NAVAJO DAM - New Mexico Department of Game and Fish director Jim Lane was presented with a ceremonial check for $25,000 from Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife New Mexico (SFWNM), WPX Energy and ConocoPhillips to continue conservation and restoration projects on the San Juan River.
"We are excited about the partnership, and to be able to improve opportunities for New Mexicans to enjoy their wildlife resources. We look forward to working with Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, as well as WPX Energy and ConocoPhillips, in the future," said Lane.
This private contribution allows the department to leverage federal dollars, turning the $25,000 contribution into $100,000 of project funding. WPX Energy and ConocoPhillips partnered with SFWNM to promote conservation and to make an impact in the local community.
"Providing funding to Game and Fish and partnering with oil and gas interests, such as ConocoPhillips and WPX Energy, for this initial contribution of $25,000 makes sense on numerous levels. Private-public partnerships provide the non-federal matching funds that are needed to turn this $25,000 into $100,000 of on the ground improvements. Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife will continue to work with our partners to provide funds for this very important project," said Tiger Espinoza, treasurer of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife New Mexico.
Proposed improvements to the Hammond, a State Game Commission property located upstream from the US Highway 64 crossing on the San Juan River, will use the funds to extend the restoration downstream from the special trout waters and into areas that allow bait fishing. Use of the area by angers and sportsmen has significantly increased since the investment of $1.2 million has been used to remove non-native plants, improve trout habitat and create wetlands. The San Juan quality water fishery is estimated to generate $30 million for the local economy.
Anglers now have increased access to 1.5 miles of stream and many species, such as waterfowl and migratory birds, will benefit from the 45 acres of wetlands created. The public can now enjoy over a mile of improved trails, less crowding, more boater access and increased recreational opportunities.