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The first Game Commission Meeting consisting of the newly appointed Commissioners took place this past Friday at the Albuquerque office of the NMDGF. This meeting was also the first to be held in over 6 months. The meeting was a packed house. A representative of nearly every sportsman, landowner, and conservation non-profit in the state showed up to meet, greet, and try to get their foot in the door with the new commissioners. The first order of business was to appoint a commission chair and vice chair. The new commission made history in their first 5 minutes on the job by electing the first ever woman chair and vice chair. Commission positions are as follows:
Joanna Prukop - Chairwoman
District 4: Santa Fe, Taos, Colfax, Union, Mora, Harding, Quay, San Miguel, Guadalupe and Torrance counties.
Roberta Salazar-Henry – Vice Chairwoman
District 2: Catron, Socorro, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, Sierra and Doña Ana counties.
District 1: Curry, De Baca, Roosevelt, Chaves, Lincoln, Otero, Eddy and Lea counties.
District 3: San Juan, McKinley, Cibola, Valencia, Sandoval, Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties
District 5: Bernalillo county.
Appointed At-large – Conservation Position
The first hour of the meeting encompassed introductions of the new commissioners, public meeting attendees, and NMDGF staff. There was also a considerable amount of time spent discussing the governmental roll of the Commission and the creation of a new policy and procedures manual. The agenda was routine and did not consist of any controversial issues however, each agenda item was reviewed slowly and thoroughly to give the new commissioners the opportunity to fully understand the Commissions roll in each issue.
Approval of Land Transfers
The Commission approved the transfer of the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park back to the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Dept. as was statutorily mandated during the last legislative session through Senate Bill 533. However, the Commission voted to issue a conditional approval of the transfer of the Laguna del Campo property in Rio Arriba county to the Tierra Amarilla Land Grant as suggested by the legislature in the 2019 Senate Joint Resolution 2. Chairwoman Prukop indicated that the Commission was concerned with the precedence that this transfer may set considering the TA Land Grant association is expecting the NMDGF to continue to maintain the property. A conditional approval will give the NMDGF the ability to draft a more flexible land transfer agreement which can be reviewed and negotiated with the TA Land Grant.
Discussion on Changes to the Migratory Bird Rule
The Dept. presented their recommended changes to the Migratory Bird Rule. The migratory game bird rule is amended annually, ensuring compliance with Flyway recommendations and Federal guidelines. In New Mexico, season selections and bag limits are determined in conjunction with the Central and Pacific Flyways and the USFWS. The Departments recommended changes are as follows:
Commission Meeting Schedule
The new Commissioners reviewed the 2019 meeting schedule created by the previous Commission and decided to change the scheduled meetings as follows. They also decided to increase the number of meeting between now and the end of the year in order to get caught up on Commission business that has been building up since January. No consensus was reached between the new commissioners, so the 2019 schedule is still a bit in limbo.
Odds and Ends
In addition to the above agenda items, the Commission voted to approve the Dept.’s capital outlay plan for FY21-FY25. The Commission also voted to revoke the hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges of the individuals who had accumulated an excess of 20 violation points as well as individuals who are out of compliance with the Parental Responsibilities Act.
The commission also heard public comment from nearly every interested non-profit organization under the sun, including NMCOG. Every organization from Defenders of Wildlife to Sierra Club to the NM Wildlife Federation to the NM Farm and Livestock Bureau took the opportunity to introduce themselves and highlight the mission of their organization.
Next Commission Meeting – TBD