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Northern Rio Grande heritage area authorized for additional 15 years

Congress has reauthorized a federally funded program to help conserve and sustain cultural, historical, archaeological and natural resources in an area of Northern New Mexico that has been inhabited by Puebloan peoples for centuries.

The legislation reauthorizes the Northern Río Grande National Heritage Area for an additional 15 years, allowing for continued conservation of local cultural and historic resources, Sen. Martin Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández announced Friday.

Congress established the Northern Río Grande National Heritage Area in 2006 to help tribal and local governments and other public and private entities fund projects that support the NRGNHA’s mission and goals.

Communities, tribal and local governments, land grant associations, non-profit organizations, youth programs, historical and archaeological societies, and preservation groups are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for programs supporting

The reauthorization will continue federal support for "communities, traditions, sacred and historic places, and environment that make Northern New Mexico special," Leger Fernández said in the news release.

The reauthorization, introduced by Leger Fernández and Heinrich, was incorporated into a larger bill introduced by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and was signed into law.

Santa Fe County Commissioner Anna Hansen also hailed passage of the bill, calling it "the best Solstice/Christmas present ever to have funding for 15 years to help nonprofits who work to preserve our history and culture, which is a true gift to all of Northern New Mexico."