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November 8th 2018
The NM State Game Commission hosted a special meeting to approve 5 landowner applications to certify non-navigable waters. In January 2018 the Commission adopted a new rule in response to a law signed by the Governor in 2015 which prevents individuals from walking or wading up a streambed into or through private property (NMCOG lobbied in support of this law).
Because the citizens of NM own the actual water of NM, the new law required the NMDGF Commission to adopt rules regarding how waters in NM would be classified as navigable (meaning one may float into or through waters surrounded by private property without stepping onto the streambed) or non-navigable (meaning that water surrounded by private land cannot be accessed without stepping into the streambed and thus trespassing onto private property.) For a landowner to be fully protected from trespass under this new law they must fill out an application with the NMDGF to certify that the streams located within their private property where considered non-navigable at statehood. They must provide the property deed, evidence that the water is non-navigable, and post the application to a local newspaper for 3 weeks. For a complete copy of the application click HERE.
There were a number of people in attendance at the Commission meeting assumedly there to oppose the applications however, the new regulation does not allow for verbal public comment and is written more in line with federal regulation. Meaning that all public comments need to be submitted in writing during a specified “comment period” in order for the individual or organization to have “standing”. The official comment period closes 14 days prior to the Commission vote. For more information on the proper way to provide public comment regarding non-navigable water certifications please read the entire rule HERE.
Landowner Certification of Non-navigable Waters
Application #1 (Chama Troutstalkers, LLC) – Private land where the Chama River and the Rio Chamita meet and traverse through private property in Rio Arriba Country. The application provided the required proof that the waters were considered non-navigable at statehood by means of a report of the Governor of NM to the Secretary of the Interior in 1905. The Commission voted unanimously to certify these waters as non-navigable.
Application #2 (Hersh Residence Trust) – Private land where the Pecos River traverse through private property in San Miguel Country. The application provided the required proof that the waters were considered non-navigable at statehood by means of a report of the Governor of NM to the Secretary of the Interior in 1905. The Commission voted unanimously to certify these waters as non-navigable.
Application #3-5 (Z&T Cattle Company) – Separate sections of private land where the Alamosa River traverses through private property in Socorro Country, where the Mimbres River traverses through private property in Grant County, and where the Penasco River traverses through private property in Chaves County. The applications provided the required proof that the waters were considered non-navigable at statehood by means of a report of the Governor of NM to the Secretary of the Interior in 1905. The Commission voted unanimously to certify these waters as non-navigable.
These applications have been approved by the Commission and are designated as a non-navigable public water. Subsequent to the meeting the NMDGF will issue a written final agency action and decision indicating the segment identified in the application or any portion thereof as being “certified non-navigable public water”. A certificate will be issued by the NMDGF Director immediately following the final agency action. The certificate will include sufficient information for recording purposes with the various county clerks of the state of New Mexico and will run with the segment, the land, and the real property.
Next Regular Commission Meeting November 30th, 2018 – Roswell, NM