UPDATED: April 26, 2004

Western New Mexico University
Light Hall Auditorium
1000 West College Avenue
Silver City, New Mexico 88062
April 7, 2004
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


AGENDA ITEM NO. 1. Meeting Called to Order.
Meeting called to order at approximately 9:15 a.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2. Roll Call.
Director Thompson called Roll:
Chairman Riordan – Present
Vice-Chairman Alfredo Montoya – Absent
Commissioner Arvas – Present
Commissioner Henderson – Present
Commissioner Jennifer Montoya – Present
Commissioner Pino – Present
Commissioner Sims – Present
Director Thompson stated a quorum was present.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. Introduction of Guests.
Chairman Riordan introduced guests in the audience. Director Thompson introduced 1 employee in a new role with the Department, Luke Shelby: Assistant Director-Resource Programs & Area Operations.
Members and guests in the audience (approximately 100) introduced themselves.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4. Approval of Minutes (January 15, 2004).
MOTION: Commissioner Arvas moved to accept the Minutes of the January 15, 2004 State Game Commission Meeting as presented. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. Approval of Agenda.
MOTION: Commissioner Arvas moved to accept the Agenda for the April 7, 2004, New Mexico Game Commission Meeting as presented. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
Commissioner Riordan affirms with Shawn Brown, Esq., NM Attorney General’s Office, that Executive Session would be convened at approximately 11:30 a.m.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. Consent Agenda.
§ Revocations
§ Quarterly Depredation Report
Dan Brooks The Department provided list of people that have been properly noticed pursuant to Revocation Rule 19.31.2.
MOTION: Commissioner Henderson moved to approve the Department’s recommendation on revocation assessment under Revocation Rule 19.31.2 NMAC. Commissioner Arvas seconded the motion.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
R. J. Kirkpatrick We only had 3 complaints. Most of our complaints center on agricultural production and therefore, third quarter doesn’t usually result in a lot of complaints.
R. J. Kirkpatrick provided a brief summary of depredation program for 3rd quarter FY ’04. The most predominant critter that causes trouble this time of year might be raccoons. We had a couple of complaints that had to do with raptors that were kind of unique. In both of those instances we referred the complaints to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to handle as they have the jurisdiction over those critters.
Commissioner Riordan and Commissioner Sims asked about bear and mountain lion complaints and how they were handled.
R.J. Kirkpatrick Bear complaints typically are in the first quarter of our fiscal year, July, August, September. Mountain lion complaints aren’t centralized in any location in the state. They’re scattered throughout. They vary anywhere from lions eating livestock in rural parts of New Mexico to lions laying around poolside in people’s yards in the east mountains of Albuquerque. Problem bears and mountain lions are drugged and relocated to wilder places.


AGENDA ITEM NO. 7. Game Commission Affirmation of Otero Mesa Conservation.
Presented by Game Commissioner Members. - State Game Commission members considered adopting an affirmation of their support to implement Governor Richardson’s executive direction to provide protections for flora and fauna in the Otero Mesa region.
Commissioner Henderson I asked that this item be put on the agenda in part because it is an important issue for New Mexicans. It’s clearly an important issue for this Governor who has taken a bold stand. It’s also an important issue for the Game Commission because we’ve been directed to manage wildlife in the Otero Mesa area in a way that is protecting that resource for the citizens of New Mexico so I wanted to have the Commission publicly reaffirm the Governor’s position, and his directive.
MOTION: Commissioner Henderson moved that the State Game Commission affirm its support for Governor Richardson’s executive direction to provide maximum protection for wildlife resources in the Otero Mesa system within statutory authorities provided to the Commission. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 8. Department and Interagency Mexican Wolf Management Activities.
Presented by Chuck Hayes. - The Department presented an update of Mexican wolf-related management actions and the Department’s level of participation in these activities. The Department has been requested to sign an interagency Memorandum of Understanding for the Mexican wolf reintroduction project. The Department presented a summary and description of responsibilities under the MOU, and sought Commission direction regarding Department’s action for the MOU and its effort in the reintroduction project. Gave a basic overview of some of the history of more recent Mexican wolf management in New Mexico in terms of the reintroduction project, the current field status and the question that we are really asking and seeking some guidance from the State Game Commission. The Mexican gray wolf is a native species to New Mexico. The Mexican wolf was extirpated from the state by the 1980’s or before. The gray wolf is listed as an endangered animal both under the federal Endangered Species Act and under the New Mexico Wildlife Conservation Act. The actual listed entity is the gray wolf within the southwest distinct population segment. Today, in talking about management of the reintroduction project, I’m personally talking about Canis lupus baileyi. An Environmental Impact Statement completed in 1996 by the Fish and Wildlife Service considered several different options including natural re-colonization and the probability that wolves would re-establish themselves within this area through natural re-colonization. We evaluated those alternatives and what came out of the EIS among other things, was a preferred alternative that included designation of experimental population. A federal rule allows a population within a certain area to have a different level of protection than if just normally listed under the Endangered Species Act. The rule allows for things such as take in certain situations. Another important component of that EIS is it did call for compensation for livestock losses through a third party. This is not part of the rule because this is actually done through Defenders of Wildlife. I will tell you that this was for confirmed kills that were found and identified. The other thing to remember here is that this federal rule, which is a federal process published in the Federal Register, contains things like the boundary for the population. Those define how direct releases, first-time releases may only occur in the primary recovery area, which is in Arizona and then can disperse or be relocated to New Mexico. The EIS modeled mule deer as being the most likely prey to be used by Mexican wolves within this area. Some of the concerns were regarding depredation, management of depredation, and the requirement for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to respond to these as a wildlife manager. The record of decision on the EIS was signed in March 1997, and it became clear that Fish and Wildlife Service had made the decision to go forward with the re-introduction, and Arizona Game and Fish Department was on board as a cooperator. The offer was in part based on some of the concerns expressed by the State Game Commission and the Department to give the Department an opportunity to express its concerns, not just 1 time but as a program report regarding prey to help insure that management went forth in a way that was consistent with the Department’s desires both for prey and regarding their constituents. There was a feeling that this was an unfounded mandate to some degree. This offer came from the Fish and Wildlife Service with an offer to establish an agreement that would provide funding to the Game and Fish Department for its work regarding Mexican wolves. So, there are actually 2 agreements offered up: 1 generally to fund responsibilities and 1 for money transfer. These were brought to the State Game Commission, and the State Game Commission directed the Department to participate in these and sign this agreement; however, it did so without changing its position of opposition to reintroduction over all. In 1998 reintroduction began in Arizona in a primary recovery area and New Mexico began to get wolves on a permanent basis starting in 2000. That was partly from dispersal of wolves in Arizona as the population called for initial releases into Arizona, then dispersal into New Mexico and also from the translocation of some wolves that had been recaptured from Arizona, wolves that had gotten into situations either in and around urban or developed areas, had had some kind of conflicts and were captured, removed, and re-released into the Gila wilderness. Since that time, we’ve probably had an average of 2 packs in New Mexico. Under that 3-way agreement, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish agreed to provide a full-time member to the interagency field team. In 2000, the activity level sort of kicked up involved monitoring, and tracking radio-collared wolves, finding out where they are, finding out what they’re doing, are they breeding, staying in 1 place, moving around, having pups, what kind of prey are they using? Some of this is just disseminating information, communicating with the Forest Service, when they move to different parts of the forest. Currently there are probably 50-60 wolves in the wild. This is based on about 20 radio-collared wolves. Not every animal is radio-collared but radio collars are distributed among different groups of wolves, so by having 1 in the group we’re able to follow them again. There are both collared and un-collared lone wolves who may join some of these other groups, and they may be seen on occasion through telemetry or other means. The EIS analyzed the impacts and had an objective of reaching 100 wolves within the recovery area, on both sides of the border, the blue-range recovery area, Arizona-New Mexico, within 8-9 years. We’re at about 6 years, with about 50-60, so we’re still in the growing phase. What are wolves doing in the wild in terms of their biology and their behavior? They are giving birth in the wild. We’ve had a couple of generations born in the wild. There are 8 packs that are expected to give birth to pups in the wild this year, probably within the next month or so. They’re preying largely on wild prey. From SCAT analysis studies that have been done, about 77% of the prey identified to date has been elk. That’s probably largely due to what’s available.
Commissioner Riordan Have we had many kills from lions?
Chuck Hayes One, in Arizona and we’ve got about 3 groups in New Mexico at this point using the Gila Wilderness. They’ve probably used areas and territories including both wilderness and areas across the boundary. Since 1998, 1 member of the interagency field team, and a representative of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Management Advisory Group, provided feedback. That group was replaced by a state or a state/tribally-led effort. Under the revised MOU, the states and tribes manage the day-to-day, on-the-ground reintroduction process for Mexican Wolves. The role of the Fish and Wildlife Service is overseeing reintroduction, insuring that what’s going on in terms of reintroduction is getting us to recovery, down listing and delisting. Several entities have already signed this MOU including Arizona Game and Fish, Fish and Wildlife Service, White Mountain Apache Tribe, U.S. Forest Service, 2 counties from Arizona who are also available to sign this, and New Mexico Department of Agriculture. Game and Fish being involved directly has more history managing wildlife specifically, managing prey populations in the local area, knowledge of what goes on at certain times of the year, persons/permittees, who needs to be contacted, what kinds of things we can expect to happen. That would be a real benefit from the point of view that if this is successful, eventually we will have down listed and delisted Mexican wolves and it will be only the state who is responsible for managing, just like we manage other predators. We do feel it would take increased resources to gear up and handle this. We have looked at some alternative mechanisms for funding and none of those are in place right now. We do have money that we get from the Fish and Wildlife Service but we don’t expect that that is going to cover it by itself. We seek new and additional funding sources. Those are some of the things we wanted to present to you. What we need some guidance on is signing the MOU and how do we respond to our co-operators who have asked us for our participation.
Commissioner Arvas One of the concerns that I have is that everything that I’m reading points to the Fish and Wildlife Service, as a result of their management effort, as not resolving some of the problems that haven’t been resolved in states like Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, and I’d like your feeling as to whether or not you feel that the Fish and Wildlife Service is holding up their share of the burden?
Chuck Hayes In New Mexico and Arizona we’ve had a history of working fairly closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service and we’ve always had the opportunity to convey our positions to them in wolf management. That doesn’t necessarily mean that our opinions have translated into how things are managed on the ground. We’ve disagreed in some cases and some things have fallen to the Fish and Wildlife Service. There are some things that no matter what we think, are essentially federal processes and done under the Endangered Species Act, there are some things that even if we have a different position, we still have to go through the federal process to get those achieved and implemented and the fact that we are in the lead on day-to-day implementation may not necessarily mean that things are radically different in terms of how they’re implemented in some cases. Commissioner Arvas What does that mean as far as your opinion as to whether or not Fish and Wildlife Service has held up their part of the bargain? If we’re going to be a player in this, obviously we want to be a player and we have to be a player, then I’ve got to have at least some feeling of confidence that we’re just not stepping into something where the major player, Fish and Wildlife Service, isn’t going to do their part.
Chuck Hayes In terms of cost, wolf management is expensive and what’s expensive is trying to be responsive to concerns of folks that are out there tracking wolves and doing intensive removal or active management, hazing, or trying to get them moved elsewhere. I think that to the extent that there are more resources available and we can be more responsive, is a good thing. We expect the Fish and Wildlife Service to continue to be an active and contributing agency.
Commissioner Arvas There are seemingly some individuals in the Fish and Wildlife Service that are making some random comments. Joe Fontaine, the Assistant Wolf Recovery Coordinator for Fish and Wildlife Service said: “Wolf populations are having no significant affect on big game populations.” Another statement here that “U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has 10 hotlines to report illegally killed wolves and only 3 hotlines to report livestock killed by wolves.” We have a responsibility to the ranching community. What I don’t want to do is get involved in a deal where we have to tell them that it is not our fault. As you are probably aware, the Defenders of Wildlife have stepped up to the plate. They’ve paid $200,000 plus for illegally killed livestock. There are some problems there that I’ve been assured by 1 member of the Fish and Wildlife Service that they’re going to take New Mexico’s complaints more seriously than maybe they have in other states. I just wanted your level of confidence that that’s going to happen.
Chuck Hayes Well, this position about a state lead does not suggest that we want to kick the Fish and Wildlife Service out. We strongly feel we need their assistance, we need those field folks, we need to draw on the resources available to the Fish and Wildlife Service and we know the state doesn’t have the resources to deal with it completely. So, we really want to keep them involved and tap into those resources and maybe with us having the lead, we can have more influence on some of these kinds of things you’re saying.
Chairman Riordan Can you tell me what the impact is on elk and deer, what the genders and ages are of prey taken by the existing wolves we have in New Mexico?
Chuck Hayes I can’t give you that kind of information. What’s been done is primarily scat analysis. There was modeling done on that prior to the wolves being introduced. The modeling was based on deer being the primary prey and that’s not what we observed through scat analysis. Some things have been done in terms of flights in winter geared specifically to actually finding prey on the ground. But we still don’t have specific answers to those kinds of questions.
Chairman Riordan I think we have to have some kind of accountability as to how many elk and deer the wolves are killing so that we can do our jobs in the Department on regulating our wildlife. We’ve got to bring science into this. We can’t just arbitrarily go out there and say we have “x” amount of wolves, but we don’t know what they’re eating and how many they’re eating. We have to set our game and fish policies with a little more accuracy based on the information that we get.
Chuck Hayes Modeling was done based on 100 wolves in the recovery area and having had 100 for 5 years and we’ve had about 2 packs in New Mexico since 2000, the number of elk they take clearly is less than what’s been modeled and frankly less than we can detect in our surveys. We could use some better and more updated information. If it’s in the interest of the Commission, the Commission could ask us to go revisit that model, go revisit the inputs, and develop a better estimate.
Commissioner Henderson I think it’s safe to say that historically New Mexico has been less than an enthusiastic partner in wolf reintroduction and I hope that by signing this MOU we change that public perception. Wolf reintroduction is not going to go away until they’re recovered. I think we need to be a player and so I hope that this will demonstrate that to some degree. I believe that we need to be careful about how we fund wolf reintroduction. I’m not comfortable with Game Protection Funds being used for this program. That leaves a couple of other options out there--federal funding or private funding. Without our commitment, neither of those funding sources will be interested in supporting our efforts. I think that this is a demonstration on our part that we want to fully participate in the program. We want federal support financially and biologically, and we want private support. It’s going to take all of those elements to successfully reintroduce the Mexican Wolf so I think that this is an affirmative step forward.
Public Comment
Joel Alderete New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau. The Livestock Bureau was always opposed to the reintroduction of the wolf but understand that you have to do what you need to do to participate. A lot of the questions that you’ve brought up are some of our big concerns—the MOU more than anything. You really need to take a look at some of these states that are having problems getting control from the federal government. When you take federal money there’re always strings attached. One question I have is does the state have recovery plan put together on the state level?
Chuck Hayes There’s not a state recovery plan for the Mexican Wolves. There is a 1982 Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan that was written that contained the objective of 100 wolves within a geographic area of a certain size. The federal recovery plan is in the process of being rewritten.
Joel Alderete I highly recommend that you revamp that and on the state level just to keep up with what we’re doing. When talking about funding, when you take over more responsibilities and you do something that somebody doesn’t like, you need to be ready for that litigation.
Caren Cowan With New Mexico Cattle Growers. Regarding the 3-year review—I think it’s very fearful to take on additional responsibility when those questions aren’t answered.
Ken Swaim Outfitter from Beaver Head, New Mexico. I’m opposed to your signing this MOU. You’ve got another constituency here, the people that want to hunt your elk and deer are going to put all of your money and resources into building up a predator that’s going to take those species away from your constituency and hunters.
Jack Diamond I live at Winston, NM. I wanted you all to know that the people that are going to be impacted through this will be the ranching community, the outfitting community, the sportsmen of New Mexico and also the people that want to drive into the Gila to look at the elk and deer. The reasons not to sign this MOU are you’re setting yourselves up to be sued by both sides, the environmental community and also maybe the ranching community. Also, I don’t think you have the manpower.
Commissioner Arvas I don’t want the public to misunderstand what this Commission is trying to do. This action we’re anticipating isn’t whether or not we want the wolf to come or not. It’s an action that I believe we’re going to take as a result of the fact that the wolf is going to come whether we act or not and the consensus I hope the rest of the members have is that if we don’t sign this MOU, we’re not going to be at the table to make some of the choices and decisions that need to be made. I want the public to be aware of the fact that this vote is taken so that the Department and the Commission do have a voice in the reintroduction process, in the recovery process and hopefully in the management process.
John Boretsky Executive Director of the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides. We’ve seen statistically that the prey base for the wolf has turned out to be elk. Ironically, our prey base for the professional hunting industry is also elk. The Gila elk are a major drawing card for New Mexico. We’ve had the county manager of Catron County make the statement publicly that without guided hunting, Catron County would go under. You’ve heard my President say that he’s against you signing the MOU. You’re the only line of defense that our industry has.
Jason Dobrinski I’m the current President of the Grant County Area Cattle Growers Association. I’m also a rancher, a licensed guide, and a sportsman. One thing I have to remind everybody of is that the Endangered Species Act does not say that it is a legal requirement that recovery succeed. It says it has to be attempted. To me there is no demonstration that this program is going to succeed and for the Game Commission to accept this responsibility when in my opinion all it is, is a power play by the Fish and Wildlife Service to pass the buck and the responsibility but yet give you no authority to deal with them. I have a question, why does the State of New Mexico not have a wolf recovery plan? I’m really concerned now that the Commission is considering signing an MOU that says that we’re going to take an active lead on a day-to-day basis but you don’t even have a plan.
Dr. Lilly K. Rendt I want to answer your question about how much a wolf will eat. This is 1 pack of about 9 wolves so they don’t really consume that much. We have plenty of coyotes and wolves do go after coyotes. I’m glad to see at least the question come up, should you be involved or shouldn’t you because for years we’ve been dragging our feet on this and I’ve watched U.S. Fish and Wildlife mess up.
Michael Robinson I’m with the Center for Biological Diversity, a non-profit conservation organization located in Pinos Altos, NM. I want to speak to the failure of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to follow scientific recommendations in this reintroduction program and I believe that the assessment of wolf numbers and the growth in the population is unduly optimistic as a result of the failure of the agency to manage according to science. There are 18 radio-collared and monitored wolves in the wild today. In June, 2001, when the Fish and Wildlife Service received a contracted report from 4 independent scientists on this reintroduction program, there were 27 radio-collared and monitored wolves in the wild, so the only objectives index in the population is declining in the almost 3 years in the interim. Those 4 independent scientists who wrote an 86-page report recommended that this program be brought up to the standards of other endangered species recovery programs. This is the only endangered species recovery program in the United States in which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required as per rules in the Federal Register to remove wolves from the wild simply for them having established territories outside of their designated recovery area which in this case is the Gila and Apache National Forests. They don’t do that with wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. We’ve had numerous cases of wolves being controlled, removed from the wild, and in some cases killed for having crossed over a line when these were not depredating wolves. They weren’t causing a problem. Wolves that are re-released after recapture almost invariably the pack structure disintegrates and 1 of the reasons for the high level of mortality in this program is that individual wolves not accustomed to the new areas where they’re placed go about their separate ways and fare much more poorly than animals that are established packs and that know their areas and in some cases in better areas for them than when they’re placed under conditions that apparently aren’t very good for them. The other issue is livestock carcasses that are habituating wolves to regarding livestock as a prey. We’re creating the conflicts that we would all seek to avoid between wolves and livestock. If there’s any hope for recovery, interactions with livestock don’t have those same levels of protection, so I’ll conclude by asking this Commission if you’re going to get engaged on this deeper level, if you’re going to take on some of these responsibilities, do it right by the scientists.
Dr. Richard Becker I’m the President and past President of the Albuquerque Wildlife Federation. The Albuquerque Wildlife Federation supports the reintroduction of the Mexican Wolf and I want to publicly state that we also support public land ranchers. I think this whole program needs to be redesigned. What I’m suggesting you do is figure out how to go to congress. We need to have a program that’s going to support the ranchers. The long-term survival of this species is going to be based on the survival of the ranchers and what my argument is that the wolf may end up saving the rancher. I’m suggesting we come up with an incentive to help these ranchers cooperate with you and Fish and Wildlife to develop this program and make it succeed.
Becky Campbell I’m from the Gila Hot Springs Ranch. This is a problem that’s been shown to us, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re an outfitter or you’re a backpacker. The wolves come first and if there’s a den, there’re forest closures and they will continue to happen. I’m very concerned about this state being able to afford the millions of dollars that are being put into these wolves. I’m worried about how the other animals in this state, big game animals, birds or anything else. What will happen to their funding when they need the money?
Darry Dolan I’m a citizen of Grant County and I live in the Gila National Forest with a small number of stock. I just wanted to insert a reminder here that these are public commodities that we’re talking about. I support your becoming a signatory on the MOU.
Brenda Metz I live in Grant County. Often I’m thrilled when I see a wolf and that’s almost never. I did see F-800 and 3 weeks later I was told that she was killed. We have a unique opportunity, a treasure here that will in the long run boost the economy of this region. The integrity of the ecosystem depends on the top-level predator. It would be a fine thing for New Mexico to be a model, a leader in ecosystem recovery. I encourage you to sign the MOU.
Bob Wilson I’m a resident of Grant County. I just want to say that if we’re ever going to compete with the billion-dollar tourism industry of Yellowstone, it’s going to be very important that we protect the wolves and the free-flowing rivers here in our area. Has the New Mexico Department of Tourism been asked to sign on to this MOU?
Marcia Lamkin I wanted to strongly support the introduction of the Mexican Wolf in hope that you sign on to the MOU and do what you can to make the reintroduction successful.
David Lamkin I’m a retired mechanical engineering professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. The State of New Mexico and this Commission have a crucial role to play if the reintroduction is successful. My hope is that this Commission can take a positive-supporting role in the effort and try and influence revision of the recovery plan to remove the provisions that are inhibiting the recovery, in particular, the provisions that restrict the wolves from establishing territories outside the recovery zone, in particular, also the rule that prohibits the direct release into the actual forest.
Commissioner Henderson I made the comments yesterday that I appreciated the thoughtful and useful comments. I’ve been in a number of these public information situations that have not been particularly useful and speaking for myself as a Commissioner, this has helped me evaluate the ability of this Department to play a meaningful role in wolf reintroduction and that’s my greatest interest because it’s important that we have a key role in this program.
Commissioner J. Montoya Yesterday a least 100 people came to this auditorium and we had about 70 people speak publicly about their perceptions of the program and make recommendations to this Commission which is 1 of the strengths of having an increased role of the New Mexico Game and Fish in this program, our mandates are very clear solutions to benefit both wildlife and society. We’ve taken recommendations very seriously and we gave a lot of thought to the ideas that came forth. Having said that, the most important thing that the state can do is to help facilitate recovery of this animal so that the state can be a manager of the Mexican Wolf and be responsive to the citizens of New Mexico. That’s what we as Commissioners need to do to benefit wildlife and ecosystems, as well as the citizens of New Mexico. We’ll be a responsive agency once the animal reaches its recovery level.
MOTION: Commissioner J. Montoya moved that the State Game Commission stand in support of Mexican Wolf recovery and reintroduction in New Mexico, instruct the Director of the Department of Game and Fish to sign the Memorandum of Understanding regarding adaptive management of the Mexican Wolf, and direct the Department to work cooperatively with other agencies, tribes, and the public to investigate modification of the recovery plan and rule to describe expanded boundaries for recovery, to explore and negotiate recommendations of the Paquet recovery assessment in concert with practical and social considerations, to provide for direct releases into appropriate areas in New Mexico, and to report to the State Game Commission on progress with these efforts by 15 December 2004 and annually thereafter. Commissioner Arvas seconded the motion.
Commissioner Pino I know it’s difficult to make a decision because it’s something that deals with a lot of lives. It has a lot of impact. I can understand the complexities and the hard decision that we have to make but in trying to lead sometimes we’re forced to take positions so that we can have input. If we don’t give the Commission and the Department an opportunity to have a say and input, we would not be able to have an impact on how this program is implemented and a step in the direction of joining in the Memorandum of Agreement with the idea and thought that we could impact what happens with the program. We’re taking the appropriate steps with this motion.
Commissioner Sims I attended the meeting yesterday and as Commissioner Henderson said, I was impressed with the show of the people and the way that the people addressed the issues. Commissioner Pino is exactly right. For us to have a decision where we’re dealing with the wolf, this is a management plan that we need to adopt.
Commissioner Arvas This is a major step for the Department and the Commission and I have full faith and confidence in both parties that we’ll do the best job possible and hopefully a year from now we’ll be able to say that we did this the right way.
Chairman Riordan I think we as Commissioners, realize we have a tremendous responsibility in dealing with this particular issue. We realize the contributions that the ranching community makes to this state and it’s a great contribution. We realize what contribution the New Mexico guides and outfitters have for the state and the tourism dollars that they bring in and we also have a responsibility to the sportsmen. We also know we have a responsibility to you and we’re going to go ahead and deal with our responsibilities. We also have responsibilities to the wildlife. We have situations where we have imaginary lines that the wolf is supposed to know they’re not supposed to go over. We have a lack of common sense on a lot of things that are implemented right now and a lack of science. I can assure all of these participants here that we take our responsibilities very diligently and we’re going to try to go ahead and address all of your concerns. The wolves are not coming, the wolves are already here and we need to be aware of that and that’s why we’re taking this action today on this MOU. I’d like to call the question.
Roll Call Vote:
Commissioner Arvas – yes
Commissioner Henderson – yes
Commissioner J. Montoya – yes
Commissioner Pino – yes
Commissioner Riordan – yes
Commissioner Sims - yes
Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 9. Revised Fee Schedule for Commercial Activities on Commission-owned Properties.
Presented by Jeff Pederson. - The Commission was asked to review and adopt a revised fee schedule for commercial activities occurring on Commission-owned properties. These activities included oil and gas development, utility easements, and communication towers. A recommendation for revision came from a special committee of Commission members working with industry representatives.
Jeff Pederson I’m a land and realty specialist for the Department of Game and Fish. A schedule was adopted at the January 2004 meeting but there were several subsequent questions regarding rates, terms and the public involvement process. It did hold a public input meeting on March 24 in Albuquerque. Commissioners Tom Arvas and Leo Sims did attend that meeting. There were many comments from industry representatives, some from sportsmen and livestock organizations. We do have a revised working proposal today that we believe represents the recommendations of the subcommittee of the Commission. This would be subject to any final recommendations and final Commission action. Oil and gas agreements where we don’t have the mineral interest on Commission land, the term could be up to 30 years rather than 20 years in the past. That’s certainly a change. Electric agreements would depend on the size of the service line and corridor. They would start at $2.50 a rod rather than $41 a rod. Well pads would be $7,000 instead of the $10,600 that was approved in January. Vibroseis surveys could be either per acre or per rod, per linear surveys and that is more consistent with industry standards. Pipeline agreements would depend on the size of the pipe and there are variations for that and would start at $35 per rod. I do need to point out that a typo has crept in. If you see electric line, and there are 4 of them, it should say $2.50 per rod, it shouldn’t be per foot per width. The next electric line would be 21 to 50 feet wide. It would be $5 per rod, $8.50 per rod, $10 per rod, so that it is not per foot per width on those 4 items. We want to make that quite clear. There would be a cost-of-living adjustment at the 15-year and 25-year mark.
Commissioner Sims There weren’t a lot of comments on some so if we could go through with what questions the audience has.
Jeff Pederson I would say that the first few navigation aids, industrial, fiberoptic subleases, microwave, broadcast there have been no suggestions between January and today on any changes to these, so those rates and terms would be exactly as they were in January. The other ones have been adjusted.
Public Comments
Caren Cowan New Mexico Cattle Growers. We appreciate the fact that you folks are willing to look at this issue and protect the resource. We are not anti-energy but we have to produce sustainable energy while taking care of the environment.
Keven Groenewold New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association. We were at the meeting on March 24 and our problems with the initial fee schedule really haven’t changed although they’re not as severe anymore. We can’t support this fee schedule because of the terms and because of the price. We borrow our money long-term, 35 years. We run on razor-thin margins in many of these areas that we’re talking about, we’re getting less than $100 per year per mile of line in margins. The uncertainty of several hundred dollars per mile in right-of-way fees is just something we can’t live with. We think the prices that have been set are unfair and are too high and quite frankly, we believe it’s bad public policy for the state to set terms on state lands that have such a high impact on rural people and rural areas. This won’t affect the people in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, or Las Cruces. It’s going to hurt us in rural areas. So those are the reasons that we can’t support your fee schedule.
Commissioner Riordan How does this fee schedule affect the average person trying to put a home out there on his ranch?
I thought this fee schedule was basically the same fee schedule we had with the exception of the duration of the term.
Keven Groenewold If you have to cross State Game Commission lands to get to this new entity for line extension, typically the total cost of the line extension will be borne by that customer. How can we charge them the cost of a right-of-way if we don’t know what the cost is going to be for another 1-15 years? They would normally pay those fees up front and we don’t know what those fees are.
Commissioner Riordan I don’t want to tell you how to do business but it’s common sense is what banks would do is they would go ahead and do a variable rate on the existing policy or the existing loan and then take a look at what needs to be charged 15 years down the road or whatever the case may be. As rates go up, the banks cover themselves. The rural electrics ought to be able to do something very similar to make sure you don’t have any economic impact on yourselves. We’re not saying we’re going to raise rates in 15 years.
Keven Groenewold I would agree with you except we got 1 other thing called the Public Regulation Commission. They set our rates. They set our line extension policies, and they tell us what we can charge and what we can’t charge, so a lot of those things are out of our hands.
Commissioner Sims Going back to your deal on your 35-year term lease, and that’s the reason these leases were put in at the 15 and 2-10’s. These lease renewals are your options and so basically, if you’re going to your financial institution, you’ve got a 35-year lease that’s your option and it could play the other way for you. In 15 years, if you no longer decide you don’t have to service that deal, then you’re out of a lease option you don’t need to be burdened with. All these lease rates are going to be tied to the cost-of-living increase, is that correct? That’s pretty predictable. If you look over the time the cost-of-living increase, banks and financial institutions understand that and it’s not like a big variance in your graph there and so that’s why we went back to this and your 35-year lease in raising these back to the original with the cost-of-living increase in those so financial institutions deal with that all the time.
Keven Groenewold One other point of clarification on those terms. We were unclear on the cost-of-living adjustment. If you look at the 1 that says $2.50 a rod with the cost of living at 15 and 25, what’s unclear is there just a cost of living escalator paid at that time or is it the $2.50 paid again, escalated over 15 years.
Commissioner Sims That would be in the cost of living at the 10-15 year term.
Keven Groenewold So if the cost of living after 15 years had gone up 50%, we would pay 50% of the $2.50 a rod?
Commissioner Sims Correct.
Keven Groenewold So the normal 3% cost of living we’re looking at over a 35-year term of paying would double what these numbers are here. Roughly $5 a rod, that comes out to about $1,600 per linear mile. You’re now talking a right-of-way fee. We plant a pole every 400-500 feet. We’re going to put a hole in the ground about 10-12 times every mile.
Commissioner Sims We understand that but in every so many feet, it does take Department time to oversee that. There’s also a gate and a right-of-way that this travels up and down those lines that we have to oversee. We have administration costs and in field costs that I don’t think we need to be burdened with.
Commissioner Arvas This Commission has expressed publicly more than once that we’re going to have a real open mind when it comes to these rates and fees. Next year, or the year after, I can assure you that if something isn’t working, we’ll change it for you. We never thought of trying to get rich on this rate schedule. All we’re trying to do is pay our administrative expenses and we’re also trying to update the out-dated fee schedule that we inherited.
Keven Groenewold The impact these fees cause is disproportionately being paid by rural people, and they’re the people that are least able to afford it.
Chairman Riordan The fee hasn’t changed for the rural people out there who are just trying to put up a line.
Keven Groenewold Right, but based on these, it will change.
Chairman Riordan It will change in 15 years possibly.
Keven Groenewold The next time we go out and put up a line, we won’t pay these fees?
Commissioner Sims Yes. This is the new fee structure.
Keven Groenewold Which, I believe, are higher than the fees we’re paying today.
Commissioner Sims There’s nowhere that you guys are paying higher fees than these, is that correct?
Keven Groenewold Yes, there are places—on tribal lands.
Chairman Riordan So you’re paying higher fees on tribal lands than you are on state lands?
Keven Groenewold Yes.
Commissioner Sims No other private land you’re paying higher fees on?
Keven Groenewold I have a couple of managers that can better answer this. To my knowledge, on private lands we pay zero to get right-of-way or to get electricity in rural areas, part of the deal is you’ve got to come up with the right-of-way.
Commissioner Sims If you’re crossing private lands to service another customer, you’re paying zero.
Keven Groenewold To my knowledge, I don’t think we’re paying anything, are we Chuck?
Commissioner Sims Are you condemning it?
Keven Groenewold For the most part, we pay no right-of-way fees across private lands.
Commissioner Sims That’s not the case in Lea County.
Commissioner Riordan If somebody’s going to go across my property for an easement they’re going to pay just the same way I’ve paid.
Commissioner Arvas Would your concerns be reduced Keven, if we tied the escalation to the Consumer Price Index?
Keven Groenewold The problem is we’d like to know up front the day we sign the lease—
Commissioner Arvas The reason the Commission and the Department got into the problem that they had of an outdated fee schedule is as a result of the outdated term that was present before.
Chuck Pinson I’m the General Manager for Central Valley Electric Cooperative out of Artesia. I’d like to speak in support of what Keven has said and you know primarily that we oppose these fees because we feel like they’re excessive and also the escalation approach is going to be very difficult to administer and account for. Under the escalated approach, we’re going to have to estimate that and try to account for that over that 35-year term because whenever we extend a power line, we expect it to be there for at least 35 years. One of my other concerns is to the tiered approach, if we don’t renew that after 15 years based on an oversight on our part, that we could be found in trespass by the Game and Fish Department, which was also a concern voiced on the State Land Office committee.
Chairman Riordan I think politically we wouldn’t find you in trespass. We understand the contributions you make to the community and I don’t think anybody is going to kick you off the state Game and Fish lands in 15 years.
Chuck Pinson Under the Federal Land Management Policy Act, rural electric cooperatives are exempt from paying right-of-way fees on federally administered properties. The federal governments understands that it is very difficult to extend power lines to our rural customers out there in the middle of no where. As a result, those right-of-way fees are free on federally administered properties.
John J. Benard From Lea County Electric. We do at times charge for right-of-way on private land but it’s $10 a hole and it’s about 11 holes per mile and it comes to about $110 per mile costs. The fees that you’re talking about now with the escalation charge, that comes to about $1,000 a mile which is quite a bit more than what we’re paying, that comes to about 10% or so of the cost of construction per mile for residential customers, and as you know, we provide electricity to the rural members of our community, and this escalates the cost of construction. The escalation charge is a concern too because that’s something that comes in the future. We don’t know how that’s going to affect us. We’d much rather get our fees up front and have the people that are using it pay for those right now.
Sonia Phillips I represent Xcel Energy. We serve southeastern New Mexico, and while our issues are a little bit different because we’re an investor-owned utility, we do serve the co-ops. In Eddy County, we do pay a little more on the right-of-way fees but what we are concerned about are going to be the larger right-of-way fees for the larger areas because what we would be doing when we cross Game and Fish lands would be transmission lines, so that’s 100 feet more and you do lay out a lot of money up front, capital. Our problems are with the length of time. The term is very much a concern of ours.
Commissioner Sims What general terms do you have on your lines now?
Sonia Phillips For 35 years.
Commissioner Sims Well, this is giving you a 35-year term.
Sonia Phillips But this is with the cost-of-living escalation and that’s the part we don’t know. If we knew exactly what it was, then we wouldn’t have a problem and it’s difficult to project those costs when you don’t know what it is.
Chairman Riordan One more time for clarification purposes, banks are able to historically look and see what the cost of living has been over the past 10,15, 20 years. They use that in their calculations and all investment officers, all underwriters utilize those numbers to forecast where they need to be when they’re out issuing bonds for rural electric co-op’s.
Sonia Phillips That’s true but to the extent that we are regulated and the PRC sets our rates and how we can recover costs, that’s all in the mix too.
Chairman Riordan If the PRC does something that’s detrimental to our co-op’s and is not livable, come back to us and we’ll deal with that.
Deborah Seligman Director of Governmental Affairs for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. NMOGA represents over 350 oil and gas either exploration companies or companies involved with the oil and gas industry. Currently, our membership accounts for 99% of the oil and gas produced in the state. NMOGA cannot support the proposed schedule that has most recently come out by the Game and Fish Department staff as endorsed by the Commission. Essentially, the reasons we cannot support are terms. The breakout of the oil and gas activities we feel to be very unclear and the cost of the right-of-ways.
Tom Brown I sat down and calculated on what a 20-foot right-of-way on non-mineral interest right-of-way would be at $40 a rod. That calculates out on the mile basis and then dividing it back to $5,280 an acre. It just seems somewhat exorbitant to us to pay a right-of-way fee that would calculate out to $3,379,000 for a section.
Commissioner Sims If we are doing calculations out about what the actual cost on an acre is, there are a few problems. You’re going to go take property that was purchased for specific needs and take a portion of that out and take that portion. If I understand the calculations if it’s $5,280, at $40 a rod and let’s say it’s $50 an acre, you would divide that by 100 and actually go from 155 divided by 40, you want to pay 4 cents a rod.
Tom Brown No, not at all. I’m just saying that on a 4-acre basis it seems to me that $5,280 an acre on disturbed surface for right-of-way on the 20-foot right-of-way is exorbitant. The problem that we have is and that you don’t have enough acreage that we’re really going to end up paying you. We feel that these figures will be the point of departure for any further negotiation with anybody anywhere and I can tell you that the goat pasture that we utilize on a lot of our locations and a lot of our pipelines in southeastern New Mexico is a far cry from $5,000 an acre.
Chairman Riordan Commissioner Arvas brought up a point that I think deserves to be explored. Would the electric co-ops and the oil and gas be comfortable if we used historical cost-of-living increases, say for the past 15 years, and capped the increase in 15 years and what our historical cost of living has been. That way all of you are dealing with a known number.
Tom Brown I certainly realize that that would tie down where we are as far as financing is concerned. I still don’t like it and that’s my opinion.
Commissioner Arvas Keven, let me give you some fixed figures. At the end of 15 years, there’d be a 30% increase that will be applicable then for the next 10 years.
Chairman Riordan That’s based on historical.
Commissioner Arvas Right, 2% a year.
Keven Groenewold That would fix part of the problem when we give an estimate to customers based on our line extension tariff at the Commission. That would help nail that down where we could give more of a firm price now. We would know what the total dollar was but it still doesn’t fix what we believe our prices were beginning with that are too high.
Commissioner Arvas That’s better than none.
Chairman Riordan Like I said, we’re willing to work. Do we have a motion?
Commissioner Pino Those of you that came up to make a presentation, what are you paying currently to go through Game and Fish lands?
Chuck Pinson The power lines that we have that are crossing Game and Fish properties for existing right-of-ways were granted free of charge.
Commissioner Pino What kind of fees do you pay for New Mexico states lands through the Land Commissioner?
Chuck Pinson Right now, for a 30-foot-wide right-of-way easement is $3.50 a rod for a 35-year easement.
Commissioner Pino How wide of a right of way?
Chuck Pinson 30 feet. That’s Central Valley—Lea County may pay something different. What we try to do through our working group was to make those uniform statewide. That’s what came out from the recommendation and that’s what’s going to be published. Hopefully, what the effective rule is going to be, $3.50 for a 30-food-wide easement.
Commissioner Pino There are no escalation clauses in those agreements with the Land Commissioner?
Chuck Pinson No.
Commissioner Pino When the gentleman was saying $5,000 plus per acre, I’m wondering whether he was figuring in the width because the rod is distance and I don’t think width. I think it’s just the length and the reason why the figures go up with the width is because they’re wider than width and the more you have to pay per rod.
Tom Brown I calculated those based on the dollar price per rod per mile times 24-foot width. Calculated historic footage and divided that out by the square footage on a scale calculated per acre and divided across that way.
Commissioner Pino The reason we have the different figures is just to the width of the right-of-way. We don’t figure in the width of the right-of-way to come up with the final figure, right? The final figure is just $1 per rod.
Jeff Pederson Again, these are recommendations from the sub-committee of the Commission not necessarily the staff at this point. There are different rights-of-way widths required for the different types of line and there are some state and federal regulations on that, so under federal rules, if you had a certain line powerage, you would need to have maybe 20 feet. To serve a community or to serve some other higher powered purpose, you would need 50-100 feet wide and so you need more land dedicated to that right of way and then the amount per rod would go up; so, at $2.50 per rod that would be less than 21 feet wide. At $5.00 per rod, you could go up to 50 feet across. At $8.50 per rod, you could go all the way up to 100 feet wide, so they are related to the length and width on this schedule you have before you.
Commissioner Pino On the electrical lines, you indicated that the $2.50 per rod, and that’s what I’m saying, you’re not taking the rod times the width, you’re just putting a per rod figure for the width. The width comes with that per rod figure already.
Jeff Pederson The width comes over where the width could be anywhere up to 21 feet wide.
Commission Pino Right, for $2.50 a rod and that’s the only fee.
Jeff Pederson Yes.
Commissioner Pino You don’t times that figure with the actual width and I think that’s what the gentleman was doing with the pipeline.
Jeff Pederson He was making a calculation of what an acre of land might be worth if you essentially covered the whole land with electric right of way at a certain rate but I don’t want to speak for Mr. Brown beyond that.
Tom Brown What I did simply was to take the proposal you have in hand that shows non-mineral interest on right of way at $40 per rod for a 20-foot right of way, what you’re giving us is the ability to use 20 feet wide and I just calculated it on a mile and calculated the cost and backed into a per acre that that would amount to and that’s the way we arrived at $5,280 an acre. When we’re granted that right-of-way, we’re able to use whatever that 20 feet we need to dig, to lay, to finish construction to cover and to maintain in that right of way that pipeline so, in essence, you’re granting us on a 20-foot for mile of right of way it would be 2.424 acres.
Commissioner Sims moved that we adopt the fee schedule as described, to authorize the Commission chairman to sign without further Commission action any lease, easement, similar agreement that incorporates the elements of the approved fee schedule as otherwise consistent with the resource review performed by the Department staff. In saying that, I would like to explain what I’ve described in that. We had concerns too with the oil and gas industry and I don’t remember if we had with the power line industry also, the time frame that these leases could—when they needed them, the time frame that has to go through the Department, my suggestion would be, as I mentioned, allow the Chairman to the Commission to sign any lease action in that way to expedite the time frame on that. Let me restate my motion.
Commission Sims I move to adopt the fee schedule as described except for on the terms to fix the figure of 30% increased based on the COLE 15 years; so it would be a 30% increase in 15 years and then an additional 25% at the end to a 35-year term.
Commissioner Arvas Is that right, Jeff? Would that satisfy what happened with the problem?
Keven Groenewold Yes.
Commissioner Arvas I second that motion.
Commissioner Henderson I voted against this similar motion last time and my concern then was I wasn’t convinced that there was enough of a conversation and dialogue between the Commission staff and the public. I’ve been satisfied that we have had that conversation. I appreciate the time the Commissioners have put into it. These things never make everyone happy. I’ve learned that the hard way being on this side of the table, but I am now satisfied that we’ve done our due diligence in terms of public input.
Commissioner Pino At the January meeting, there was an oil and gas company that had the applications for well pads as I remember. At the end, he indicated that he was withdrawing those applications. I would imagine that they were involved in some of the dialogue and some of the discussion with the revised fee schedule. Did they come, and if so, are they willing to resubmit those applications for consideration by the Commission?
Jeff Pederson Those applications are on a future action item on today’s agenda.
Commissioner Pino Were they involved in the hearings or the discussions of the revised fee schedule?
Commissioner Sims In the meeting on the 24th? That would have been Conoco-Phillips.
Commissioner Sims They weren’t there.
Jeff Pederson I don’t know that Conoco-Phillips came to the March 24 meeting, per se. They certainly got a written comment and I think there were some conversations between that representatives and 1 of our staff members as this schedule did develop, so they had some input.
Commissioner Pino The well pads—was that adjusted downward from January?
Jeff Pederson Yes it was. The January fee set by the Commission was $10,600 per well pad. The proposal before you today is $7,000 per well pad.
Deborah Seligman I just want to let you know that as the representative for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, that includes Conoco-Phillips. The Game and Fish Department staff has been working with us. Commissioner Pino, please note that your Chairman put a moratorium on what was passed at your January meeting until we could have this. A senator requested the legislation setting appraisal/market value as collected fees for our easements. He is the 1 that requested that the Game and Fish continue to work with us with the fee schedule in place prior to your August meeting to put a moratorium on these leases if you have to. Conoco-Phillips has been in negotiations with the Department but they also stand opposed to the fee schedule that you’re adopting.
Commissioner Sims Commissioner Pino, I think that we discussed that Conoco-Phillips and those locations would be under the old fee structure.
Chairman Riordan I think they were grand fathered in.
Director Thompson It will help to restate the motion because when the original motion was stated, there was an element to it that wasn’t indicated in the second.
MOTION: Commissioner Sims I would like to restate the motion to move to adopt the fee schedule as described except for the terms, and the terms being fixed at 30% of the initial fee for the first 10-year renewal and 25% of the initial fee for the second 10-year renewal and that the Chairman be allowed to sign without further Commission action, any lease, easement, or similar agreement that incorporates salient elements of the approved fee structure and is otherwise consistent with resource review performed by Department staff. Commissioner Arvas Second.
Roll Call Vote:
Commissioner Arvas – yes
Commissioner Henderson – yes
Commissioner J. Montoya - yes
Commissioner Pino – yes
Commissioner Sims - yes
Commissioner Riordan – yes
Motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Riordan As I said, if you have some significant problems on this, come back and address this. We’re open and thank you for working with us. I move to enter into a Closed Executive Session pursuant to Section 10-15-1 (H)(2)(7)(8) NMSA 1978, of the Open Meetings Act, to discuss for limited purposes personnel matters, litigation, and land acquisitions. Commissioner Sims Seconded.
Roll Call Vote:
Commissioner Arvas – yes
Commissioner Henderson – yes
Commissioner J. Montoya – yes
Commissioner Pino – yes
Commissioner Riordan – yes
Commissioner Sims - yes
Motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Riordan We’ve come out of Executive Session. The matters discussed in the Closed Executive Session were limited to the items on the agenda for the Closed Session. No action was taken in the Closed Session.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 10. Concept to Enhance Wildlife-Associated Recreation Opportunities.
Presented by Director Bruce Thompson. - Commission guidance was sought regarding development of a new concept termed Gaining Access Into Nature (GAIN). This approach, initially provided on selected State Game Commission properties, is intended to offer additional broadly based wildlife-associated recreation opportunities at different times and in different ways than presently available. This approach recognizes that people have multiple interests year round and that those interests can be positive for conservation development while stimulating local economic interests.
Basically, the GAIN approach has to do with a way of building wildlife associated recreational opportunity as a Conversation benefit, but also as an economic development tool and doing that through innovative increased opportunity for the public to engage in wildlife associated recreation. I’m going to be primarily directing this or focusing this on State Game Commission properties with the intent that it could bridge farther than that depending on future successes. The goal for this program is to add wildlife-associated recreational opportunity and also to offer new incentives to recreate outdoors. With recent legislation introduced in Congress, we’re finding that this is an even greater national endeavor because of recognition of people needing to improve their physical condition and that the increased outdoor recreation is being seen as a much more positive conservation tool. This can be done in a way that will stimulate local economic development. That is putting dollars in the pockets of people in various places around the state in the process of providing services. Certainly there is the ability to engage a diverse array of cooperators because, if nothing else, money talks, outdoor recreation talks, simply a lot of different stimuli to bring diverse partners into play. Also, it’s important that whatever we do, we certainly need to be conscious of the ways that we’re going to pay to administer any kind of activity we do including stimulating greater participation. Ultimately, whatever we do, certainly you as the State Game Commission and those that work with the Department of Game and Fish are always going to have interest and our responsibility is to conserve public trust wildlife and the habitat that they depend upon. We currently have a very effective process for allocating opportunities for hunters, anglers and to some degree, trappers, to appreciate their interest in wildlife. I want to put this in the context of wildlife-associated recreation, which is estimated at least a $900,000,000 economy in New Mexico and this is direct economy. This is not using economic multipliers, this is actually direct cash flow for activities or services and a little less than about $350,000,000 of that is associated with hunting, angling, and trapping, and the remainder is a variety of other kinds of interests that people have in appreciating wildlife. We know that there’s latent public interest in nature-oriented recreation. The approach that is presented for gaining access into nature includes several items. First, it’s important that there be some readily sought specialized opportunities that are identified, primarily on State Game Commission properties. Those kinds of opportunities should focus as much as possible toward local economic development. Not in a way that compromises the integrity of the resources involved but in a way that is simply sensible and balanced with where those resources exist. An important facet is to involve related private sector services. For a variety of people to appreciate various outdoor experiences, it’s typically necessary that they have the availability of some types of services whether it is creature comfort services or whether it’s actually ways to be conveyed to the experience. It’s important I think that in this way we stimulate public recognition of the kinds of values that can come from such a process and as importantly do things to stimulate public recognition of the availability of such opportunities as they might develop. That there would have to be some type of an allocation process and, of course, the Game Commission would ultimately need to consider the necessary regulations that would be put in place to manage such an endeavor on Game Commission properties, the fees that are necessary to support associated implementation and the conservation. These are part of the administrative costs associated with developing such opportunities. I’ve described this initially for state Game Commission lands not because it would end there but because the Game Commission properties appear to represent a good ground for demonstration of such a concept to work in that we know that we currently have resource opportunities that can be appreciated that are not currently made available. Presumably, public and private partners would see the success, the advantage, and the gain that come from doing such a thing. This is all related to building greater opportunity for wildlife-associated recreation, particularly in ways that don’t involve typical hunting, fishing or trapping activities but are not at odds with or are not contrary to such pursuits. We know that a wide array of hunters, anglers, and trappers appreciate wildlife in a variety of ways throughout the year, so if we think about nobody having just 1 interest and think about year-round services for purposes of wildlife and our constituency, what are our options? An alternative mode of access to seeing or appreciating something that otherwise isn’t made available, seasonal bird watching access on wildlife areas. Observation of specialized wildlife conservation activities—what this suggests is the degree to which Department staff, for instance, or others who are assisting us in some way, often times consider things that they experience every day as being commonplace but in fact, those kinds of activities are extremely pleasing to other kinds of individuals and to the extent that it doesn’t compromise the basic objectives, might we have opportunities to allow more public contact with those kinds of events. Hike or backpack access to wildlife viewing. That’s really the kind of wildlife-associated recreation that many people seek and so often times these examples relate to different modes of access and different times of year. I indicated partnership access to special resources—this is where we look beyond just the Game Commission properties being involved and consider other partners, be they public or private, and the degree to which they may be willing to enroll in a process that the Department and the Game Commission oversee, but it capitalizes to a degree on the resources they have to offer and the local areas where they exist and the kinds of economic values that may derive from that. This is the first opportunity to expose the Game Commission to this concept, but my suggestion is that each and everyone of these entities are either direct participants or in some fashion a benefactor of approaching this sort of concept to helping people gain greater access into nature.
Commissioner Henderson I’m willing to make a motion at this time and I’m please to make this motion because, as many of you know, this has been a strong interest of mine. I’ve sort of referred to it as our thinking out of the box a little bit and moving us into the 21st century of fully utilizing our wildlife resources and attracting a new constituency that has indirectly supported the Department over the years that we’re looking at to get more directly involved.
MOTION: Commissioner Henderson moved to approve Department staff pursuing development of the GAIN concept for expanded wildlife-associated recreation to include public participation, opportunities identification, regulation preparation, and audience targeting for full program implementation by Spring, 2005. Commissioner J. Montoya seconded the motion.
Public Comment
Becky Campbell Gila Hot Springs. What we’re talking about is non-consumptive use of our wildlife and a lot of people feel that the hunters are carrying the load. There’s going to be a lot to consider because as you go into your lands, you’re going to need to build trails so that the people can get around easily but it sounds like a very good program.
Commissioner J. Montoya Is the result of the motion going to be a plan and also if not, how does this concept become institutionalized within the Department?
Director Thompson I think that it entails several things. Certainly it needs to involve further Department planning but also we have some regulatory development to do. We certainly have a need to identify the degree or the extent to which these kinds of opportunities exist. It will involve budgeting, including how we explore additional resources beyond Game Protection Fund. Numerous elements are involved with planning but it doesn’t just mean a single document and also I stress that some of these kinds of things exist that can be done in the near term if we develop fairly quickly and others will require more planning much as Ms. Campbell indicated.
Chairman Riordan I’ve seen over the years where our Game and Fish properties are not utilized for the benefit, or utilized the way they should be utilized. I don’t think the past Commissions have taken care of our properties to the benefit of the user and the public. We need to provide you with opportunities to explore some of the properties we have. We need to provide those economic opportunities to do some guiding on some state properties or wildlife viewing, things that will increase your opportunities to gain access. With that, Director Thompson, I would ask that you have a priority on looking at that Sargent Wildlife area, we’ve talked about possibly New Mexico elk herd and designating the elk herd for possible wildlife viewing during non-hunting, and also looking at possible access into that property. We have some other things that maybe some mountain biking that will not have a negative impact on wildlife but will open up the area to some of you people so that you can see it. Also, I’d like us to make an effort to look at that Bernardo Wildlife Area for wildlife viewing and get with the Highway Department on some signs and improving, I believe we got some monies appropriated by the Governor, to go ahead and approve wildlife viewing on that property because this is a very important issue to him.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Commissioner Pino absent from vote. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 11. Shooting Preserve License Application for Stout Preserve.
Presented by Roy Hayes. - Billie Stout of Broadview, NM, submitted a shooting preserve license application. The proposed shooting preserve consists of 1280 deeded acres located southeast of Broadview, New Mexico. Proposed species for release include pheasants, chukars, and bobwhite quail. Commission approval, in accordance with 19.35.3 NMAC 1978, is required before Mr. Stout can proceed with legal posting of the property as a regulated shooting preserve and before the shooting license can be issued. This would fall within the strategic plan that the Department has and the Commission does have the authority to issue this license if they deem necessary. We’ve inspected this property and found it to be suitable temporary holding habitat for chukars. We anticipate that the chukars will not become established due to the lack of suitable habitat. If this shooting preserve were approved, it would bring additional hunter opportunity into the area and have a positive economic impact in the local community. We feel that the temporary existence of chukars would have no significant impact on the indigenous species. We have contacted all of the local landowners that surround this property and they have no negative concerns and there is no prior conflicting interest in the area. We’ve also looked in the database and found no wildlife violations for Mr. Stout in the past and the Southeast Area recommends that you approve this request.
Chairman Riordan Where exactly is Broadview?
Roy Hayes It’s about 20 miles north of Clovis, between Grady and Belleview.
MOTION: Commissioner Arvas moved to approve the issuance of a permit to Billie L. Stout contingent upon the Stout Preserve meeting the requirements of law and rule regulating shooting preserves.
Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
Commissioner J. Montoya Could you remind me of how we assure that, particularly the bobwhites, the hatchery source is disease free? I’m concerned about Newcastle’s disease and other avian pathogens that could potentially come through commercially procured birds, or do they just get the eggs in the mail?
Roy Hayes They have to come within the state or else there are restrictions that they have follow if they import them from out of state under the importation law and, I believe, they’re certified if they do come from out of state. That’s part of the regulation requirement.
Chairman Riordan I believe there’s a large hatchery there in the Clovis area that does a lot of chickens as well as exotic game.
I think this is good for New Mexico and once again, provides opportunity for hunters. I own a game preserve and I think is something that we drastically need. I’d like to call for the question.
Commissioner Henderson Is this in Lesser Prairie Chicken country and is there any concern about that species. We’re working very hard to recover and I certainly wouldn’t want to have a conflict there.
Ray Hayes As far as I know, it is not in prairie chicken habitat and from what I’ve been told, we inspected this and there’s concern that it will compete with prairie chickens.
Chairman Riordan Commissioner Henderson, the bobwhite is indigenous to that area on the east side of the state.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 12. Hunting Regulation and Associated Rules Development for Game Animals, Game Birds, Quality Hunts, and Manner and Method.
Presented by R. J. Kirkpatrick. - The Department requests that Big Game Rule 19.31.8, NMAC, for 2005-2006 and 2006-2007; Upland Game Rule 19.31.5 NMAC, for 2004-2005; Waterfowl Rule 19.31.6, NMAC, for 2004-2005; Manner and Method Rule 19.31.10, NMAC; Boundary Rule 19.30.4, NMAC; Quality Hunt Criteria and Areas Rule 19.30.7, NMAC; and Private Land Elk License Allocation Rule 19.30.5, NMAC, be opened for development of regulations. Final regulations for upland game and waterfowl will be presented at the June and/or July 2004 Commission meetings. Further regulation development will be completed with final Big Game and associated rules being adopted by the Commission at their November 2004 meeting.
The purpose is so that the Department can begin taking public testimony and public input with the goal of bringing to the Commission meeting a fairly complete draft of hunting recommendations for the 2005-2006, as well as the 2006-2007 hunting season. Upon your review of that draft at the big game and turkey July Commission meeting, it will be adopted into formal regulations at the November meeting. In addition to that, the Department is asking the Commission to open the Upland Game Rule and the Waterfowl Rule for public input and public testimony to develop recommendations that will be presented to this Commission at the June meeting followed by adoption of regulations at the July meeting.
Commissioner J. Montoya I thought we were already accepting public comments so I’m confused on this opening the rule.
R. J. Kirkpatrick You’re correct in that several processes have been ongoing since late summer of last year. We were accepting public input from our public to identify what kind of hunting goals they would like to see in the majority of our deer hunting units. It was more to get to some kind of management goal that was agreed upon by all the parties so that when we did begin the process we could get ahead of that game and start talking about permit numbers, weapon types, and season dates. Continually, 12 months out of the year, the Department accepts public input from a variety of people.
MOTION: Commissioner Arvas moved to accept the Department’s recommendation to open the stated rules for the specific purpose of accepting public input or testimony and management adjustment recommendations toward the development of regulations for 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 license years. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
Public Comment
Billy Lee We as outfitters are interested in a statewide deer hunt unit draw. What it’s done is push the hunters over into the units that are not drawn and therefore, have dropped our numbers by increasing the number of hunters. What I’m most concerned about is that outfitters will make some of these closed units. In Unit 24 you draw for a number of hunters and the unit is so low that no one gets to hunt there for a couple of years to make it possible for the deer herds to come back. Another thing, the need for 2 separate hunts for the Coues deer and the mule deer.
George Hobbs I would appreciate it if the Department would better publicize the meetings because at times the meeting is over with before anyone even knows that it was held.
Tim Turri I’m representing the Sportsmen for Wildlife organization. We’ve been before this Commission for the last several years trying to address getting some relief in Unit 34 for what we like to call the mismanagement of that elk herd. We’ve seen in the last 4-5 years that this herd has been reduced by at least 50%. Unit 34 is an elk management unit in the Sacramento Mountains in the Lincoln National Forest. It encompasses the Cloudcroft area. Historically, this unit has provided excellent elk-hunting opportunities. It’s been a significant economic base for the area for guides, outfitters, and tourism. Unfortunately, the management practices for this unit, through excessive permits, have reduced the herd to an estimated 1,500-2,500 during the last few years. What we would like to see is this unit to be managed for 2,000 animals. It has great access, wildlife habitat to be viewed and what we’re asking the Commission to do is make a decision before the drawing to reduce the 2 cow hunt numbers. They have 2 cow hunts scheduled for the fall totaling 600 permits. We’d like to see those numbers reduced to a total of 200 cows for this fall season.
Chairman Riordan Roy, can you tell us how many elk are in that unit?
Roy Hayes Last year’s survey had approximately 2,500. We’ve flown sightability surveys this year and we do not have the results yet, so I can’t tell you exactly what our survey numbers are for this year.
Tim Turri Can you tell us what was physically counted?
Roy Hayes 1,500 head were physically counted, but we still need to put that into the computer model and take into consideration the snow cover and that will give us a more accurate count.
Chairman Riordan Tim, would you do us all a favor and get with the Director. The Director has discretionary authority to adjust numbers on those cow permits and when the numbers come in, if you’d get with him and with Area Director Hayes, maybe we can address some of your issues.
Tim Turri It’s our understanding that the Director has the authority to utilize 20% either way on hunt codes. I’m not sure if that’s accurate or not.
Chairman Riordan That is.
Tim Turri 20% would be far short of the goal that we would like to see for that unit.
Chairman Riordan We don’t have our numbers in yet so it would be premature for us to make any decision without having those numbers in and knowing how many elk we have, but I think you’ve brought it to our attention and we’re willing to go ahead and take a look at that. I’ve had discussions with the Director and the Area Director on Unit 34, so just work with us in the next couple of weeks we should have something.
Roy Hayes The proclamations have already been set this year and that does include the Director’s discretion at 20% and it’s exactly the same as it was last year. What we could do is take into consideration Mr. Turri’s recommendations for this upcoming cycle that we’re asking you to open.
Chairman Riordan Common sense tells us that if we find something drastic, that we’re still not going to continue on with that same process. If we have to have a special meeting and change something, we’ll look at that.
Tim Turri This is a unit that has just gone downhill significantly in the last several years and we’ve lost those quality-hunting opportunities. It was my understanding according to the proclamation numbers in those hunt codes are up to those number not necessarily what’s published so I’m just wondering how much discretion do we have beyond the 20%?
John Boretsky This is a great elk area we’ve hammered very hard, and hopefully relief can be gained this year for the upcoming seasons.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 13. Biennial Review of State-Listed Species.
Presented by Chuck Hayes. - The New Mexico Wildlife Conservation Act requires that the Department review the status of state-listed wildlife every 2 years. During this Biennial Review, the Department makes a recommendation to either up-list from threatened to endangered, down-list from endangered to threatened, or retain the status of each state-listed species in accordance with 19.33.3 NMAC 1978.
What we’re asking for here is opening the process and starting a 90-day public comment period beginning with the formal announcement today. There are essentially 3 steps that involve the Commission. What is the biennial review? Within the New Mexico Wildlife Conservation Act, it describes a need every other year to look at every species that we have on our state lists as threatened or endangered and to make an assessment as to whether their status still fits the biology and ecology of the species. There are also processes within the Wildlife Conservation Act that describe how we add or remove species to the list. They’re all spelled out as well as the Biennial Review process regarding should a species stay threatened, should it go threatened to endangered, endangered to threatened, or stay endangered. Endangered status, threatened status, none of that comes with any of the kind of regulatory authority for anything like critical habitat, for anything like consultation as under the federal Endangered Species Act where federal actions have to be reviewed. What we have authority for endangered species is simply regulating direct take. We do take comments on social and political considerations and those are figured into what conservation management or recovery actions are enacted. In addition, there’s regulation that gets down to some more detail on how exactly input is taken. The first step is to announce that we intend doing a biennial review, and then it’s advertised. Regulation calls for a minimum 90-day comment period. This is not on anything that has been recommended to the Commission, just our intent to do it following that 90-day comment period. Step 2 is we bring the initial recommendation to the Commission, and then the Commission gives us some input on that. The Commission does not have to make a decision and the Commission may direct the Department to revise anything within the Biennial Review. Another 14-day comment period on any sort of revised recommendation is opened up. After the 14-day period, the second comment period, then we come back to you for step 3. What we’re looking at is that would be September and that’s when we actually ask you to approve the Biennial Review. Our state list of threatened and endangered species is established by regulation. Typically what we do every 2 years is we go back and do some things like cleanup taxonomy, species names change within 2 years, sometimes things are split or lumped together. These changes occur to try and keep our regulation current. In 2000 the recommendation was to leave the status as either threatened or endangered for all the species except for 2 species of spring snails. In 2002 we didn’t recommend any changes. We looked at the status of things and didn’t find anything where we found significant changes in the biological/ecological status of our listed species. Jemez Mountain Salamander is 1 we noted that based on impact from the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire had appeared to be having some adverse impacts. It lives only in the Jemez Mountains and comes to the surface only for a few months during the moist season of the year, so there was no direct mortality from the fire; however, there was significant affect on the habitat and especially on salamanders breathing through their skin are very susceptible to drying out and dying that way. Gray-banded King Snake is another thing we pointed out in 2002. We completed our state Recovery Plan on the Gray-banded King Snake and we’re now in the process of implementing that. What’s in the 2004 draft that we want to solicit comment on? Jemez Mountain Salamander is 1. We have a conservation agreement in place with the U.S. Forest Service who manages almost all the habitat for this species and we have had variable success in the recent past on getting some of these conservation measures implemented. There are other things we find just by going through our survey data and reviewing status, things like the Chiricahua Leopard From which was listed recently under the federal Endangered Species Act we’ve found to be disappearing from many populations largely because of chytrid fungus, which is a fungus that infects the skins of these creatures, causes direct mortality. That’s also affected some of our state listed amphibians and we’ve noted that that’s affected leopard frogs. Whooping crane and Florida mountain snail are 2 species that we believe don’t exist in this state anymore. Florida Mountain Snail is 1 that all we found recently is shells of the snail and no live snails for many, many years. Razorback sucker which historically has a question on whether they occurred in New Mexico with recovery effort and their status improving both upstream and downstream in the San Juan. They clearly do occur in New Mexico. Sometimes species that were considered once at all are now split and they’re elevated to 2 separate species. What that does by regulation now is that we have 2 species, and only 1 entity is listed. These are things that we’ve noted and just wanted to bring up and are not, however, specifically things that we can deal with in terms of additions or removal to the state list. If it’s the Commission’s pleasure, we will open the public comment period on the Biennial Review, announce the intent to conduct it, solicit public comments for a minimum 90 days, which would put us at about July 7. What we’re proposing is that you give us a month or so to digest those, incorporate public comment, come back to you in August. At that point it would be a recommendation, we get input from the Commission and then in September we would come with the final version. We would begin making them available to the public and start the process for the Biennial Review.
Public Comment
Dr. Lilly Rendt I think that I have problems with the notification of these endangered species lists. I worked with the sickle-back fish and it is a very unusual fish. It’s a male nurturing fish. The other is the Jemez Mountain Salamander. The Jemez Mountain Salamander definitely needs some kind of review because we were looking all over for it and we couldn’t find it.
Chairman Riordan Do we have a motion?
MOTION: Commissioner Pino I move that the Commission direct the Department to start the 2004 review process by opening the 90-day comment period on this initial draft. Commissioner Sims Seconded the motion.
Commissioner J. Montoya When I received this review, I was very interested and I know that I’ve used it professionally as a list. It’s a very valuable list. I went into the recommendation section and I saw it really ranged over the kind of recommendation presented by the Department from very in depth, thoughtful recommendations on how to provide protection or recovery to a species notation that perhaps further research is needed and this could be a very valuable document for the public, agencies, federal land-management agencies, for not-for-profit, conservation organizations to understand what they can do to help species, even if it was just a paragraph or 2 with specific recommendations, i.e., for instance, purchasing habitat or purchasing water rights to apply to Commission-owned lands. I thought this could be a more valuable document if the recommendations were more consistent.
Director Thompson I certainly think that’s possible. I must admit that I’m not intimately familiar with each and every species account, but I wouldn’t have any difficulty working with the Department staff to examine those prospects as well as examining ways to better distribute the information as we’re building further outreach capabilities.
Commissioner J. Montoya As a Commissioner, I want to be able to help with recovery of species and this document doesn’t necessarily tell me what to do. I know it’s not intended to be a recovery plan, it’s a thumbnail sketch of what’s going on, but if there was just a little more information for each species, I would have found it in terms of recommendations for recovery, I would have found it much more valuable.
Chairman Riordan Let’s call the question.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All presented voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 14. Original Item Cancelled.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 15. Approval of FY 2003 Audit Report.
Presented by Pat Block. - The Department presents the FY 2003 Audit Report as released by the State Auditor, for approval by the Commission in accordance with (d) NMAC, 4-30-03. We’ve been talking about some of the requirements of regulations that are in Title 19 and I’m here to talk about 1 of the regulations the Department complies with in a whole other area of the Administrative Code, and that’s in Title 2, and it’s the State Audit Rule. Every year, each state agency is required to prepare a set of financial statements and then contract with either the Office of the State Auditor, or an external audit firm who performs an audit of those financial statements. Our audit has been completed and reviewed and released by the State Auditor’s office and now the next step in the rule that I’m here to fulfill today is to request the Commission approve that audit report. The report does have in it an unqualified opinion. Normally the word “unqualified” doesn’t sound that good but in the case of an audit, that is what you’re looking for. That means they are able to sign off on the agency’s financial statements without qualifying it with any caveats. One area that I would like to direct you to is the part of the audit called the Management Discussion and Analysis. This is in the Audit Report that you all have and it starts on page 3 and goes through page 11. That is a condensed version of the Audit Report that tries to put into non-technical language what really happened in the audit. You can get a good flavor of the whole report without having to wade through all of those statements. I also wanted to point out that last year’s audit, the Fiscal Year 2002 audit, the auditors had made comments in 8 different areas where we should improve our operations and then they go back into the 2003 audit and look at those. They did note that we had made progress on all 8. We had resolved and eliminated 6 of them. There were 2 that were repeated in the 2003 audit. There was an additional 6 findings in this year’s audit and as soon as the auditors found those, we began working on the resolution. One of the other documents that I sent you last week was our game plan on how to resolve those for this year, so it’s our hope that they are all resolved for the Fiscal Year 2004 audit.
MOTION: Commissioner Arvas moved that the Commissioner approve the Department’s Audit Report for FY 2003. Commissioner Henderson seconded.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion passed unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 16. 2004 Legislative Update Including FY 2005 Budget Allocation.
Presented by Luke Shelby. - The Department will provide an update regarding the 2004 Legislative Session Including the appropriation of the Department’s FY 2005 Budget. This is a summary of bills that were passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. These are all bills that we felt had an impact on the Department to 1 degree or another. The Governor did not sign HB 5. When that’s passed by both Houses, it’s rolled into HB 2 which is signed by the Governor and that gives us our operating budget for the next year. We received $27,775,200 and we’ll be talking more about that for FY ’05, which begins July 1. The second bill he signed was HJM 37. There was a companion bill SJM 24 was just a mirror piece of legislation that pretty much said the same thing. It was just introduced in the other chamber. HJM 37 directs the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and Department of Game and Fish to investigate alternative funding to protect New Mexico’s wildlife, and its habitat among other things. He also signed SJR 3 that transferred 872 acres of property to the State Parks Division for the development of Eagle Nest Lake State Park. The Governor thought that was very important. That was 1 of his initiatives. Then SJM 10 which now requires State Records and Archives and our friends in the Attorney General’s office to study the extent to which lands were formerly part of Land Grant Merced in the state that now belong to the state and recommend remedial action if any to correct those problems and some of those areas might be some of our wildlife areas. Here’s a summary of bills that died during the session. Included in this list was our non-resident license fee increase, our efforts to change the depredation law, and also to increase our bonding authority. Those were the 3 measures that we were approved to pursue through the session and everything else had an impact on the Department or that we tracked through the session, significant bills and this was not everything we did a bill analysis on.
Chairman Riordan We had a lot of people working very hard at in the Legislature and spent a lot of time there and I just wanted to thank Luke Shelby, Director Thompson, and Pat Block who was just unbelievable, and we really appreciate everything he did.
Commissioner Arvas One thing we lacked up there was constituency support and what that means is that you folks need to come up there and kind of help us with these matters because all these matters are related to what we’re trying to do for you and it was quite obvious that there were very few, if any, sportsmen there trying to do anything for any of these bills and that was of great concern to me, the Department, and the Commission. I would hope that in the future at the next Legislature, we’ll be seeing some of you folks up there.
Chairman Riordan We have a responsibility also to contact you all and let you know when there’s something, especially the sportsmen, that pertains to you and you need to go ahead and get involved because we could have used your help tremendously this past session. People need to know you exist and are not a figment of the imagination. They don’t know where the $27,000,000 shows up each year that you all contribute to the Department and to run our budget, but somehow the Legislature just never seems to respond so we need your help in the future.
Luke Shelby We had a very good turnout this year of Game Commissioners at key committee hearings and the agency staff really appreciates your involvement in that. What happened this year budget wise is, we did have some surprises. We got a supplemental or special appropriation of $225,000 that was earmarked for improvements and water rights acquisitions at the Bernardo/La Joya waterfowl complex. We also ended up with $300,000 from the Severance Tax Bond Fund, not as much as we asked for, for the Rock Lake Warm Water Hatchery construction near Santa Rosa and also included in the list of surprises is what we didn’t’ get funds for. We asked for funds to repair Clayton Lake Dam and to cover our hatchery raceways at Parkview and to do the first phase of the Lake Roberts repair and unfortunately, none of that was realized.
Chairman Riordan You say that supplement or special appropriation was $225,000?
Luke Shelby That’s as close as we can figure it. The problem we’ve had is that for some reason this year the word coming from DFA is kind of cloudy about exactly what was approved and every state agency is having that problem. We’re giving DFA the time to go through those bills again and to come up with an exact figure, but preliminarily, this is what we received.
Chairman Riordan For the public’s information, that money came from the Governor to improve the Bernardo Wildlife Area for hunting, and for wildlife viewing. He really fell in love with it. I took him out there and he saw the snow geese so he made a special appropriation. We hope he’ll continue to do that for some of our other Game and Fish properties.
Luke Shelby Compared to what we received in previous fiscal years, FY ’03 was last fiscal year and you can see what we had then, FY ’04 is the 1 we’re in now, and you can see for FY ‘05, we’ve received a little bit of an increase. Now, that differs from the previous slide where the Legislature approved about $27,775,000. The figure that you see here includes $249,400 that was just appropriated in the last week as per HB 2 for salary increases that will take affect July 1 of the next fiscal year that provides salary increases of 2% for employees of the Department of Game and Fish. That’s why that figure is a little higher than the $27,775,200 I quoted to you before. Let me show you how this breaks out by program. You can see what we had in FY ’03, FY ’04 and FY ’05 and this is by program. You can see that in sport, hunting, and fishing program we ended up a little bit more than last year. We ended up less in conservation services program, in our depredation program we ended up quite a bit more from last year, and in our administration program about $100,000 less. The asterisk, of course, indicates that FY ’05 includes that $249,400 that I just explained and that concludes this presentation.
Commissioner Arvas Could you explain the process, how we have developed the budget, the parties concerned, and how it’s a year long effort, and that type of thing, so they’ll know that this isn’t something we come and show you some numbers once a year. It’s a very exhaustive process.
Luke Shelby We’re fixing to go into our new budget cycle that begins here in the next couple of months. Our different divisions estimate what they’re going to need to make it through the year. We take into consideration Game Commission initiatives, memorials and other bills introduced by the Legislature that we have to have funding for. Those are all rolled up into 1 large package that is submitted to the administration in Santa Fe and we look over that and decide if this is something that we have to have more funds in a certain category. We try to anticipate raises and those things that we just can’t see up into the next fiscal year. The budget that we’ll be preparing will be for FY ’06 and we’re in FY ’04 now. FY ’05 starts July 1, so we’re preparing a budget for almost a whole year and a half in advance and there’re some real challenges in that. The Legislature has recognized this in state budgets and gives the Department some authority to transfer funds between programs. We can’t bring in new money or anything like that. We can transfer between programs and that’s basically how the whole thing happens and then we can submit that to the 2 different branches of state government. The Executive Branch looks over our budget, then the Legislative Branch looks over the budget, then they have to come to an agreement and the whole package is cut and then voted on by the Legislature and that’s how we end up with the final budget.
Commissioner J. Montoya Can you describe the process Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources is going to do from that joint memorial you talked about in the first slide?
Luke Shelby Our Director, Bruce Thompson, is intimately involved with that and I think he can give us a description.
Director Thompson In fact, on Friday of this week, several Department staff members and Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources and a variety of other co-operators and interested parties including Commissioner Henderson will be meeting to initiate that process.
Discussion item; no vote necessary.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 17. General Public Comments (Comments limited to 3 minutes).
Public Comment:
Bill Ferranti I’m from the Double H Ranch. We had a turkey release on the Double H, the Department provided those turkeys and we had Department personnel there. We had 26 kids from schools come help us release those turkeys. We never hunted turkeys on the Double H in the 4 years since I’ve been there. We’re looking forward to having kids next year to hunt turkeys through an agreement with the Department and we truly do appreciate the effort. The Department’s on a proclamation to do projects on the Double H Ranch and they more than helped us to do things. The second issue is the Department contributed money through the state wildlife grant money for a burn that we started last week. Unfortunately, we got rained out but we did get part of it done and wanted to thank the Department and the Commission for helping us on that.
Commissioner Sims How many turkeys did you release?
Bill Ferranti We released 19.
Commissioner Sims Have you had time to study them?
Bill Ferranti At this point, we haven’t seen those turkeys. We’ve got about 40 turkeys in that canyon additionally to those. Some of them are banded but we’ve had lots of personnel out looking.
Commissioner Sims They’re Merriam’s?
Bill Ferranti They’re all Merriam’s. This is an area that’s adjacent about a quarter of a mile to the Forest Service boundary. They’re more than likely going to go into the forest so the public’s going to have a chance at these birds.
Chairman Riordan Are you feeding?
Bill Ferranti We initially did put some feed out just to hold them to see if we could see them, but we’re not feeding. This area hasn’t been grazed for 4 years. There’s lots of good food there with the moisture that we have right now.
Brub Stone Representing the Gila Fish and Gun Club. We’d like to bring up the predator situation in our area. Mountain lions are eating their lunches up here but they’re having hell because there’s not very many deer left. We’ve got bear problems in the flats. These coyotes are tough on our pronghorn and without the help of the rancher there wouldn’t be anything to hunt. I think that the Game Department needs to gather up a little bit and let’s try and do something about it. One thing I’d like see done is call a meeting in Reserve. We’d like to see a Commissioner or 2 and the Game Department come up there and let’s talk to them ranchers and everybody and see if we can figure out some way, somehow to help these people with some financial help. They have killed over 300 coyotes on those 3 ranches. We’ve got about $4,000,000 in the bank and this money can only be used for wildlife. They get about $1,118,000 in the Gila National Forest. That’s all taken up in maintenance work. Hall told me we couldn’t use stamp money for predatory control. Is it set in concrete? When they wrote the law that was a good idea, but right now the least deer we’ve got and to help the elk, we need to get something and help these ranchers and let’s help our game because right now you folks put another predator in on us.
Chairman Riordan Have you seen an increase in cougars in this area?
Luis Rios No specific information on whether lions are on the increase or decrease. We do not run surveys for lions.
Chairman Riordan Have we had an increase for road kills?
Luis Rios No, not any I’m aware of.
Commissioner Sims Do you see an increase or hear of an increase in personal sightings?
Luis Rios Of mountain lions, we do get reports from the public that they’re seeing more lion than they used to see 10-15 years ago.
Commission Sims If you’re seeing more lions, we have more lions.
Luis Rios That could be an assumption although it may not necessarily hold true. Pat Baca just tells me that there’re a few more lions being active around the Silver City area where deer seem to congregate because there’re some residents that are actually feeding deer so whenever deer are attracted to urban areas, invariably the lions will follow.
Chairman Riordan You mean to tell me that mountain lions eat deer?
Luis Rios Sometimes they do.
Alex Munoz What I came here to do is thank the Game and Fish. I publish a hunting magazine in New Mexico and I also started a foundation for youths and that foundation raises money to take youths hunting. I started with the Game Department and worked with Assistant Director of Law Enforcement and put a program together. We get to meet a lot of ranchers, private landowners who help us. They donate tags for our youth. They’re trophy tags that the normal trophy hunter doesn’t want and they appropriate them and they help us and they work with the Game Department. I want them to know too that we have some good people on the Commission. Guy Riordan, I thank you. Guy has donated pheasant hunts at Rancho de La Joya for my youths.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 18. Closed Executive Session.
MOTION: Commissioner Arvas moved that the Commission go into Executive Session pursuant to Section 10-15-1 (H)(1) NMSA 1978 of the Open Meetings Act in order to discuss limited purposes of personnel matters, litigation, and land acquisitions.
Commissioner J. Montoya seconded the motion.
Roll Call Vote:
Commissioner Arvas – yes
Commissioner Henderson – yes
Commissioner J. Montoya – yes
Commissioner Pino – yes
Chairman Riordan – yes
Commissioner Sims – yes
Closed Executive Session convened at 2:37 p.m. Adjourned at 4:17 a.m.
Chairman Riordan The Closed Executive Session was limited to the items on the agenda for the Closed Session. No action was taken in the Closed Session.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 19. Guide and Outfitter Notice of Contemplated Action Request.
Presented by Brian Gleadle. - The Department requested approval to send a Notice of Contemplated Action to the registered guides and/or outfitters discussed in Executive Session. If in the Commissioner’s determination, an individual shall be served notice, he or she will be afforded an Administrative Hearing following 19.31.2 NMAC. The purpose of the Administrative Hearing will be to assess points against the guide and/or outfitters registration as they apply to the revocation process.
MOTION: Commissioner Arvas moved that the Commission direct the Department approval to send a Notice of Contemplated Commission Action to the outfitter identified in Executive Session. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All presented voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 20. Alternative to Resolve Marquez Wildlife Area Access Needs.
Presented by Jim Karp. - The Department asks that the Commission advise the Department as to future course of action taken regarding access to Marquez Wildlife Area.
MOTION: Commissioner Sims moved that the Commission instruct the Department as to identity specific options regarding access to Marquez Wildlife Area through land trade or acquisition. Commissioner Arvas seconded the motion.
Commissioner Pino Point of clarification. This would be to work with the neighboring property owners to figure out the access.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 21. Approval of Lease Agreements for Commercial Activities on Commission-owned Property.
Presented by Jeff Pederson. - The Department submitted 3 Burlington Resources lease agreements to the Commission for approval. These 3 leases will be for well pads, access roads, and pipelines associated with oil and gas development on the Commission-owned Navajo properties. The Department will submit 4 Conoco-Phillips lease agreements to the Commission for approval. One of these agreements would be for pipelines and roads and the other for well pads, pipelines and roads associated with oil and gas development on the Commission owned Navajo properties. These actions are necessary to allow Burlington Resources to remove oil and gas resources that are not owned by the Commission.
These agreements have been pending for awhile where we don’t have the mineral rights and there are 3 with Burlington Resources, and 4 with Conoco-Phillips, and I’m not completely sure after the action this morning whether you still want to take full Commission action on these as before or you simply want once they’ve been administratively handled and everything has been done, if they’re supposed to go to the Chairman for signature. Of course, that’s entirely up to the Commission. Do you want to continue and present these for a full vote by the Commission today?
Chairman Riordan If that’s okay with all of you to move forward.
Commissioner Sims They’re just on the old fee schedule?
Jeff Pederson Yes.
Director Thompson The motion that was adopted this morning was only for those that have used the fee structure that was adopted this morning. These would actually require a specific action now.
Jeff Pederson Well, then I ask that we conclude these and they have been on the docket, if you will, or in process for quite a number of months and these people do have the mineral rights and they have complied with the cultural clearances in the wildlife-related reviews that we do, so I ask that these 3 agreements for Burlington and the 4 for Conoco-Phillips be approved by the Commission at the old rates.
MOTION: Commissioner Pino moved to approve the 7 agreements as proposed, with previous rates. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 22. Disposition of Richards Avenue Property.
Presented by Jim Karp. - The Department sought direction from the Commission regarding disposition of the buildings and land at the Richards Avenue site in Santa Fe and consolidation of operational activities at the Department Headquarters site. The Department recommended further discussions with the City of Santa Fe concerning its acquisition of the site for open space prior to initiating a public process requesting offers for the property. The Department asks that the Commission provide the Department with instructions as to what further action to take with regard to the issue of the disposition of the Richards Avenue properties.
MOTION: Commissioner Arvas moved that the Commission instruct the Department to investigate rezoning of the property prior to its disposition. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM. NO. 23. Approval of Transfer Documentation: Eagle Nest Lake State Park.
Presented by Jim Karp. - The Department proposes that this matter be tabled until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission.
Chairman Riordan You’re going to contact me in regards to details.
Jim Karp I will contact you directly with regard to whatever proposed revisions are to be made in the JPA.
MOTION: Commissioner Pino moved to table Item No. 23 until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Game Commission. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
Shawn Brown One moment, Mr. Chairman. Would it be the pleasure of the Commission that the Chairman have authority to act on Mr. Karp’s suggestions?
Chairman Riordan Is it the pleasure of the Commission that I can act on Mr. Karp’s suggestions?
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Riordan We’ve already addressed Permit 71, Water Administration from Eagle Nest Lake, is that correct?
Shawn Brown I believe you need to table if that’s the Commission’s intention.
Chairman Riordan I think that is. We had a presentation by the Attorney General’s Office in Closed Session.
MOTION: Commissioner Arvas moved to table further discussion on this topic, and that Chairman Riordan be given the authority to go ahead and make whatever decision is appropriate after discussion with the Department General Counsel. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 24. Adjourn.
MOTION: Commissioner Arvas moved to adjourn. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.
VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Riordan Reconvened at 5:42 p.m.
Public Comment:
Bob Ricklefs Philmont Scout Ranch. Expressed interest in the Commission’s intent regarding water delivery to irrigators from Eagle Nest Lake in 2004. He also emphasized urgency of need for information.
Dan Campbell City of Raton Water Manager. Emphasized the need for action on water delivery from Eagle Nest Lake.
Meeting adjourned at 5:47 p.m.

s/Bruce C. Thompson 5/6/04
Bruce C. Thompson, Secretary to the Date
New Mexico State Game Commission

s/Guy Riordan 5/6/04
Guy Riordan, Chairman Date
New Mexico State Game Commission

Minutes by: Katie Gonzales
My Docs\Minutes\Minutes 2004\Minutes 4-7-04-Silver City