UPDATED: February 11, 2003



Santa Fe Community College

Jemez Room

6401 Richards Avenue

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

January 29, 2003

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1. Meeting Called to Order

Director Bell stated this is an organizational meeting of a brand new State Game Commission. Before the meeting would begin, there were a few procedural matters that needed to be attended to. The meeting would reconvene at 10:30 a.m.

The meeting reconvened at 10:40 a.m.

Director Bell welcomed all to the first meeting of the State Game Commission for 2003 and the Department’s Centennial Year celebration. This year marks the 100th year of professional wildlife management by the Department of Game and Fish in New Mexico. As Secretary to the Commission, Director Bell called the meeting to order.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2. Roll Call

Director Bell called roll:

Commissioner Tom Arvas - Present

Commissioner David Henderson - Present

Commissioner Alfredo Montoya - Present

Commissioner Jennifer Montoya - Present

Commissioner Peter Pino - Present

Commissioner Guy Riordan - Present

Commissioner Leo Sims - Present

Director Bell stated that there was a quorum.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. Election of NM State Game Commission Chairman

Director Bell suggested to the Commission the next order of business be the election of the Chair for the State Game Commission. All were in agreement.

Nominations were opened for Chairman of the Commission.

MOTION: Commissioner Alfredo Montoya moved to nominate Commissioner Tom Arvas for the Chair. Commissioner Montoya stated it was apparent that six of the members were entirely new to the Commission. Commissioner Montoya went on to say that Commissioner Arvas had served under three different administrations and feels he has a lot of experience and the capacity to lead the Commission. Seconded by Commissioner Riordan.

Director Bell stated there was one nomination and Robert’s Rules of Order would be followed for now until the Commission adopts their own rules. Director Bell stated the nomination process did not require a second but the second would be duly noted.

Director Bell entertained a motion that all nominations cease.

MOTION: Commissioner Simms moved to have nominations cease. Seconded by Commissioner Riordan.

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

Director Bell congratulated Chairman Tom Arvas.

Chairman Arvas thanked the Commission for the appointment. Arvas stated he has lived in New Mexico since 1948 and has served on three different Game Commission’s for three different administrations. Hopefully that background and experience will serve him well. He also served as a member of the National Board of Director’s for NRA; is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Amateur Trap Shooting Association, representing the southwestern zone. Chairman Arvas assured all he was pleased to have the opportunity to serve the State of New Mexico and hopefully bring this Commission back to the level he would like to have it be.

Chairman Arvas requested nominations for Vice-Chairman of the New Mexico State Game Commission.

MOTION: Commissioner Riordan nominated Commissioner Alfredo Montoya as Vice-Chairman of the New Mexico State Game Commission. Seconded by Commissioner Simms.

Commissioner Riordan stated Commissioner Montoya had been a County Commissioner in Rio Arriba County for the past 10 years and just recently got off that position and he is also an avid hunter, fisherman and sportsman. Commissioner Riordan stated he looked forward to having him serve as Vice-Chairman.

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

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. Introduction of Guests

Chairman Arvas requested members of the audience introduce themselves.

Guests and staff introduced themselves.

Commissioner Arvas asked the newly appointed Commission members to give a brief background of themselves.

Commissioner Peter Pino, Zia Pueblo –Attended high school at Jemez Valley. He received a 2 year and 4 year degree at New Mexico Highlands University and received his MBA from the University of New Mexico. When pursuing his graduate degree, he began working for the tribe in 1973. He is the current Tribal Administrator and has served in different positions such as Lt. War Chief and War Chief. He is looking forward to getting a chance to have some input on how the State manages its game and fish. As a Pueblo person, he feels that those that cannot speak for themselves need someone to speak for them. He would like to see the Commission work with the public and the public to work with the Commission. If all treat each other with respect, dignity and honor, it will make for a Game and Fish Department that all can be proud of.

Alfredo Montoya, Alcalde, NM –Employed by Northern New Mexico Community College as Director of Financial Aid, a former Rio Arriba County Commissioner, hunter and fisherman. Commissioner Montoya stated he is anxious to learn more and serve with his fellow Commissioners to do the best job possible.

David Henderson, Santa Fe, NM – State Director for National Audubon Society of New Mexico for 18 years. Prior to that worked in California with the same organization, totaling 23 years of service with the Society. He has a degree in Wildlife Management from Humbolt State University and has done graduate work in environmental education as well. In the past 18 years has participated with the Department at a number of levels such as Share with Wildlife, elk depredation groups and currently is offering advise on how best to spend state grant monies to benefit wildlife. Has a strong interest in education and non-game wildlife management but stated that was not his only interest. He looks forward to supporting sportsmen’s interest and feels there is a diverse group of Commissioners that will lead to lively conversation. This puts them in a position to blend traditional interests of the Department with more non-traditional interests and move the Commission and Department forward in its management of the wildlife in the State.

Guy Riordan, Albuquerque, NM – Financial Advisor with Wachovia Securities, farmer, rancher, sportsman and fisherman. His interest has been on economic development and how the Commission can help rural New Mexico through the Game and Fish Department. He hopes to serve in that capacity. Stated everyone is entitled to their own opinion and knows not all will ever agree on everything but will respect different opinions.

Jennifer Montoya, Las Cruces, NM – Employed by World Wildlife Fund based in Las Cruces. Moved to New Mexico nine years ago. Worked in partnership with the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management. For the last five years she has directed the U.S. portion of a bi-national project for World Wildlife Fund on the Chihuahuan Desert Conservation Program. Works a lot with state agencies in Arizona and West Texas on eco-tourism issues. Involved in local wildlife issues. Is a member of the Mesilla Audubon Society and Native Plants Society. Interested in non-game issues but does support hunting.

Leo Sims, Hobbs, NM – Is in involved in farming, ranching, oil and gas. Looks forward to working with all.

Chairman Arvas stated that the Governor is a true conservationist. As all can see from the selection of the appointees to the Game Commission there is diversity. Chairman Arvas asked for assistance to help the Commission do what is right for the sportsmen and wildlife in the State of New Mexico.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4. Approval of Minutes (December 6, 2002)

MOTION: Commissioner Riordan moved to accept the December 6, 2002 minutes as presented. Commissioner Henderson seconded motion.

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

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. Approval of Agenda

MOTION: Commissioner Riordan moved to accept the agenda as presented. Commissioner Simms seconded motion.

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


AGENDA ITEM NO. 7. Department Legislation

Director Bell, stated he is the current Director of the Department of Game and Fish. He has served the Department for almost 25 years in a variety of capacities ranging from District Wildlife Officer and Supervisor to Assistant Chief and Chief of Law Enforcement. He was Assistant Director in charge of Area Operations, Director of Law Enforcement and for the last 2+ years Director of the Department.

The Department is in the second week of the Legislature. There are a few items that were covered by the previous Commission that the Department would now like to bring to this Commission to see if they wanted to continue forward. Director Bell wanted to inform the Commission of recent legislation that was introduced that will have a profound impact on the Department’s financial situation. The Department’s lobbying team are: Roberta Salazar Henry, Assistant Director, Administrative Services/Information Systems; Tod Stevens, Assistant Director, Resource Divisions; and Director Bell. Director Bell stated the Department also relies on a number of staff members. Luke Shelby, NW Area Division Chief is the coordinator of all bills impacting the Department and said that they are available on the web with the assistance of the Public Affairs staff.

Director Bell introduced: Verena Lopez, Administrative Assistant to the Director and Commission; Mark Gruber, Writer/Editor in Public Affairs; Don MacCarter, Chief of Public Affairs; and Marty Frentzell, Assistant Chief of Public Affairs. Director Bell stated this staff is here to insure the Commission meetings are properly conducted and recorded.

Legislation – One of the Department initiatives, pending Commission concurrence, is Hunt of a Lifetime. The Department for the last few years has been involved with this organization. It is much like the Make a Wish Foundation where terminally ill children make a request to go on a hunt. Because of the way the current license structure is set, Bell stated the Department is seeking legislation that gives the Commission authority to set aside up to 2 elk license per year to be used for Hunt of a Lifetime or similar nationally sanctioned organizations. The Conservation Officers in the State have agreed to serve as guides and outfitters to assure these children have a quality hunt. There has been an offer from the Double H Ranch, a 90,000-acre ranch in the SW portion of the state, to allow hunting opportunity on that ranch. The ranch has recently been purchased by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the transfer is scheduled to be effective this August. Director Bell stated the reason this legislation is necessary is that the Department has been fairly successful in the last few year in finding a landowner permit that can be obtained at a reasonable cost for these children. This year, in order for them to obtain one, the cost will be $4,800 for an access agreement. If the Commission wishes to go forward with this legislation, this provides an opportunity to a child for a nominal price of a resident or non-resident license. Everything else will be handled with no additional cost. Senator Griego has agreed to sponsor the bill and Senator Levell will co-sponsor. The bill is currently being drafted and has not yet been introduced.

CARA Light – About a year ago CARA Light provided money to the inland states to be used for a variety of conservation practices and purposes including educational component. As a result of federal legislation, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish received $800,000 in federal funds. A decision was made to devote that money to the building of a Conservation Education Center adjacent to the new headquarters facility in Santa Fe. The Department is currently in the design stage of that project and will be asking for an additional capital outlay request from the Game Protection Fund in the amount of $500,000 to be used for continuation of the Conservation Education Project. Representative Cole has agreed to carry the bill that is currently being drafted. Director Bell asked the Commission if they wished to continue the initiatives?

Chairman Arvas entertained a motion of concurrence.

DISCUSSION: Commissioner A. Montoya asked for a brief summary of the Conservation Education Center, its estimated cost and use. Director Bell stated the current design is a 15,000 sq. ft. building. It will be built on State Game Commission property located next to the Department headquarters. It would consist of nature trails for native vegetation viewing along with backyard habitat work where a number of small game animas would be attracted, perhaps even large game animals. A permit has already been obtained to use effluent water for the development of a wetland. The building is being designed to be water efficient. Runoff water would go to a cistern to be used for a wetland that would bring in a variety of birds. Inside the building would be an auditorium that would serve educational and conference purposes. The rest of the building will be divided into several other functions. It will maintain a whirling disease testing laboratory; a classroom facility; a lunchroom, etc. and would be staffed in part by volunteers. The building would be devoted to rotating educational displays. The Department’s vision is that the building would ultimately be used by every school child within a 60-70 mile radius if not further. They would come to the center to get environmental education, to see wildlife in its natural habitat, discuss displays, see video presentations etc. The current price of the building is slated at about $2.2 million, although the building is being designed in phases so if funding is reduced, additions to the building could be built at a later date as additional funds become available.

Chairman Arvas entertained a motion to endorse this piece of legislation.

MOTION: Commissioner A. Montoya moved to approve the request for $500,000 to go towards the Conservation Education Center. Seconded by Commissioner J. Montoya.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Chairman Arvas requested Director Bell explain to the Commission the concept of what happens once the motion is endorsed by the Commission. Director Bell stated it gives the Department the support of the Commission to go forward. The bill has been given to Representative Cole and is currently being drafted. He is willing to endorse it and it will receive a number of committee hearings. What is not known at this time is the position of the Governor. Director Bell felt there should be a role for the Commission to seek concurrence from the Governor. Chairman Arvas felt instead of a motion, what the Commission would do is to endorse the concept, then speak to the Governor. Commissioner J. Montoya asked if ground had been broken yet? Director Bell replied no. It is in the design stage and the site has been selected. Commissioner J. Montoya asked what the plan was for additional staff upon completion? Director Bell stated there were no anticipated FTE needs at this time. There are two people currently involved in the educational efforts that will most likely be moved to this building to assist in the operations. Other than those two, volunteers will run the center.

Commissioner A. Montoya requested enlightenment on the Game Protection Fund and why it needed Legislative approval. Director Bell stated the Department of Game and Fish was created statutorily. It begins with a 7-member commission appointed by the Governor. Their role is to hire a director. The Game Protection Fund money is earned solely from the sale of hunting and fishing license in the state of New Mexico. Within that same statute, it says the State Game Commission is responsible for the collection and disbursement of that money. However, all of that is subject to conditions of Legislative appropriations. What the Commission is doing today is following statutory authority and controlling the disbursement of that money and then seeking the necessary appropriation from the Legislature. Even though it is deposited in Game Protection Fund it is still state money.

Commissioner Pino asked what is the status of the other funds. Is $500,000 coming from the Game Protection Fund and half from the federal government through federal grants? Are they committed? Are they there? Is the $500,000 from the Game Protection Fund going to be the last set of funds to make this project a reality? Director Bell stated the Department has gone before the Board of Finance for the $800,000. Because the monies are obtained from federal funds it does not require Legislative approval but does require Board of Finance approval. They have tentatively approved this expenditure but have not given the whole amount because they appropriately want to see what is going to be built first. They have approved enough money for the Department to get the design work done. For the remainder of the $800,000, the Department will go back before the Board of Finance once the design is completed for final approval and final authority on expenditure. At that time the $500,000 will be used as the state’s match for using additional federal funds through the Pittman/Robertson and Dingell/Johnson Act in order to bring in the additional federal funds. The $500,000 will serve as the state’s match for those funds. Director Bell also stated the National Trails Grant Program is available at 80%-20% match for completion of the project at $2.2 million.

Commissioner Henderson stated for the last 18 years he has managed a facility exactly like what the Department is anticipating and has built a professional staff. He offered his and his staff’s assistance to the Department as the Educational Center moves forward.

MOTION: As previously stated.

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

Director Bell asked the Commission if they wished to proceed on the two free elk licenses for the Hunt of a Lifetime?

MOTION: Commissioner Henderson motioned to accept the proposal by the Department for the two free elk licenses. It is an amendment of Chapter 17. Seconded by Commissioner Sims.

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

House Bill 6 – (Game and Fish Appropriation Act) The Department has presented a budget through the State Game Commission and it has been presented to the Legislative Finance Committee. There has been one interim hearing as well as the executive recommendations. This bill will ultimately get rolled up in the State Appropriation Act. The funding in the bill is about $1 million less than what was previously approved by the State Game Commission. It provides the Department a budget that will allow the Department to continue activity, however we must not dip any further than necessary into the cash reserves of the Game Protection Fund. The bill will be before the Government and Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday, January 30 at 8:00 a.m. It will then be in front of the House Appropriation and Finance Committee on February 18 at 1:30 p.m. The Department has asked for one amendment to be put on in the Government Urban Affairs Committee to increase the Department’s operating budget in three programs for a total of $250,000. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Stewart is amenable to that and Legislative Analyst Mark Valenzuela stated he would not resist those changes. It is for utility bills, gas, fish food, etc., things to keep current operations going. Director Bell felt the cuts hit the Department too deep and that is why the increase is being asked for. The total budget comes in at about $27 million and includes a $125,000 appropriation from General Fund which is the only General Fund Appropriation in the entire $27 million budget. Director Bell stated the sportsmen provide the $27 million dollars, which is their hunting and fishing license money. That represents a $1 billion wildlife industry in the state. Director Bell stated he would challenge any other agency in the state that can provide that good of a return on its investment. If the Department is successful in getting the operating increase and/or the General Fund increase, the Department can move forward with that budget. If the amendment is not attached, this will be a budget that the Department can live with without cutting programs. Director Bell stated he was proud of the Department and their approach to the budget this year. This year’s budget request was below last year’s request and the Department spent $1 million less than appropriated. The Department is trying to take care of the state’s money and the money contributed by sportsmen.

Chairman Arvas clarified to the Commission that they are accepting this budget as presented by the previous Commission and this Commission will just have to be sure that the Department has done what is right. Chairman Arvas assured everyone that during the next budget process this Commission would be very much involved.

Director Bell mentioned it meant a great deal to the Legislature to have Commission members in attendance at the hearings. Chairman Arvas and Vice-Chairman Montoya will be attending.

House Bill 7 – General Appropriations Bill – This bill does 3 things that have a significant impact on the Department of Game and Fish. The Game Protection Fund consists of those revenues generated from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. Within the statutory construction it states very clearly that money deposited into the Game Protection Fund shall be guaranteed to those people buying hunting and fishing licenses, that the money cannot be used for anything other than the purposes described within Chapter 17. Chapter 17 is the state’s Game and Fish law. It contains specifics such as the Commission’s authority, what they can do, what kind of property they can own, what they can manage the property for, what type of expenditures, etc. Within that same law is a law called the Assent to the Act of Congress. In order to get the federal funding through Pittman/Robertson and Dingell/Johnson Act, commonly called the Sportfish and Wildlife Act, states must have agreed to assent to those acts of congress. In so doing, it is stated very clearly that the license money generated by the state agency may not be used for any purpose other than the administration of the agency. If that money is diverted to fund some other purpose, the federal government sees us in diversion of those funds.

As soon as they become aware of the diversion, they immediately freeze $8 million that comes to the state. This money funds the Department’s research, wildlife transplants, survey work, fish hatcheries, etc., It makes up $8 million of the Department’s $27 million budget. Within House Bill 7, there are 3 pieces of legislation that would put the Department into diversion. 1.) A request for $652,000 from the Game Protection Fund to be contributed to Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department for the building, operation and maintenance of a park at Eagle Nest Lake. Nowhere within Chapter 17 does it contain language that the Department can build a state park using Game Protection money. Furthermore it is diversion of funds if the Department provides money from the Game Protection Fund and gives it to another agency for purposes outside of Chapter 17. 2.) A request for $1,077,400 be made to Environment Department for the continued environmental remediation of the Terrero Mine. The Department is proposing the language be worked on and instead of making the appropriation to the Environment Department it be made to the Department of Game and Fish to be used for remediation of Terrero Mine. Terrero Mine is owned by the State Game Commission so monies can be used for maintenance of properties and projects owned and controlled by the State Game Commission. If that money is appropriated as in the current Appropriation Bill, the Department is once again in diversion. 3.) A request for $100,000 is made to the State Engineer for operation and maintenance of Ute Dam. This language can also be dealt with as long as it says the $100,000 shall be appropriated to the Department of Game and Fish to be used for Ute Dam. The Department has worked with the Bill sponsor, Senator Altamirano. There is also a companion bill to Senate Bill 2, which is the Senate’s version of the General Appropriations Act. Director Bell stated he has worked with the Senator and he has agreed to whatever necessary amendments are needed to correct this. The Department has also worked with Representative Coll who is the sponsor of House Bill 7. He is agreeable to the amendments but the Department is unclear of which avenues will be sought.

SB 59 – Shooting Artificial Game or Birds – This is an initiative being carried forward by the NM Conservation Officer’s Association. It makes it unlawful to shoot at artificial wildlife decoys, such as the “RoboDeer” decoy. It would give Department officers an opportunity to conduct decoy operations during the day. Currently, no law prohibits such action during the day as the law only applies to game animals shot from road or vehicle. This bill defines artificial wildlife as a game animal. This bill has been assigned to Senate Conservation Committee and a hearing date has yet to be scheduled.

The Department met with a bill sponsor yesterday that wants to carry forward a bill that would allow for any individual that wishes to fish with 2 poles anywhere in the state to do so provided they purchased a $3.00 second pole validation. Representative Regensberg from Mora County is wishing to carry this bill. The detriment to the resource is nil because there will still be bag limits. The money generated from the sale of a second pole stamp would be approximately $240,000.

Chairman Arvas felt the license fee increase should not go forward until the Commission receives more facts in order to better make judgments.

Director Bell stated that in the Governor’s Capital Request, an expenditure of $6.2 million from the Game Protection Fund be used for upgrading the mechanical works at Eagle Nest Dam to assure accurate and safe water delivery. The dam is currently undergoing an engineering study. It is not known if $6.2 million will be the total price. Director Bell mentioned there could be large dollar impacts to the Game Protection Fund and the further that the Department dips into the fund, the closer we come to needing a license fee increase.

Commissioner Riordan asked if Legislative approval was needed for the Commission to put forward a license increase. Director Bell stated yes. All license fees are set by statute. In order to raise the fees, Legislative approval is needed. Commissioner Riordan asked what the last day would be to have a bill introduced to the Legislature? Director Bell answered mid-February. Director Bell reiterated to all that they take very seriously the fact that the Department is an Executive Agency and that its role and mission is to carry out those initiatives set forth by the Governor. Commissioner J. Montoya asked Director Bell if the Pittman/Robertson and Dingell Johnson funds would become unavailable if there is a diversion? Director Bell stated that that was correct. Commissioner Henderson, on the diversion issue, voiced his concern of the monies going towards a state park and asked what sort of strategy was being considered? Director Bell answered that the only remedy is that they had to find funding other than monies from the Game Protection Fund.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 8. NM Department of Game and Fish Overview

Books with information containing the agencies overview were given to the Commission for review. Director Bell – “New Mexico was formerly a hunter’s paradise but the destruction of its resources for the last 50 years is like that of every other state in the union. There has been spoliation and waste, not only of the beautiful supply of wild animals and birds, but also of vast areas of prairie and mountain forage. Formally, nature administered wisely her conservation policies, she maintained equilibrium, but this equilibrium was long ago been disrupted and can no longer function unaided. It can never be restored to full unless the land is permitted to revert to its primitive state. Encroachment of economic development on the wilderness was in inevitable in the progress of civilization and man has destroyed the natural balance and must now maintain an artificial balance. He must combat wildlife disease. He must control predatory animals, forest fires and avoid range abuse. He must utilize surplus game in order to protect it from overproduction. Conditions necessary for the restoration and maintenance of wildlife are conducive to plant life supremacy. People are beginning to appreciate the value and beauty of wild creatures. Public sentiment and public support are the forces necessary to foil individual self-interest, which is the greatest hindrance to conservation. Public sentiment and public support are the forces necessary to promote the high ideals needed to aide nature in functioning properly. The importance of conserving natural resource, including game, reach beyond the state and involves the welfare of New Mexico’s sister states and that of the nation.”

Director Bell stated that this might sound like yesterday’s news or today’s headlines. Stokley Ligon wrote these words in 1927, they cannot be any truer today. The challenges before us are exciting. Director Bell stated he was proud to introduce to the Commission the Department that is going to carry them into that successful future.

The first order of business is to appoint a 7 member Commission by the Governor. Their duty is to appoint a Director. The Director then employees those people he or she feels necessary to carry out the provisions of Chapter 17, the wildlife laws of this state. The current full-time staff of the Department of Game and Fish is 286 employees. Among those are 131 Commissioned Law Enforcement Officers. They are required to attend the Department of Public Safety Academy, which is now a 20-week long training course. The Department is broken into a variety of divisions. They consist of the Division of Wildlife; Fisheries Division; Public Affairs Division; Law Enforcement Division; Administrative Services Division; Information Systems Division; Conservation Systems Division; Human Resource Division and the Administration. Four area offices are also maintained around the state. They include offices in Raton, Albuquerque, Rowell and Las Cruces. The Commission was encouraged to visit those respective offices and get acquainted with the staff and rely on them for assistance as appropriate in understanding the Department’s issues and concerns.

The State Game Commission is the landowner of 170,000 acres of prime wildlife habitat. Director Bell stated it is not an easy chore to manage that much acreage. It is fairly dispersed and ranges from small prairie-chicken areas to very pristine elk management areas. There is one thing lacking in the state and that is a high quality deer management area owned by the State Game Commission. There are waterfowl areas and 6 fish hatcheries. The hatcheries are located at Glenwood, Pecos, Red River, Parkview, Jemez and Santa Rosa.

An organizational chart of the Department showing its personnel, activities, functions and organizational structure was presented to the Commission. The Department generates its own revenue and operating budget and that revenue comes from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses.

An appropriation of $125,000 from the General Fund is used to fund portions of the Endangered Species Program. There are a number of highly qualified, very published biologists in Endangered Species. Charlie Painter has just recently been published in the Vipers and Pit Vipers book. Director Bell stated this was a very good book and encouraged the Commission to view it.

Director Bell went on to say that within the last few years the Legislature has adopted a performance based budget system. They have mandated that state agencies develop a Strategic Plan. The Department has completed its plan and Director Bell encouraged the Commission to review the plan because this would give them the opportunity to interact with the Department to advance changes they want to carry forward in order to implement the Governor’s initiatives. The Legislature looks at the Department’s Strategic Plan and the performance of its activities and outcomes. The Commission will need to review this plan and make changes if necessary for re-adoption. In the plan, they have asked each agency to break its agency down into different programs.

The Department has now created mandatory programs. They are: Sport hunting and Fishing; Conservation Services; Wildlife Damage and Nuisance Abatement; and Administration. When the Department submits its budget, it has to be tied to each program. Another phase within those programs are legislatively mandated performance measures which the Department is required to report on quarterly, bi-annually and annually. A few examples of current performance measures are: Provide 118,000 elk hunter days; assure that 80% of all special hunt drawing licenses are issued to resident hunters; assure there is less than 1% computer downtime; less than 1% error rate in processing of applications; complete 80 habitat projects; complete 39 recovery plans and studies of endangered and threatened species in the state; etc. The budget requires the Department to define what they are doing and make certain the activities being carried out are statutorily based and are in compliance with statutes.

The Department can sustain current operating levels until April 1, 2005. At that time the license fee increase needs to be in place. It is no longer feasible for the hunters and fishermen of this state to financially sustain the agency and its wildlife resources. This has to be resolved. When the Department did its long range budget, it was found that in order to sustain current operating levels, deer licenses will have to be increased by approximately $10.00 each year for five years and at the end of five years the Department will still have built up no cash reserves and would then require another fee increase at the end of five years. If the Department is to continue to grow its management and continue to do the best job possible, people other than hunters and fishermen will have to be relied upon to fund this agency. Otherwise, the Department will maintain an absolute flat budget, with no growth, ask for significant license fee increases and at the end of five years will ask for another increase. If the Department does not get an increase on April 1, 2005 the Department will not have sufficient operating funds to make it through that fiscal year.

Other items reviewed:

The Bear Canyon Lake Project in Silver City; completion of end-of-year budget; concerns on chronic wasting disease and whirling disease; mule deer management project called the STAMP Project; and future planned habitat studies.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 9. Schedule Next Commission Meeting Dates

Commissioner Pino asked if there was a minimum amount of meetings that were needed to be held by the Commission? Chairman Arvas requested Director Bell to give the Commission a format of what has happened in the past in terms of the number of meetings. Director Bell stated there is no requirement on the amount of meetings to be held. There are a few concerns however. At the next meeting the Commission will have to adopt its rules for Open Meetings for the State Game Commission. The current rules provide for a minimum of 10 days notice to be given. Any scheduling has to be well in advance of the 10 days in order to prepare material, get it distributed and advertise the meeting in newspapers. Meetings will have to be held in June and July for the submission of the 05 budget to Legislative Finance Committee and Department of Finance and Administration in October.

The Department has just completed the big game review process and has set a Big Game Regulation for the next two years. However, as modifications are needed for the hunting seasons for the fall of 04, the latest date for final action by the Commission would be October.

Commissioner Riordan asked when the Commission was looking at discussing license fee increases. Commissioner Riordan’s concern was missing the ability to introduce a bill to the Legislature this session. Chairman Arvas stated he would like to meet with the Governor’s Legislative Team first to see what the story is first before proceeding. After that is done, the license fee increase will be addressed.

The Commission decided to hold its next meeting on March 6, 2003 in Santa Fe, New Mexico

AGENDA ITEM NO. 10. Closed Executive Session

Chairman Arvas entertained a motion to enter into Closed Executive Session pursuant to Section NMSA 10-15-A (H-2, H-7 and H-8) of the Open Meeting Act in order to discuss limited issues of personnel matters, litigation and land acquisition.

MOTION: Commissioner Alfredo Montoya moved to enter into Closed Executive Session pursuant to statute. Seconded by Commissioner Guy Riordan.

Director Bell called the roll:

Commissioner Henderson Yes

Commissioner Alfredo Montoya Yes

Commissioner Jennifer Montoya Yes

Commissioner Peter Pino Yes

Commissioner Guy Riordan Yes

Commissioner Leo Sims Yes

The motion carried.

Director Bell stated the Commission is now in Closed Executive Session.

Chairman Arvas entertained a motion to enter back into Open Session and stated that the matters discussed in the Closed Executive Session were limited to the items on the agenda for the closed session and no action was taken in the closed session.

MOTION: Commissioner Alfredo Montoya moved to enter back into Open Session. Seconded by Commissioner Riordan.

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

MOTION: Commissioner Alfredo Montoya moved to fill the vacant attorney position and that Mr. Jim Larp be retained as the Department’s attorney. Seconded by Commissioner Riordan.

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

Director Bell officially announced his retirement scheduled for later this year, the specific date to be determined. Director Bell stated it would not be prior to July and it would be his pleasure to continue to serve with this Commission and Department assuring a smooth transition.

MOTION: Commissioner Riordan moved to adjourn. Seconded by Commissioner Sims.

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

Meeting was adjourned at 1:25 PM.

Respectfully Submitted:

___________________________________ _________________________

Larry G. Bell, Secretary to the Commission Date

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

___________________________________ __________________________

Tom Arvas, Chairman Date

New Mexico State Game Commission