Draft: 4-18-02


New Mexico Tech
Macey Center
801 Leroy
Socorro, New Mexico 87801

March 29, 2002
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Chairwoman Stevens requested a moment of silence be observed in honor of the Roswell Fire Chief who passed away. Chairwoman Stevens stated he was not only active in his community as fire chief and citizen, but was also a big supporter of the Game and Fish Department and was very active in the Safari Club.

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 - Absent

Commissioner George Ortega - Present

Commissioner Steve Padilla - Present

Commissioner James Weaver - Present

Commissioner Ray Westall - Present

Director Bell informs Chairwoman Stevens that there is a quorum

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. Introduction of Guests

Chairwoman Stevens requests introduction from the Audience.

Introduction is made.

Presentation: Director Bell recognized Scott Brown with a 25-year pin for dedicated service to the Department of Game and Fish and wildlife resources.

Acknowledgment: Director Bell welcomed to the commission meeting Thurman Reitz, Assistant State Veterinarian and Epidemiologist; Tolani Francisco, Veterinarian, USDA, APHIS; and Milo Muller, Veterinarian, USDA, APHIS. Director Bell stated the veterinarian’s were here to assist the Department through the process of developing Chronic Wasting Disease Regulations. Director Bell stated they were prepared to answer questions and would also be willing, after public comment, to make a brief presentation and also to answer any questions of the Commission.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4. Approval of Minutes (February 8, 2002)

MOTION: Commissioner Ortega moves to approve the February 8, 2002 Commission Meeting minutes; Second by Commissioner Westall.

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

Introduction: Director Larry Bell introduced Andrew Vallejos, appointed by the Attorney General’s Office as legal representative to the Commission.

Director Bell requested of the Commission to table a portion of Agenda Item No. 7 regarding Deer Management Update. Presenter Barry Hale was unable to be present for this portion of Agenda. The presentation will be rescheduled for presentation at the Chama meeting.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. Approval of Agenda

MOTION: Commissioner Growney moves to approve the agenda as presented.

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

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. Consent Agenda – Revocations/Budget Report

MOTION: Commissioner Ortega moves to approve the Consent Agenda; Second by Commissioner Westall.

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


AGENDA ITEM NO. 7. Deer Management Update


The Santa Fe Trail Mule Deer Adaptive Management Project (STAMP)

Presented by Joanna Lackey – Lackey stated a cooperative research project was initiated on predominately private lands in GMU 55 and portions of Unit 56 with the objective being to learn more about the causes of the decline of mule deer populations in northeastern New Mexico. A presentation was given outlining the goals and objectives of the project, explanation of the methods of the study, and management implications described. The project specifically addressed two strategies in the Department’s long range mule deer management plan: 1) Implement and evaluate alternative deer management practices such as habitat manipulation, elk population reduction, predator population reduction, or unique hunt strategies in selected areas. 2) Work with land management agencies and private landowners in areas where deer habitat manipulation would be beneficial. The Department is supportive of this project and believes it will contribute significant information toward an understanding of various factors affecting mule deer survival, recruitment and habitat management issues.


Dale Jones, Wildlife Society – Commended Department on its efforts.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Chairwoman Stevens commended Lackey on the presentation. Chairwoman Stevens stated it was felt they were heading in the right direction. The preliminary evidence of the deer herd nutrition and fawn survival would raise the flag to a greater extent that something needs to be done. Lackey stated she agreed and did not wish people to be too discouraged by the preliminary evidence because very important things would be learned, important techniques for helping deer out and hopes to see very encouraging pregnancy rates. Commissioner Padilla asked when the deer were captured if they were released back where they were caught. Lackey stated they were handled very briefly and released. The same thing would be done with the fawns.


AGENDA ITEM NO. 8. State Game Commission Rules on the Importation of Live Non-domestic Animals, Birds and Fish (19.35.7 NMAC) will be open for Amendment

Presented by Dan Brooks – Brooks stated the amendment to 1717.1.14 NMSA 1978 is a new section in the Statute and would give the Commission authority to control, irradiate and prevent the spread of contagious diseases. This comes about because of concern of Chronic Wasting Disease. Brooks continued with a power point presentation showing the recommended language for rule changes. Brooks stated the Department is recommending adding language to this rule that would clarify and strengthen disease testing requirements. The recommendation is consistent with the Western Wildlife Health Committee Report issued January 5, 2002. Brooks stated a recent outbreak in Colorado in the fall of 2001 is of concern and prompted the Department to review the rules on importation and recommend the requested changes. Since that time other states have found CWD. As recently as March 2002, South Dakota and Wisconsin have confirmed CWD in their ungulates. The Department is also recommending the Commission adopt a 60 month requirement of whole herd CWD testing prior to importation. Only animals that originate from a facility that is certified as CWD free for a minimum of five years may be imported. Certified CWD free would require that all animals have died at a facility have been submitted for diagnosis and were found free of CWD. Also, all animals imported to this facility for the previous five years must have come from a CWD free facility.

For Fish Disease: - Presentation consisted of approved suppliers of fish; receipt of application; exceptions and public and official input. The Department is recommending adding language to this rule that would clarify and strengthen disease-testing requirements. Also, after use of the rule, it has been determined that changes and additions to the portion of the rule concerning the importation of fish will result in better management of the importation process in a clearer regulation. Brooks stated the above changes would add clarity to rules; strengthen CWD rules; hold Department to similar standard of importers and be consistent with 17.1.14(15) NMSA 1978. Chairwoman Stevens stated public comment would be taken, followed by veterinarians and Commission discussion.


Marvin Cromwell – Cromwell requested to have the veterinarians speak prior to the public.

Commission granted request.

Professional Opinions and Concerns – State Veterinarian’s

Thurman Reitz, Assistant State Veterinarian, NM Livestock Board – Felt Department is doing a very good job in a very difficult situation. CWD is a disease, which it is unknown how it spreads or how long it lingers in a place. It is known that there has been a huge movement of these animals by people whose intentions were less than honorable as they moved animals out of places and spread them to the well meaning people who bought them who at this time may not know they are in trouble. The job they are trying to do by looking and determining where these animals come from and going to completely monitored herds is the only safe way to do this and it is not entirely without risk. Reitz stated he has been attempting to obtain the 60-month monitoring for 2-3 years. Reitz stated this disease is even more easily spread among white-tales then it is among mule deer and elk.

Tolani Francisco, Veterinary Officer, US Animal Plant Inspection Service – Stated her employer, Dr. Michael Greenley, Area Veterinarian in charge for the USDA in New Mexico requested she share, that as of this morning, there was a news release out that CWD had been found in a new herd of elk in Alberta Canada. It is known as early as 1991 this herd was infected. CWD is more widespread than initially believed. Because of this, and also for the safety of New Mexico, its people and animals, a very strict regulation needed to be maintained.

Milo Muller, USDA Epidemiologist for the State of New Mexico – Elk and deer can die with no signs of brain disease, which makes it more difficult for the veterinarians in the field to detect. Muller stressed the seriousness of CWD and the effect it could have upon the state. It is currently of epidemic proportions and issue for spreading is of great concern. Muller’s biggest concern is the importation of elk and deer into the state of New Mexico because of the lack of information of the disease and its transmission.

Acknowledgment: Chairwoman Stevens acknowledged Representative Don Tripp as attending the commission meeting.

Representative Tripp welcomed all to Socorro and thanked the Commission for bringing the meeting to their area.


Marvin Cromwell, Pierson Ranch – In favor and support of importation regulation changing from 36 months to 60 months. However, does not feel it is reasonable to decline importation from a herd that is 60 months monitored for all deaths 16 months of age and older and has had no new animals into it for 5 years. To quarantine by state boarders is flawed.

Brad Quinlan, Class “A” Park owner – Feels recommended rule change is too strict.

John Dimas – In favor of recommended rule change.

John Boretsky, Executive Director of the NM Council of Outfitters and Guides – Feels there is a lot more risk with dead animals than there is with live animals. Would strongly implore that the Commission look at requiring elk imported into the state, elk that have already been harvested be boned out. If trophy heads are to be brought into the state they should be certified that they are disease free or they should be turned over to a taxidermist in the area where they were taken and not be brought into the state raw to be mounted.

Director Bell stated the current import statute allows the Commission to regulate and require permits for the import of live animals. It perhaps is a note to the Commission for future legislation, to begin to address the import of other than lives animals. That also is a great concern of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency and in their guidelines; there will be forthcoming additional recommendations. Hopefully, we can get agreement from all the states on how to control the crossing of state boarders of these hunter-harvested animals.

Chairwoman Stevens stated there will be a Western meeting in Albuquerque this year in July, and is sure that will be one of many topics that will be discussed with the Western States.

Lilly Rendt – In favor of stricter importation regulations for purpose of disease control.

Brian Quinlan – Asked the Commission if there was an animal state of emergency at this time.

Director Bell stated currently there was not. An animal state of emergency was declared during the incident at Horse Springs with the Pearson Ranch and that emergency has ceased. Director Bell stated, to his understanding, the Secretary of Agriculture has declared an Animal Health Emergency in order to authorize sufficient funds to eradicate CWD in the United States.

Carol Ansley – Rancher, Red Canyon Ranch – In agreement with Department’s proposed rule change.

David Weingarten – In favor of Department’s proposed recommendations.

Steve Balock, President of NM Elk Producers Association – Stated CWD in not going to go away because of restrictions imposed on privately held elk. There will be new information out in the months ahead and asked to come back before the commission to add input at that time. NM elk producers want to make sure disease is eradicated as soon as possible. Measures need to be instituted to look at wild herds. There are issues with problem elk in the State of New Mexico, take a look how elk are handled by placing them into private ownership, this might be productive by improving the amount of animals by keeping tabs on them. Considering that, as opposed to seeing dead carcasses strewn about is probably a great management tool.

Chairwoman Stevens stated she supports what the Department is recommending in changing of the rules and adopting the 60-month requirement. CWD is a very serious issue and needs to be looked at as such.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Ortega commented the document is just a beginning for New Mexico. Everything that can be done to tighten up the regulation should be done for the protection of New Mexico’s wildlife. Commissioner Weaver asked Brooks if there was a monitoring program in place for dead elk coming into the country or for hunter check station analysis. Brooks stated there is a voluntary check station in place, but on a small scale. Padilla asked if there were plans to expand. Dr. Kerry Mower stated check stations were set up last fall to collect the brains of animals killed in NM. It was not as great a success as hoped; it was a voluntary program, not a roadblock. A number of deer heads were collected, all those brains are now at the Wyoming lab being tested. Mower estimated 150-170 are currently being tested. There are plans to expand that. Under the current proposal, 178 would be about the maximum number that the private people would have to attest. The Department is attempting to get the sampling over the 200 levels for next year. Commissioner Growney asked if it was only deer that were tested this previous year. Mower stated the focus was on deer, although both deer and elk were collected. The disease, in the wild, seems to sustain best among wild free ranging deer more than it does elk.

Chairwoman Stevens stated she would like the Department to see if it is feasible to include in every license, a slip that would ask hunters to voluntarily bring that carcass and/or head in for voluntary testing. This should assist in getting the word out. Commissioner Ortega suggested, for the next meeting, to try to use some incentive along these lines.

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

VOTE: Voice call voice taken, all present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 9. State Game Commission Rules on Class A Park and Lakes (19.35.9 NMAC) will be open for Amendment

Presented by Dan Brooks/Kerry Mower – A power point presentation was giving showing all the recommended changes to this rule. Brooks stated that due to concerns of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the Department is recommending adding language to this rule that would clarify and strengthen disease testing requirements for Class “A” Parks on voluntary basis. Owners need to have a CWD state program available to them that will allow them to receive state certification. Likewise, the Department needs to provide a CWD testing program that will allow owners to participate in a program and provide the Department with some assurance that CWD is being tested for in game parks. The Department is proposing two (2) CWD testing standards and certification. The recommendation at this time is that both testing standards are voluntary. The first testing standard is “whole herd or complete monitoring.” The second is “herd monitoring.” These standards were developed in conjunction with the Class “A” Park owners, state and federal veterinarians. Whole herd testing is a very rigid standard as every animal that dies is tested, but necessary if game ranchers wish to sell elk outside of the state.


Sabrina Ansley, Red Canyon Ranch, Moriarty NM – Representing Frank Simms, Running Elk Corporation, Chama, NM–Feels the standard for importation has become a moving target, which has changed on a daily basis. The changing standard has resulted in no animals allowed entry and is costing legitimate operators money and significantly damaging business.

John Dimas, Registered Lobbyist – Feels Class “A” Park owners should be made liable for their actions of animals escape.

Carol Ansley – Stated Class “A” Park owners are held liable. Regulations followed are more stringent than any corporation in NM.

Andrew Vallejos, Council for the Commission – Stated the Director was quite concerned about the Class “A” Parks and did quite a job of trying to obtain consensus whenever possible. Vallejos stated the Pearson Ranch went above the call of duty and were quite cooperative. No constitutional rights were violated; this was maintenance of health/public welfare authorized by state law.

Marvin Cromwell – Would not do any thing that would expose them first and foremost, nor put their assets at risk. Is in agreement with voluntary CWD testing. Game Parks doing their part; what about natural migration and importation of dead animals harvested. NM boarders need to be protected.

Brad Quinlan – Working together with the Department will solve problem faster. Parks can monitor better than monitoring herds in the wild. Work together.

Dave Weingarten - Make it mandatory instead of voluntary to submit heads of animals that die in Class “A” Parks. It should be made mandatory for Class “A” Parks to have double fencing.

Steve Balok, President, NM Elk Producers Association – Request being able to come back before the Commission with recommendations on this rule.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Chairwoman Stevens reiterated she appreciated the Department’s efforts on this in looking and keeping in mind every ones best interest, but most importantly the state and state’s animals have to come first. It has been recommended that a sub-committee be appointed for a CWD working group which would consist of a couple of Commissioners, Class “A” Park owners, public and the Game and Fish personnel. This will be taken under consideration and will be discussed on break or after the meeting.

MOTION: Commissioner Ortega moves for adoption of 19.35.9; Second by Commissioner Growney.

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

AGENDA ITEM NO. 10. State Game Commission Rules on Hunting and Fishing License Revocation (19.31.2 NMAC) will be open for Amendment

Presented by Dan Brooks – At the January 3, 2002 commission meeting, the Commission expressed concern about people unlawfully road hunting and/or using vehicles to hunt game. Among those items discussed were number of citations in the past and other state’s laws. Brooks stated Commissioner Ortega recommend that the Department examine the situation involving violations of shooting from a vehicle or road, and see how this may be discouraged or prevented in the future. Revocation was suggested as a possible means to aid in this desire. The Department is proposing to create a 15 point revocation category for violations of unlawfully hunting by any individual that violates and (B). By creating a 15 point category, an individual would be subject to revocation only if they had already committed a violation of 5 points or greater, or did so in the 3 year timeframe. This recommendation is brought forward because it; 1.) Puts a convicted violator on notice that any other violation will subject him or her to revocation; 2.) Is consistent with previous revocations standards; Revocation Briefing 3.) Treats all violators the same; 4.) Allows the Commission to establish the importance of violating these 2 laws and 5.) Is within their discretion to do so as established in 17-1-14 (10) and (11) NMSA 1978.



MOTION: Commissioner Ortega moves for adoption; Second by Commissioner Weaver.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative with the exception of Commissioner Padilla. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 11. Elephant Butte Reservoir Management Plan

Presented by Richard Hanson – Hanson stated the Department is seeking to develop management strategies that balance the needs of varying angler interests at this lake with changing hydrological conditions. A presentation of the proposed changes was given. Hanson stated the Department is requesting Commission approval of the Elephant Butte Reservoir Management Plan. This plan would serve as a model for future water-body fisheries management plans. Operation plan developed to implement this long-range plan will be used to move towards Department’s performance measures in fisheries management. Commission ratification of this plan would allow for development of an operation plan for this project.


Fred Gross – NM Wildlife Federation – Endorses Department’s recommendation.

Ron Gilworth, President, NM Bass Federation – Suggests any plans in future be a statewide plan for all lakes. Consider during spawn time certain coves be placed off limits. Progress of hatchery be considered in plans to know the status. Water stabilization impacts.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Padilla asked the Department if public meetings were held for public input. Hansen stated that was so. Commissioner Padilla asked if any of the long-range plan apply also to Caballo or if it strictly applied to Elephant Butte. Hansen stated this was the blue print for future plans and all issues on other warm water reservoirs are similar and many things will be incorporated within Caballo, Conchas, etc. Commissioner Padilla asked if there was any kind of permanent pool in that lake. Hansen stated there was a matter of some debate on what exactly the permanent pool is. There is an inactive conservation pool, which is as deep as they can pull it down, about 50,000 acre-feet or 13,000 acres. Commissioner Padilla stated he spoke with Ron Gilworth’s organization and the Elephant Butte Chamber of Commerce have done some work down there on removal of carp which they feel is having a negative effect on the rock bass population. Padilla asked Hansen if that was addressed. Hansen stated that was addressed, but to what degree of effect they are having is unknown. Padilla requested Hansen thank Representative Don Tripp for helping the Department obtain the funds towards the warm water hatchery along with Senator Campos.

Director Bell stated this sets the direction for the Department in its fisheries activity at Elephant Butte Lake. It will be important as the Department goes forward with the performance based budget requirement that does require the Department to meet the angler expectations and satisfaction. Director Bell stated if the Commission feels this is a valid direction, subject to amendment, some concurrence would be appropriate. If this is not the correct direction, and more work is needed, this would be the opportunity to provide that as well. Commissioner Padilla commended the Department on the work done through the years and encouraged it be continued. Chairwoman Stevens agreed and requested a show of support by adopting the plan and continuing to go forward. Commissioner Ortega stated it was a draft and when it became final it could be adopted. At this point concurrence could be expressed with what has been drafted so far. Director Bell stated this was presented as a draft so the Commission would have ample opportunity to make amendments. Director Bell stated this could be done either way, the draft could be accepted as the plan or the Department could make sure everything is correct and finalized and the public comments heard today incorporated.

MOTION: Commissioner Westall moves to adopt plan as is; Second by Commissioner Padilla.

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

Meeting adjourned for lunch at 12:00 p.m.

Meeting resumed at 1:15 p.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 12. Gray banded kingsnake Recovery Plan

Presented by Chuck Hayes - A draft state Recovery Plan for the gray-banded kingsnake was presented to the Commission for review and comment. The plan was developed based upon information obtained during the listing investigation for the species, input from the public meetings and advisory committee for the recovery plan, and additional research by Department staff and other experts. Components of the plan included the following: 1) recovery criteria based upon both documented distribution of the species and security offered the species through conservation actions undertaken by the Department and other entities, 2) use of volunteered public information regarding possible observations to help support the Department’s compilation of records of occurrence of the species, 3) additional public information and outreach activities to emphasize the importance of illegal collecting, 4) allowance of limited possession of snakes collected outside of New Mexico (limited – scientific and biological purposes), 5) clarification of the Director’s Amphibian and Reptile List that identifies those species of native species that receive protection from commercial collecting under the amphibian and reptile protection law passed during the 2001 legislative session, and 6) law enforcement efforts targeted at peak times for gray-banded kingsnake collecting. The Department is recommending that the draft Recovery Plan be presented to the advisory committee for comment and review prior to requesting final approval of the Commission.


Lilly Rendt – In favor of Department’s recommendation.

R.L. Posey –Stated according to testimony only 2 have been sighted. It is not known how many are out there, how many there were 5 years ago, or if there are more now than there were 5 years ago. Feels there should be better science on what is out there and it they cannot be found how is it know to be endangered.

Jim Bailey –Gave definition of endangered species. Asked if there were any snakes known of in possession that were from New Mexico that were collected before the listing of the species.

Suggested tracking owners of snakes for listing of species collected in New Mexico.

Chuck Hays stated to his knowledge there is no one that has come forward stating they had snakes collected from New Mexico. There is a process in place, where information is requested on each individual snake in possession in terms of location of origin, length, color, etc.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Ortega asked for the square mileage that will be monitored. Hayes stated it would be the southern end of the Guadalupe’s and what is being discussed is largely an informational outreach. Not by survey, but by awareness from cooperators. Commissioner Ortega stated he would like to see in the final recovery plan the approximate cost per year that would be dedicated. Commissioner Westall requested the Department return with a more specific plan to get it delisted. Commissioner Westall stated it was difficult to manage something you could not locate. Director Bell stated when that species was listed, it was listed in part because the only way to provide protection to reptiles and amphibians at that time was through the listing process. Historically the data indicates it has always been very low in number. It is not known what that means exactly, how low it is, how much it has gone down over time, but what is known is that the primary thing impacting this species is the potential at least for commercial harvest. Since that time a law passed that provides protection from commercial harvest for all reptiles and amphibians in the state so commercial take can be prohibited with or without the listing. The prudent course of action is to continue the law enforcement efforts, determine the impact of commercial take and then, as mandated under the Wildlife Conservation Act, when this comes up for the biennial review report to the Commission the activities that have been done under this recovery plan which could then lead to that delisting process. Ultimately that is what the recovery plan should do. There was some discussion about bringing the plan back for adoption.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 13. State Game Commission will consider a forage lease agreement with Phil Sanchez as an option to correct or prevent depredation as allowed in 17-3-13.3, 17-3-13.4 NMSA 1978 and 19.30.2 NMAC

Director Bell stated this has been a chronic depredation problem that the Department has not been able to resolve despite some effort and some lack of effort. A variety of methods have been tried throughout the last number of years. The Big Game Damage law was passed and the money was put in through sportsmen contributions. The fund can only be used to fund resolutions to depredation, none for administrative costs. In order to find final resolution to this problem the Department has been working with the landowners, both Dave and Phil Sanchez, in order to see estimates for a forage lease of that property and then reaching toward a final solution of possible fencing. It is the Department’s desire to present to the Commission an ultimate resolution to this utilizing some of the Big Game Damage money. There is about $300,000 in the account.

Presented by Dan Brooks – A Summary of intervention methods, on the Sanchez property, used by the Department was presented. Some of the methods used during the time frame of 1998-2002 have been depredation hunts, both public and private; fencing; scaring devices and chemical repellants. None of these intervention methods proved to be adequate.

Intervention method offered is a forage lease to solve the depredation problem and prevent further damage in the future. The Sanchez’ wish to continue to operate as they have historically and continue to utilize the ranch for their livestock. The Department is requesting the Commission consider a forage lease agreement with Mr. Sanchez. Cost estimates for the lease were reviewed. At the end of the lease, the Sanchez’ will allow the Department to put up a game proof fence.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Chairwoman Stevens stated the funding was available, however, if the depredation stamp should be repealed and the Department is tied into a lease, how would the lease be paid for. Brooks stated that the lease agreement payment would only be made if funding is available. However, a payment schedule has been put together for the Commission’s consideration. Also, under advise from the Attorney General’s Office, there is a clause that states, “as long as funding is available”. Director Bell added that anything monetarily that is proposed by the Department is subject to the necessary appropriation being made by the legislature.


Don Cullum – In favor of Department’s recommendation.

John Dimas – Not in favor of Department’s recommendation

Ed Machin – In favor of Department’s recommendation.

Marvin Cromwell – Recommended not entering into a 4 year binding contract/agreement. Suggested paying him now and fencing off now.

Bob Nordstrom – Asked how much hay Mr. Sanchez was loosing and what total production off of his property was.

Discussion: Brooks stated it was unknown because of the harvest efficiency and the plant suppression. Bob Nordstrom stated this is $148.00 an acre for the entire piece of property. 528 acres for the hay ground. Nordstrom stated he liked the idea, but felt the price was out of line.

Dale Jones –Jones stated they talked about the sale of hay at $6.00 a bale and asked what the weight of the bales were because most hay sales are in tons and it makes it a fairer deal if you talk about bales in tons. Chairwoman Stevens called upon Mr. Sanchez to answer the question. Mr. Sanchez stated the average bale was about 70 lbs. and NM State did a complete calculation of tonnage for that ranch per growing season. Jones stated, as he understood, the field would be turned over for elk use and currently with the amount of elk use there would be enough hay left that they would get the harvest they are asking for. But, if they are not being molested in there and the elk numbers increase there would be a good possibility that the field being paid for will be consumed by the elk. Could it be made part of the agreement where he gets the share of the harvested hay. Brooks stated what was written in the lease agreement is plus or minus his 1000 bales, he is willing to take a chance, it is not a guarantee that he is going to get a 1000 bales.


Chairwoman Stevens stated this issue would be discussed further in the Closed Executive Session.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 14. Application for shooting preserve on the Double H Ranch near Datil, NM in GMU 13.

Presented by Steve Henry – The HH Ranch of Datil, NM, is applying for a shooting preserve license in accordance to 17-3-35 through 17-3-42 NMSA, 1978 Compilation (Regulated Shooting Preserve Act, and Title 19, Chapter 35, Part 3 of NM Administrative Code (Game Commission Regulation). The property manager intends to release pheasants and chukars onto the preserve if approved. The SW Area personnel have inspected the property as per the application and agree that the application meets the terms of law and rule. The property is composed of


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

Marvin Cromwell – In favor of Department’s recommendation.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Padilla asked if the HH Ranch was going to go through an ownership change. Bill Feranti, manager of the HH Ranch stated that was not to happen at this time

MOTION: Commissioner Padilla moves to accept the Department’s recommendation; Second by Commissioner Westall.

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

AGENDA ITEM NO. 15. Update on wolf recovery efforts – Commission position.

Director Bell informed the Commission that this item was originally placed on the agenda at a point in time where the USFWS, in the wolf recovery efforts, were contemplating some additional release sites in Catron County outside of the wilderness boundary. The Department wanted this agenda item for discussion by, and with the Commission, as an update where they are with wolf and pros and con’s of the Department’s involvement. Direction from the Commission on wolf recovery efforts is also requested.

Presented by Chuck Hayes – This was an issue that was brought to the Commission and there have been opportunities for formal Department comment in the past. The intent of the update is to provide Commission with updated information regarding USFWS’s previously announced proposals for releasing translocated Mexican wolves in 2002, and procedures that led to the current proposals regarding translocation sites. Timeline of previous actions for formal Commission and Department input and comment were reviewed for the years 1998 through 2000. Hays state the current status of Mexican wolf is as follows: Gray wolf listed as a state endangered species under the NM Wildlife Conservation Act in 1976; USFWS program began with first releases in March 1998 in Arizona. Wolves have since dispersed and been translocated to Apache and Gila National Forests, other locations; Currently, 6 established packs – 5 in AZ, 1 in NM (also some dispersed individuals); 4 sets of releases or translocations planned for 2002 – 2 in AZ, 2 for Gila Wilderness in NM. All are planned to be pairs with pups, or pairs including pregnant females. Other items reviewed were implementing 3 year review recommendations; technical analysis for 3-year review and stakeholder recommendations from 3-year review. Upcoming activities for Mexican wolf restoration program are as follow: 2002 translocations to NM will all be at Gila Wilderness sites approved in 2000; Formation of stakeholder task force to begin at April 26 IMAG meeting. First task of stakeholder task force will be to evaluate criteria used to identify future release sites; Recommended that the Department take an increasingly active role in providing input to the recovery plan process through stakeholder, implementation, and/or technical committees.

Following the update, the Commission was asked if they would like to adopt a formal position regarding additional recovery efforts.


Adam Polley, Sierra County Manager and founding members of the Interagency Management Advisory Group for the re-introduction of the Mexican wolf – An environmental assessment report was given to the Commission. Polley stated there was a meeting on February 27, 2002 held in T or C, NM in which it was discussed about pending site selection criteria and placement of holding pens for the Gila Forest. At that time the county members of the IMAG objected to that. Polley stated he believes the Fish and Wildlife Service took extra priority to establish and take these selection criteria and placement of holding pens from the wilderness and extend those into the Gila forest. They objected to that practice. What is being requested is new site selection criteria be developed and identification of holding pens be analyzed under the correct federal procedure under NEPA and they hope and request that the Commission and the Department be part of that review from Fish and Wildlife Service. Polley stated he could assure that both Catron and Sierra Counties have the same feeling about this program and are getting tired of the ability to shortcut rules to expedite the release of the wolves without the proper environmental review and assessments. Polley stated the site selection criteria are for the wilderness only. Polley stated the duty of the County Commissioner is to protect the health, safety and welfare of its county residents. There is great concern about the proposal and the 10 or 12 sites that were selected by the USFWS without any consultation with the counties. Polley requested the Commission, Director, and Mr. Hayes take a more active part in making sure that these kind of uses by the USFWS do not occur into the future. Polley stated they saw it as a threat to the residents of the counties. Also requested was that the Commission and the Director start to develop monthly reports by Department personnel; that the Department consider an independent 5-year review that uses non wolf biologists in the 5th year review and requested that there be a reallocation of on the ground of the human resources that are there. Polley stated they would like to see different personnel placed in there.


Susan Swaim –Not in favor of wolf reintroduction.

Jim Bailey – Stated Wildlife Conservation Act in which the species is listed stated that threatened and endangered species should be managed to maintain and to the extent possibly enhance their numbers. The act also states the management and recovery of threatened and endangered species are the responsibility of and a benefit to all of society. Bailey stated this last year there was a survey of voters in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona and 2/3 of the respondents favored the reintroduction of Northern wolf.

Commissioner Padilla commented that he was at the readout of the survey Mr. Bailey referred to and when questioned they admitted that the survey was taken in Albuquerque, Denver and Phoenix.

Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity –In favor of wolf reintroduction. Feels Department should take proactive roll.

Pete Ossorio– Opposes wolf reintroduction.

John Dimas – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Marvin Cromwell – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Dan Cullum – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Jean Rosario– In favor of wolf reintroduction.

Lilly Rendt – In favor of wolf reintroduction.

John Boretsky, NM Council of Outfitters and Guides – Opposes wolf introduction.

Bob Rickleff – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Brub Stone – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Jack Diamond – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Jason Provinski – President of NM Cattle Growers Assoc. – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Joel Alderete, NM Farm & Livestock – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

R.L. Posey – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Laura Schneberger – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Dale Jones, representing the Wildlife Society, NM Chapter – In favor of wolf reintroduction.

Ken Swaim – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Jim Williams – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Callie Gnatkowski, NM Wool Growers, Inc. - Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Caren Cowan, NM Cattle Growers Association – Opposes wolf reintroduction.

Chairwoman Stevens asked the Commission if they wished to adopt a formal position regarding additional recovery efforts at this time.

Commissioner Ortega stated in years past the Commission had taken a formal position on this situation. No one has been able to convince him otherwise since that time. Good reasoning has not been presented as to why reintroduction of the Mexican wolf in today’s environment is going to be something successful or something that can be worked with. Someone has to have the right science for this and he felt it was not considered. The fact that people just want to see a wolf should not be the reason for reintroduction.

MOTION: Commissioner Ortega moves to reaffirm the same position of 1997 to not deal with this situation of reintroduction.

Director Bell stated as a state listed species a state recovery plan could be adopted. A state recovery plan demands economics be considered, social and local input be gathered. This could be incorporated into any additional efforts and ensure that the state was well represented in any future federal actions. There are also other species that are on the state list of endangered species that have been on the list forever and there is no effort going for the recovery of those, there is no state listed and state developed recovery plans. Director Bell asked if we were not remiss in not conducting those plans also. The federal recovery plan could be looked at and an attempt to update to something that suits our constituents, that tries to bring balance to the recovery effort and then ask the Commission to adopt those portions of the plan. The state could take a lead in recovery efforts if we chose to continue with recovery and be the lead agency in developing a rewrite of the recovery plan. Or again, we can choose not to participate in the federal recovery. The species that occurs in this state is currently under what is called the Ten J Status, which is an experimental non-essential population and that gives the Commission certain latitude.

Chairwoman Stevens commented that if the Commission decided not to support the recovery and reintroduction of any wolf that is one thing, but care needs to be taken in totally backing out, not backing out of support, but of being involved at all because wolf has already been reintroduced. To a certain extent, involvement is necessary in order to control what has already been done. Care needs to be taken to not divide us completely.

Director Bell suggested if action was to be taken it should be done by motion. What the Department has struggled over throughout the last several years was that confusing effort earlier where the Commission came up very strong in opposition and then the Department began participation and it was never really resolved. It could be just as appropriate to continue to oppose the reintroduction effort but recognizing they are here and are something that has to be dealt with, to keep the Department involved to ensure the states interest is injected into the federal efforts. Director Bell stated he heard the comments, regarding the Department personnel. Appropriate measures would be taken to ensure the representation is adequate on that committee.

MOTION RESTATED: Commissioner Ortega moves to incorporate what the Director has just mentioned and the Commission will continue to oppose the reintroduction effort, however, the Commission will stay involved in order to protect New Mexico’s interest in this situation; Second by Commissioner Westall.

Commissioner Padilla asked Commissioner Ortega if he wished to include any language as far as the participation to the Department what personnel are involved. Commissioner Padilla stated he has received a lot of complaints about the Department employees and the inflammatory statements made to the public. Director Bell stated this might be best left to legal council, but within the statutory authority assignment of personnel is not a Commission decision. However, if the Commission has concerns about this it would be most appropriately addressed in Executive Session. If concerns are brought to him at that time they would be addressed appropriately.

Andrew Vallejos stated he felt there was on Open Meeting problem with this. This was an informational item, not an action item. Vallejos stated the Commission could make it an action item and the will of the Commission expressed on this issue. There are certain principals of federalism and this is a federal domain. Information requested by the public earlier should be obtained from the federal government through the federal Freedom of Information Act and not burdening an already overburdened department in facilitating endangered species information. The Department cannot direct the federal government to do anything.

Director Bell stated, at the risk of arguing with the Commission’s attorney, requested Mr. Vallejos look at the verbiage under Agenda Item 15 as the agenda that went out formally to the public. It does say the Commission will be asked if they would like to adopt a formal position regarding additional recovery efforts. Director Bell asked if that would not be sufficient that this could in fact be an action item. Vallejos stated that was correct. Director Bell stated that being done, it is ok to have action pursuant to the Open Meetings Act and proper notification. Director Bell reiterated concerns that the State Act, the Wildlife Conservation Act, is in it self a complex act but says we periodically should review species and determine their status. Once their status is determined they should then be placed on the appropriate list and/or not listed. The appropriate list may be the threatened list or the endangered species of wildlife. Once listed, the state should move forward and develop a recovery plan. The Department has not done this in the case of the Mexican wolf, nor in the case of anything at this point except the newly adopted, as of today, gray banded kingsnake. If that is going to be a legal issue then we have a far larger task ahead of us to go back to the current state list and begin work on essentially every species listed before further action or position can be taken. The third item council brought up is, I don’t think we are trying to direct the feds, but trying to send them a message what the state’s position is and then, within that, ask them to rely heavily on Section 6 of that act as to the state’s involvement in the recovery efforts.

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

AGENDA ITEM NO. 16. Commission/Department Discussion

Director Bell asked the Commission if they would be willing to suspend the rules for Commission Department Discussion. There is an individual who drove a long way today knowing that the Bear Canyon update is part of the agenda and asked the Commission if they would be willing to let Mr. Grijalva make a brief presentation. The remainder of the Department’s update would follow.

Commission was in agreement

Mr. Hector Grijalva, representing the Grijalva family from the Membres Valley – Grijalva stated this was to merely inform the Commission where the Grijalva’s stand on the fish screen issue at Bear Canyon Damn. Certified correspondence was sent to Director Bell on February 19, 2002 and to this date he has not received a return receipt or acknowledgment of that letter. At Bear Canyon, concerning the fish screen, it is an environmental issue and not a sportsmen issue. They are strictly against that due to the fact that the Department plans to build a screen, road, put fences, gates and a pad lock on their property according to the letter received by Grijalva on February 8, 2002. According to Grijalva they own the property. When the Department was issued the license to appropriate water, which was license 2086 back in 1953, it clearly states that this license is not to be exercised to detriment of any persons having prior valid and existing rights to the use of the waters from Bear Canyon. Grijalva stated in their view the Department is being very underhanded, abusive and detrimental. Grijalva stated he had documents that support their positions that they do not relinquish any property, water for their stock, or otherwise, just like their forefathers. Grijalva stated they were not aware of any legal adds in their local newspapers or media requesting bids of such construction for the fish stream. Grijalva state they hoped this could be resolved.

Director Bell stated there has risen this issue over the bottom portion of Bear Canyon where the Department needs to install a fish screen in order to comply with some endangered species needs prior to the onset of the dredging operation at Bear Canyon. Bell went on to say that today was the first day he had to meet with Mr. Grijalva and apologized for the February 19th letter, that he had not seen and is not known where it is delayed. Director Bell stated the Department is scheduled to meet with the Grijalva family and Representative Mannie Herrera to attempt to resolve this issue amicably on April 10. Director Bell felt confident the issue could be figured out at that time.

Bear Canyon update – Scott Brown – This is a project to dredge out Bear Canyon and in order to do that there are some endangered species fish down below the area and a fish screen is necessary. At the current time, the EA has been done and signed. The contract is ready to be awarded on the fish screen, which will go directly below Bear Canyon. Construction should begin next month, as soon as the contract is awarded and signed. The time frame to get the fish screen done is April/May because the San Lorenzo Ditch Association normally releases their water for irrigation between the months of June and July. That would allow the Department to draw down the lake to begin the actual dredging operation. The RFP is ready to go out on the dredging operation that would begin about mid-September. Issues have arisen as to where the fish screen would be placed and also some issues on water rights. The AG’s office is researching this. Director Bell stated the additional $500,000 was approved through legislature to complete the work as originally scheduled.

Eagle Nest – The lease for Eagle Nest Lake expires March 31, 2002. It will then be closed to public fishing. The newspaper states the Davis family will close it for a couple of months and then open it for some form of fee fishing. As the legislature contemplates the potential of a special session, the Department has been asked by Legislative Finance Committee weather or not the Game Protection Fund could withstand some more expenditure from that fund for Eagle Nest Lake. Figures were put together for the Commission’s consideration. When this was looked into, it was kept in mind how that would impact the future need for a fee increase for the sportsmen of New Mexico and in addition do its best to ensure current projects such as the warm water hatchery stay on track. In order to keep those on track and not have a fee increase until 2005, the Department came up with the following funding scheme that could be considered by the Commission. Between 1 and 3 million dollars from Game Protection Fund, the possibility of selling bonds from the Bond Interest Retirement Fund and also the availability of 1 ½ million dollars in the Land and Water Conservation Fund that could be sought through the State Parks and Recreation Division. All of this is coupled with this year’s capitol outlay package. There was signed and appropriated 2 million dollars for the acquisition of Eagle Nest Lake, plus the 3 million remaining from the original appropriation. The Department believes, without needing a fee increase until 2005, we could sustain a maximum of 3 million dollars out of Game Protection and a maximum sale of 1 million dollars of bonds. If none of this is done the next fee increase is projected out into about 2007. Director Bell stated this information was for Commission consideration and a decision was not needed today but could be considered for formal motion at the May Commission meeting.

Chairwoman Stevens stated she would like to see the Commission give the Department the latitude to continue to work through this if the opportunity comes up. Commissioner Padilla stated he would also like the Department to take a look at continuing the purchase without taking any additional money out of the Game Protection or any bonding. He would like to see the Department pursue obtaining money from the cities of Eagle Nest, Angel Fire, Raton, Colfax County, the Tourism Department, Economic Development Department, people that are crying the blues about the loss in revenue that are going to be impacted because it was not purchased, not just the sportsmen. Chairwoman Stevens stated this might be a viable area to be looked into but would not want to restrain the Department from looking at other avenues and presenting those. Commissioner Padilla stated this would be in addition to bonding and Game Protection, to look at those additional items. Director Bell stated he appreciated the discussion on that matter and out of respect for the public felt it may be prudent to place this on the May agenda to allow public comment. Chairwoman Stevens agreed and the item will be placed on the May agenda for formal discussion.

Review of Big Game Damage Fund for depredation resolution -

Covered in Dan’s presentation.

Passed and signed legislation – There was a 2 million dollar appropriation for the acquisition of Eagle Nest Lake. The legislation did pass the Commission initiative on ability to deal better with Chronic Wasting Disease. The legislature approved and it was signed to appropriate, 500 thousand dollars, to continue work on the warm water hatchery. 500 thousand for continued work and completion on the project at Bear Canyon. $750,000 for the completion of the Whirling Disease work at the Red River Hatchery. The Black Tailed Prairie Dog Memorial died in the senate. The license plate initiative introduced by Rob Burpo passed both the house and senate and was vetoed by the Governor. The bill for free veterans licenses was tabled in Committee. Elk survey money never made it out of Senate Conservation Committee. The initiative on raising the Conservation Officer’s and other Department employee’s salary rate did not pass through the budget process.

Director Bell stated the Department, along with Bruce Thompson and Roberta Henry, are working on a Commissioners short course. Bruce Thompson is with the Cooperative Research Unit at NM State University. A completion of that course should be available by August or September.

There have been several requests by the Commission regarding incorrect information in the proclamation on high demand hunts. The corrections have been made and the hunters that applied will be accommodated. Refunds will be made for those incorrectly coded high demand hunts.

There are 2 bills going into the United States Congress regarding the Sandia Pueblo attempts to further resolve the settlement that was reached between the Sandia Pueblo, US Government, and USDA Forest Service. That issue leaves the ownership of the land to the Forest Service and, in the settlement, the management goes to the pueblo. These bills are efforts to further direct that. The Department worked with Senator Bingaman’s Office on one of those bills to assure that the state’s authority for management is asserted. The Department will continue to work on Senator Wilson’s bill. The Commission will be updated as that progresses. In forming the Department’s view regarding the bills, the Department has been working extensively with Paul Lenzeni who is the Council for the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

There was a meeting a few weeks ago with Bill Ferranti and John Boretsky. The Department made an error in its calculation of necessary landowner permits and the proper split between public and private permits in Unit 13. The Department believes that the most prudent way to address them at this point in time is to utilize the Directors discretion to increase the private land permits to the number s that they should have been originally and then use the ability in the up-to numbers to reduce the public drawing by the appropriate amounts to not exceed the total number of permits for that area.

For the May Commission meeting, the Commission is scheduling a two-day meeting in Chama. One day will be a regular Commission meeting; one day will be a Commission Workshop. Director Bell stated he has been working with the Chair and have been discussing having a workshop based on biological parameters for about half a day and then the rest of the day a tour of the Sergeant Wildlife Area. An invitation for the tour was extended to the public.

Narcisco Baca Depredation – A letter has been sent to Mr. Baca offering to fence his complete property. The Department is anticipating the cost to be 50 to 75 thousand dollars, depending on the design of the elk proof fence. The fence would be placed on property with an easement from him to the Department. The Department would be responsible for maintenance of that fence for the first five years. The Department has offered, at the same time, to contract with Mr. Baca to provide the maintenance of the fence. At the end of the five years the fence would be turned over to Mr. Baca and the state would pull out of any further requirement for maintenance.

Monastery Lake – There was consideration by the Benedictine Monastery to terminate the lease with the Department. The current lease for a fishing easement is through 2005. They had indicated that they wanted to terminate the lease and have now stated they are not in a position to do so. They will be exploring other options so the lease is on for at least another year. The removal of mine waste tailings has been removed from the Monastery road and pier. The lake is open to fishing. The Department is now removing the mine tailing waste from the hatchery proper, so much of the hatchery is closed to public tours while this is continuing.

Future Commission Meeting –A meeting in July will be necessary to address Small Game. Chairwoman Stevens suggested meeting the day before the WAFWA Conference, which is Thursday July 11th. Roberta Henry felt the 11th would be too soon because if federal frameworks were not in it would do no good. Chairwoman Stevens stated the meeting would be tentatively set for the 11th and then revisit it at the May and/or June meeting. Scott Brown felt what has worked in the past is provide the parameters during the June meeting when the Small Game is presented for the first time with assurance from the Commission that those would fit within the federal parameters and therefore avoid the need for meeting in the latter part of July. Brown stated the Flyway Council normally meets in conjunction with the Western and that would be the biggest concern. Director Bell stated that has been done in the past, but given recent events along with the duty to the public, the Department needed to have a developed regulation presented to the Commission and would need to adopt that Regulation as opposed to adopting something nebulous that the Department shapes and works on outside of the public view. Director Bell stated he would much prefer to work with a July meeting date and bring forward a regulation that could be adopted in finality. Chairwoman Stevens stated the meeting date would be tentatively set for July 11th, it might be moved to the 15th but would be revisited at the May or June Commission meeting.

Roberta Henry – Reminded the Commission of the agreement, position and support for not requiring the Game Department to continue sending out un-lucky applicant notice cards. That was a budget decision made 1 ½ years ago. The information is available in the area offices in written form, and on the Department’s web page within 72 hours of the draw. Henry gave her staff and the Law Enforcement Division recognition for coming up with a way the public can purchase a fishing or small game license on the internet. An authorization code is issued. It is a pilot project, that has been on line since February and a few dozen licenses have been sold.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 17. General Public Comments:

R.L. Posey – Experience he has had with federal agencies he has dealt with, reference wolf, have used questionable science. Did not have much faith in polls taken on wolf. Stated the State Farm Bureau got together a priority issues committee and the number 1 issue was to revise the Endangered Species Act. They came up with 17 specific recommendations for changing that act. A resolution was written on these for consideration to the Otero County Commission using the fact that the Endangered Species had dramatically effected the rural economic resources. There might be some minor changes by the Commission and by the attorney but should be approved at the next Commission meeting.

Ed Machin – Stated about 1 year ago Dale Jones presented to the Commission Workshop 10 things that made a good Game Commissioner. It was published in the March issue of the Outdoor Reporter. Director Bell wrote him a very informative letter as to what is being done now and commended him and the Commission on how the meetings were presently being conducted. The move to allow the public to speak before a decision was made was a good move. Requested eliminating the speaker cards.

Jacob Cullins – Feels hunter is being asked to pay for too many depredation problems by fee increases.

Director Bell addressed the Big Game Damage Fee stating the way the law reads is each hunter shall pay up to $5.00 on every Big Game License that is purchased. That law came into effect July of last year. When it first came into effect, based on information provided by the Department, the Commission made the decision to just charge a one time $5.00 fee. During that discussion some controversy came up relative to the law that says there shall be up to $5.00 assessed for each Big Game License. So following those discussions, the Commission later amended that consistent with the law wherein they reduced it from $5.00 on one license to #3.00 on each license.

Jacob Cullins – Stated every rancher here today talked about how the wolf killed game animals along with the cattle. In the last 20 years there have been more ranchers kill game animals on their property for depredation. More licenses are added each year (Unit 34) that elk have been cut in half to please the cattlemen and sheep industry. Yet, not one thing has happened for the hunter.

Director Bell stated there is a huge effort going forth in Unit 34 and a recommendation will be made in May to reduce the 4,200 licenses. A new 2 year regulation cycle is being started and public input will be solicited as to number of permits available, changes in bag limits, etc. on public lands. Chairwoman Stevens thanked Mr. Cullins for speaking before the Commission. Chairwoman Stevens also stated that there were very few hunting public here today and encourage more to attend and speak out. Commissioner Padilla suggested that if the hunter/sportsmen were unable to attend to voice their opinion to their legislators

Richard Becker, President of the Albuquerque Wildlife Federation and Albuquerque Chapter of the National Turkey Federation – As president of an organization and Catron County property owner feels what was missed on the debate on the Mexican wolf has been taking the strategic long term view, not only on wildlife but the communities. They support wildlife, and ranchers but feels rancher and hunters could come together to support the wolf program if well designed.

Dave Weingarten – Asked if there were appropriations to address Chronic Wasting Disease and if that was to come from the Game Protection fund.

Director Bell stated there was not an appropriation, but statutory language giving the Commission the authority to adopt necessary regulations for the eradication and control of CWD.

Weingarten stated the bill provided that the funds are provided to purchase diseased animals and felt the Game Protection fund should not be used for indemnification.

Jim Bailey – Suggested a little more information in the agendas in the future. Recovery plans and de-listing for highly endemic species. Under the Wildlife Conservation Act the word recovery plan is used and does not give an option. It would be better to call for highly endemic species that will always be in jeopardy.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 18. 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 Westall moves to enter into Closed Executive Session; Second by Commissioner Growney.


Commissioner Growney - 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.

MOTION: Commissioner Westall moves to come out of executive session; Second by Commissioner Growney.

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

MOTION: Commissioner Ortega moves to purchase 30 acres at Rock Lake; Second by Commissioner Westall.

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

MOTION: Commissioner Westall moves to enter into a grazing lease with Mr. Sanchez at the rate of $26,651 for a 2-year lease. In the lease Mr. Sanchez would have to keep up the grazing rights in the field. At the end of 2 years the Department would build a fence around his property and the Department will monitor the crop and the field each year; Second by Commissioner Gowney.

Dave Sanchez – As noted he was asked to consider a lease for forage on the property to mitigate and deal with depredation issues. Mr. Sanchez stated he did not feel he could add a whole lot more than what has already been identified and articulated in the presentation by Dan Brooks. The only thing he wished to mention is that they have endured many years of depredation and some significant financial losses. They have been dealing with significant depredations since 1990. Prior to that they had migratory elk that came through. He commended the new Director with the lines of communication established. Sanchez stated they could not endure any more losses. They now have legitimate numbers of what the potential of the property is, historical numbers of what was raised on hay crop and what is raised today.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Ortega stated 2 years was proposed, put up a fence and pay the $25,651 and it was up to Mr. Sanchez if he agreed or not. Commissioner Ortega stated they would need in writing Mr. Sanchez’ acceptance or rejection.

Mr. Sanchez asked the Commission if what was being proposed was a 2-year lease of forage. Commissioner Ortega stated that was so and it would be at $26,651. Chairwoman Stevens stated it was $26, 651 and will be that the second year but was to be monitored. Commissioner Westall stated Mr. Sanchez would still be able to take and raise their hay crop. At the end of that period there will be a fence built all the way around which will be maintained by Mr. Sanchez, it would be his fence. At that time the elk should not be of any depredation at all and Mr. Sanchez should be able to make the $26-$27,000 out of the crops raised according to the information presented.

Mr. Sanchez stated, if he understood correctly, it is a 2-year lease of forage with a permanent solution of a fence at the termination of those 2 years. Commissioner Westall stated that was correct. Mr. Sanchez stated if that was the final offer it would have to be taken under consideration because they have endured many years of losses. Commissioner Westall stated the past depredation problem could not be solved, they are just trying to solve future problems. Mr. Sanchez stated the only thing they were looking at is they had damages last year, and how many years besides last year, to enter into some kind of agreement that would be beneficial and would alleviate some of the financial burden they had for the last decade and if 2 years is the best that could be offered it would have to be taken into serious consideration with his family.

Andrew Vallejos request from Mr. Sanchez a response in writing within 30 days from today. Brooks stated there is a lease agreement that he and Mr. Sanchez have worked on and it can be changed to the Commission’s desires. Director Bell stated the forage lease agreement between the parties will be finalized and a final copy sent to Mr. Sanchez and this can be done within 30 days.

Mr. Sanchez asked the Commission if the 2-year lease being offered is also to deal with last years letter of billing or if it is 2 years from this point forward. Mr. Sanchez stated there was a letter for 2001 that needs to be resolved and if the 2 year lease is to do that, then one of the years is already spent.

Chairwoman Stevens stated that 2 years is what the Commission felt is applicable for the losses, both last year and forward and then a fence. The ultimate thing is to resolve the problem and the fence is the resolution and they need to get to the resolution as quickly as possible. That’s what they have been directed to do by the legislature, to resolve the problems and resolve them in an expedite manner. Director Bell stated Mr. Sanchez essentially filed a complaint of depredation with the Department in the fall of last year stating he had elk damage. At that point, the submission of the letter from last year is when the Department began working on what lead to this forage lease. Within the context of the law, from the date of that complaint, they had 1 year to resolve. The $26,000 of this will go towards resolving the complaint from last September to current. The next $26,000 for the second part of the lease will go toward resolving it from now until a year from now, or a year from September. Andrew Vallejos stated there was no mechanism under the depredation statute to reimburse for the losses already suffered so there cannot be a retroactive contract. (From the date of the contract forward for 2 years.) Mr. Sanchez stated if the tenor of the contract was reduced from 4 years to 2 years with the understanding a permanent solution at the end of the 2 years he would throw it on the table. They might consider something if the money was paid in full, up front, and the Department maintains the fence from there on. Mr. Sanchez stated they would not get in a situation where they would maintain an expensive game fence from here and into the future because of the fact that the Department was billed and a letter sent in the fall, and only 2 years of forage being paid for.

Chairwoman Stevens stated a new contract will be submitted which can be accepted or declined with any comments and suggestions from Mr. Sanchez.

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

MOTION: Commissioner Ortega moves to adjourn; Second by Commissioner Westall.

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

Meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m.