Heinrich: One Step Closer To Opening The Gates To The First Urban National Wildlife Refuge In The Southwest

"Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge will help New Mexico kids discover the incredible natural heritage of our state right in their backyard, while supporting river and habitat conservation and enhancing our thriving outdoor recreation economy."

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The second phase of a planned three-phase acquisition of the 570-acre Price’s Dairy has been acquired for the Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge. Established in 2012, the Valle De Oro is the first urban wildlife refuge in the Southwest.

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) has been a leader in bringing this project to fruition, and commends the collaborative effort by the community to make the refuge a reality, especially for New Mexico's youth. 

"We are one step closer to opening the gates of the first urban national wildlife refuge in the Southwest to the public. This is exciting news, and the result of years of hard work and collaboration to bring this project to fruition,” said Sen. Heinrich. “Too many kids spend more time in front of the television than they do outdoors. This new wildlife refuge is our opportunity to change that. The Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge will help New Mexico kids discover the incredible natural heritage of our state right in their backyard, while supporting river and habitat conservation and enhancing our thriving outdoor recreation economy.”

The Trust for Public Land, Bernalillo County, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed on the acquisition of the 41 acres yesterday using $1.5 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Earlier this month, Sen. Heinrich discussed the importance of the LWCF, which supports public access to federal lands and New Mexico's thriving outdoor recreation economy, during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing.

Senator Heinrich is a cosponsor of S.338, a bill to reauthorize and fully dedicate funding for the LWCF.  LWCF supports land and water conservation through fee-title acquisition or use of easements by federal or state governments. A portion of the fees paid to the federal government by companies who drill for offshore oil and natural gas are the primary contribution to the fund, with minor additions coming from the sale of surplus federal real estate and taxes on motorboat fuel.