ferranti, Double H Ranch – In favor of Department’s recommendation.

John Dimas – Not in favor of Department’s recommendation.

Lisa Jennings, Executive Director, Animal Protection of New Mexico – Opposed to Department’s recommendations on changes for 2002-2003 quotas.

MOTION: Commissioner Ortega moves to adopt Rule and; Second by Commissioner Westall.

DISCUSSION: Commissioner Westall asked if this was the recommendation in draft that the Commission adopted in January. Director Bell stated that was. Commissioner Hurt asked if there were two sanctuaries in the area where there is no hunting for the cougars. Director Bell stated there are two national monuments within Unit 30, the Guadalupe National Monument and the Carlsbad National Monument. Neither of these areas, by federal law, can be hunted and serve as cougar refuges within that area.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. 5 in favor; 1 opposed. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. Strategy for Improving Statewide Deer Population.

This item was informational only.

DISCUSSION: Commissioner Padilla asked Director Bell if information on this item will be available by next month. Director Bell stated the Department’s original intent was to have the information to the Commission by the meeting following this one. The Department anticipates having some preliminary data and information coming forward at that time. Commissioner Padilla asked when the Big Game Regulation was reviewed. Director Bell stated the Big Game Regulation review will be started between now and September. Various parts will come before the Commission throughout the summer of this year. Commissioner Padilla asked if preliminary data on mule deer could be expected by the next meeting. Director Bell stated that was the Department’s intention.



AGENDA ITEM NO. 7. Amendments to 2002-2003 Elk Rules (19 NMAC 31.8.24) Presented by Luis Rios – Elk hunting in GMU 14 were previously managed under a no-quota strategy. A public permit quota was recently adopted for the 2002-2003 hunting season. This rule, if enacted, would allow private land elk hunting in GMU 14 for those landowners interested, by establishing the number of landowner authorizations available to landowners in the unit. However, based on recently completed surveys of Unit 14, the department does not intend to issue any public licenses for elk. Therefore the Department is recommending no landowner authorizations in GMU 14. Various strategies will be implemented to notify the public of the decision to not issue any elk licenses for the unit.

CLARIFICATION: Director Bell stated this Agenda was presented for information only. Based on the surveys there is not adequate population where the Department is comfortable wanting to hunt. It was originally thought more elk would be found and a landowner system would be implemented. It is not necessary in that area and there was not sufficient opportunity to notice the regulation to ask for a complete cancellation of that hunt. It is the Department’s position to draw no permits for Unit 14. The hunters that may apply for that will be given an opportunity to resubmit their application for an additional hunt since it will be listed in the proclamation.


MOTION: Commissioner Westall moves to accept it as the Department has presented, not to allow landowner permits for Unit 14; Second by Commissioner Hurt.


VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 8. Adoption of the Long Range Turkey Plan.

Presented by Bill Dunn – The Department presented the most up-to-date draft of the Turkey Plan for the Commission’s consideration. Amendments to previous draft versions have been completed following public review. The Department is requesting adoption of the Long Range Plan for the Management of Wild turkey in New Mexico. A brief presentation was given on population, habitat, reason for decline, recovery efforts, hunter opportunity, planning for the future. Goals are to assess habitat; better population estimates; transplants that pay off; optimal hunter opportunity; build partnerships with landowners, National Wild Turkey Federation and Land Management Agencies. By doing so this would meet recreational and conservation needs.


John Dimas – In support of Department’s recommendation, but cautions on disease factors stemming from transplants.

Randy Isler, representing Albuquerque Chapter of The National Wild Turkey Federation – Supports Department’s recommendation and looks forward to working with Department on future transplants.

R. L Posey – Requested Commission consider length of season and reducing spring hunt to 3 weeks.

MOTION: Commissioner Weaver moves to accept the Department’s recommendation; Second by Commissioner Growney.


VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 9. Amendments to the Importation Rule (19 NMAC 35.7)

Withdrawn from the agenda during agenda approval.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 10. Amendment to the Manner and Method Rule (19 NMAC 31.10)

Presented by Mike Sloane – Section 31.10.8 of the Manner and Method Rule prohibits the introduction of any substance into the waters of the State that may “may stupefy, injure, destroy, or drive away from such water any protected mollusk, crustacean, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, or mammal, or may be detrimental to the growth and reproduction of those animals or their natural foods.” This rule needs to be restated to match the Department’s statutory authority. Additionally, bullfrogs have been removed from the list of protected species by legislation (17-2-2.4 NMSA 1978) and therefore must be removed from portions of this rule ( B (1), (2), and (3) and L). The Department is recommending changing the rule to match the statutory authority given to the Department, and to allow Department personnel to use piscisides, herbicides and pesticides, in fish management efforts.


John Dimas – Not in agreement with Department’s recommendation on Section 31.10.8 of the Manner and Method Rule.

MOTION: Commissioner Padilla moves to approve the Department’s recommendation, Second by Commissioner Ortega.

DISCUSSION: Commissioner Padilla stated he thought the Department did away with the protection of bullfrogs a year ago. Sloan stated enforcement was stopped and upon looking through the regulations a few references were found and are now being cleaned up.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 11. Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Management Plan.

Presented by Yvette Paroz – For nearly 30 years, the Department has been performing management actions designed to protect and restore populations of Rio Grande cutthroat trout. In 1998 several organizations filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an attempt to place the species on the endangered species list. Currently the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is compiling a formal “Status Review” of the species. Having a formal management plan on record will demonstrate the continued commitment of the Department to protecting and restoring Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The Department is requesting approval of the “Long Range Plan for the Management of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout in New Mexico” and the short term scheduling document for the project, titled “Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Operational Plan: 2002-2005”. Also presented to the Commission was information on public involvement and issue development; population inventory and monitoring project; population management project; population expansion project; and public involvement and education.


Jan Crawford, Trout Unlimited, Northern NM Chapter – Commended the Department on plan. Is in agreement with Department’s recommendation. Appreciates effort Game and Fish has defined in educational portion of plan to increase level of appreciation. Concerned with the stocking of rainbow trout near Rio Grande Cutthroat habitat because of whirling disease.

John Dimas – Felt demise of Rio Grande Cutthroat was partially due to overgrazing by domestic stock.

Ed Machin – In favor of Department’s recommendation.

MOTION: Commissioner Weaver moves to accept the Department’s recommendation; Second by Commissioner Ortega.

DISCUSSION: Commissioner Padilla asked if all the waters containing cutthroat were subject to the restrictions. Ie.: Catch and release, etc. Paroz stated the majority is a 2 fish bag limit. There are a few that were recent restoration projects that are catch and release.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 12. Amendment to the Fisheries Rule (19 NMAC 31.4)

Presented by Mike Sloane – Parkview Hatchery was determined to be whirling disease positive over one year ago. During renovation activities, the Department has maintained its brood fish and a show pond. The Commission requested that the Department investigate the potential for allowing a kids’ fishing derby for the show pond fish to allow for youth to fish and take brood pond trout at Parkview Hatchery in a Department organized fishing event instead of destroying the fish upon completion of the renovation activities. The Department has determined that it is technically feasible but poses significant risks and expense. Successful and safe completion of a fishing derby will require the following: 1.) Changing Rule to allow limited fishing at State Fish Hatcheries when expressly authorized by the Director based on management needs. 2.) In order to prevent the possible spread of whirling disease, all fish caught at the derby must be cleaned and filleted on the hatchery grounds. On-site removal and proper disposal of the entrails and cartilage is the only means to prevent spreading the disease. Additionally, precautions will have to be taken to ensure the hatchery grounds are not contaminated beyond the level that may already exist. This will require a significant enforcement effort to ensure all participants adhere to this precaution. 3.) All show pond fish must be moved to raceways and the derby conducted around the raceways.


Ed Machin– In favor of having kids fishing derby if concerns can be overcome.

MOTION: Commissioner Hurt moves to hold the fishing derby; Second by Commissioner Padilla.

DISCUSSION: Commissioner Padilla felt as long as disease control was in place that the derby would be a good idea.

MOTION AMENDED: Commissioner Hurt moves to amend motion to include amending Rule 19 Chapter 3.1.4; Second by Commissioner Padilla.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 13. Legislation

Presented by Director Bell – Budget in HB-2 included just a little over 1 ½% increase for overall Department operations. That budget also included an additional request for 4 full time employees, (1 Bighorn sheep biologist, 1 Recovery biologist for Endangered Species work, 1 Building Custodian and 1 for Department Attorney). As budget worked through process, the General Fund appropriation in that budget continued to be cut, taking the General Fund Appropriation from $325,000 down to a total appropriation of about $125,000.

Chronic Wasting Disease Bill passed Senate Conservation and will move on to the House.

A request for $700,000 appropriation from the Game Protection Fund to complete statewide elk surveys was scheduled in Senate Conservation. Senate Conservation met and tabled SB-255, which is the survey bill. Senator Griego, sponsor for the Bill, was not there to present before the Senate Conservation. No further information was available at this time.

Acquisition of Eagle Nest Lake – There is a bill introduced by Senator Altamirano that appropriates money from the General Fund (15 million dollars) and from the Game Protection Fund (2 million) to complete the acquisition and purchase. That Bill is currently in Senate Finance and will be tabled and considered with all the rest of the bills in Senate Finance. In addition, the Governor has in his package as a portion of his capitol outlay request, 15 million of Severance Tax Bond and 2 million of Game Protection Fund for the acquisition. Word from Senator Lyons is they are agreeing to 10 million in General Fund Money, 5 million in Severance Tax Bond money and 2 million in Game Protection.

Bill sponsored by Representative George Hanosh initially for all members of the armed services to receive free lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. Representative Hanosh amended that bill to only include retired members of the armed services to receive lifetime hunting and fishing, ultimately he tabled that bill in House Taxation and Revenue Committee and has assure the Department he is not going to continue to deal with that for this session.

Bill introduced by Representative Ron Burpo was to require motor vehicle to develop a Share with Wildlife license plate. Included the design and development of artwork would be conducted by the Department. That has completed its hearings in the House on the Senate side, completed its first hearing in the Senate. At last word there was not any agreement from the Governor that he would sign that initiative if it were to come forward.

A Bill by Representative Manuel Herrera will be discussed further in Executive Session. A bill to appropriate $600,000 in General Fund Revenues for acquisition for water rights in the Mimbres Valley. Primarily geared at the offer from the Bounds to sell their water right in Bear Canyon Lake to the Department and assure the Department has adequate storage in that lake for the future. That bill has passed all of the House Committees.


R.L. Posey – Will be glad to help the Department on some of these issues.

DISCUSSION: Commissioner Padilla stated that on the free hunting and fishing licenses bill, credit should be given where due. The bill died largely through the efforts of two individuals and one organization (Col. Jack McCormick, John Boretsky, and the NM Wildlife Federation). The license plate bill was not a Commission initiative, it came from Ron Burpo. Should this bill be vetoed Commissioner Padilla felt a license plate could be created and sold by the Department that would mount on the front of the vehicle. The monies would be earmarked for Share with Wildlife Programs. Commissioner Padilla requested a canvassing of the people in the field, the potential buyers, Sierra Clubs, etc. to get a feel for market potential to see if it is a worthwhile project and would generate revenue.

House Joint Memorial 13 introduced by The Wildfriends on Black Tailed prairie dog, commends and supports the efforts of the Black tailed prairie dog working group that the Department and many others are members of. It directs an Interim Committee of the Legislature to further study that issue and perhaps propose additional funding that could come forward as incentives for private landowners to secure Black tailed prairie dog habitat on their properties. That has passed the House and is currently in the Senate.

Federal Legislation – The Sandia Pueblo filed suit against the forest service to correct what they view as a surveying error concerning their reservation. They claim title of a portion (a little less than 10,000 acres) of the Sandia Mountains outside of Albuquerque. There has been negotiation ongoing for at least 3 years to settle the suit, which essentially found that there was very likely a survey error that would give the Pueblo title to about 10,000 acres up to the crest of the mountain. The proposed settlement has language that concerns the Department. The Department has met with the Pueblo on several occasions to try and reach some sort of compromise. Senator Bingaman is drafting a bill to introduce into Congress this session. The section of concern is: The Pueblo shall have no regulatory jurisdiction over the Area, except (A) it shall have exclusive authority to regulate traditional and cultural uses by the Pueblo’s own members and to administer access to the Area by other federally recognized Indian tribes for traditional and cultural uses. To the extent such regulation is consistent with this Act, and (B) it shall have exclusive authority to regulate sport or recreational hunting and trapping in the Area by its members, Provided, that such authority shall not vest until the Pueblo enacts and begins to maintain and enforce regulations substantially similar to those of the State of New Mexico and, as applicable, the Forest Service concerning seasons, game management, types of weapons, proximity of hunting and trapping to trails and residences, and comparable safety restrictions. Prior to adopting such regulations, the Pueblo shall provide the Forest Service and the New Mexico Game and Fish Department with notice and an opportunity to comment on the regulation. After discussing this issue with Paul Lenzini, Counsel for the International Association for Fish and Wildlife Agencies it was his first impression that we were probable stuck, 1) with either giving up authority or the whole settlement goes out the window or 2) the land becomes fully reservation land and Department authority would be a mute point at that time. The Department has drafted a letter to Bingaman’s staff that provides first an approach of splitting the authority, giving the Pueblo authority for traditional and cultural uses and the Department maintain the authority over sport and recreational hunting. The second approach would be to essentially relinquish all authority to the Pueblo but make certain that the Forest Service does not gain management authority.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 14. Commission/Department Discussion

Financial Reports – Presented by Patrick Block – A review was presented to the Commission on the Game Protection Fund Budget and Cash Balance Analysis. The presentation consisted of revenue and expense budget comparison; cash balance analysis and cash balance projection through fiscal year 2006.

Commission update – Bears: Director Bell stated the bears that the Department artificially denned a month ago are all doing well. There is one mortality signal and it is unsure of what that is. Department personnel will attempt to go into that den site and obtain a visual. It is a den where three bears were placed, it is a possibility that the bear is at the bottom or maybe got smothered. It looks like a success, all the bears are staying in the dens.

Update on elk transfer to Kentucky: Luis Rios stated the transfer of elk to Kentucky is going well. There are a number of people from Kentucky and the state setting up corrals and talking to Darrel Weybright who is heading the project. It is expected that trapping will begin in a couple of weeks. Director Bell stated the Department is taking those elk out of areas where there are high depredation problems. Helicopter method will be used for capture using a net gun so select animals can be obtained. The other area that will be drawn from is Unit 52. The hope there is to recapture some of the elk that were used during the San Antonio Mountain Elk Study and recover the GPS collars that are on those animals that are no longer needing to be used. The elk are being traded for Stripped Bass. Sloan stated 500 thousand in 2003 and 500 thousand in 2005 are requested and will be stocked into Elephant Butte Lake.

Schedule future commission meetings

March 29 - Socorro

May 3 and 4 - Chama (commission meeting and workshop)

June 21 - Ruidoso

*(Please refer to: Future Meeting Schedule Revisited)

AGENDA ITEM NO. 15. General Public Comments: (Comments limited to 3 minutes.)

Ed Machin – Commended Chairwoman Stevens on efficiency of how meeting was conducted.

R. L. Posey – Commended Director Bell on how meeting was presented. Felt those living in city not impacted by wildlife as much as those residing in the country. When public quote’s studies he would like to know where studies/research come from.

Marvin Samford – Felt if more time was given more people could be made aware of problem with elk (Unit 34) and problem approached instead of fighting each other on elk issues.

Chairwoman Stevens commented she appreciated the public consistently being here and offering comments. Reiterated to the Department that she appreciated not only those whom presented today, but those behind the scenes.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 16. Closed Executive Session

Chairwoman Stevens entertained a motion to enter into Closed Executive Session pursuant to NMSA 10-15-1 (H-2, H-7 and H-8) of the Open Meeting Act in order to discuss limited purposes of personnel matters, litigation and land acquisition;

MOTION: Commissioner Ortega moves to enter into Closed Executive Session, Second by Commissioner Growney.


Commissioner Growney - Yes

Commissioner Hurt - Yes

Commissioner Ortega - Yes

Commissioner Padilla - Yes

Commissioner Weaver - Yes

Commissioner Westall - Yes

All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

Chairwoman Stevens calls the Open Meeting back to order and explains that the matters discussed in the Closed Executive Session were limited to the items on the agenda and no action was taken in the Closed Executive Session.

Chairwoman Stevens asked if there were any matters discussed in the Closed Executive Session that need further discussion or action.

Director Bell asked if the Commission would allow Mr. and Mrs. Bounds to make a brief presentation and then if the Commission had any motions relative to the discussion about the acquisition of water rights for Bear Canyon that they could be brought forward at this time.

Jupe Bounds – Mr. Bounds stated he was here to discuss the storage rights at Bear Canyon Reservoir. Bear Canyon Dam was constructed in 1937 for the purpose of storing water for the San Lorenzo Community Irrigation Project. In 1943 the New Mexico Department of Game purchased a recreation right in the Reservoir. The San Lorenzo Community Ditch is permitted water storage right between elevation 6,084.2 and 6,098.2 or 14 feet of water. The Department of Game and Fish is preparing to remove silt from approximately 9 surface acres in the upper reach of Bear Canyon Reservoir. That will increase the capacity by the 9 surface acres. The acquisition of the 140 acre feet of storage rights that he is offering for sale to the Department will keep water in that area.

MOTION: Commissioner Hurt moves to not pursue water rights that the Bounds are offering for sale; Second by Commissioner Weaver.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

Chairwoman Stevens stated in some of the discussion, as stated in the past, water rights are a high priority of this Commission, as Commissions in the past. It was felt at this time money would be better utilized in other areas where the Department does not already have a minimum pool. That does not mean this will not be revisited in the future, it is just at this particular point in time the Commission does not feel it is in the Commissions best interest to spend money in that area. Director Bell extends his appreciation to the Bounds. Director Bell stated he know they were acting to previous Commission’s instructions that the Department pursue wherever possible the acquisition of water rights. Director Bell knew the Bounds had put a tremendous amount of time on this activity. Also appreciated was the Commission discussion that since there is already some water available at Bear Canyon that perhaps the Department could better utilize the resources to find those areas where the Department does not have that existing water.

Mr. Bounds asked the Commission if he was to understand at this time they were not interested in the purchase of this water storage. Chairwoman Stevens stated that was correct.

Future meeting schedule revisited

The meeting scheduled for May 3 and 4 was changed to May 10 and 11. The future commission meeting dates are as follow:

March 29, 2002 – Socorro

May 10-11, 2002 – Chama (Commission Meeting May 10 and Commission Workshop May 11.)

June 21, 2002 - Ruidoso

Meeting adjourned 1:43 p.m.