SB33 -- addressing the critical need for wildlife funding in New Mexico

Gila Monster

What is SB33?

SB33 (Soules) makes a one-time appropriation of $200,000 to the NM Department of Game and Fish for a study to determine unmet funding needs and possible sources of new funding for the conservation of nongame species, state threatened and endangered species and species of greatest conservation need. 

Why is this needed?

  • The Department of Game and Fish is the state agency charged with protecting New Mexico's extraordinary diversity of wildlife for future generations.
  • The Department currently receives no general fund appropriations from the Legislature.
  • Most (99%) of the Department's revenues are generated by hunters and anglers, either directly through license sales or indirectly through federal grants derived from the sale of guns, ammo, and fishing tackle.
  • Most New Mexicans do not hunt or fish. It is not fair to ask hunters and anglers to bear the entire cost of conserving the state's biodiversity.
  • The Department lacks a legal mandate and the authority to manage much of New Mexico's wildlife including "nongame" animals and "species of greatest conservation need" (SGCN).
  • The Department currently has authority to manage nongame species if they are on the state endangered list, but lacks funding to do so.
  • Past efforts to give the Department full management authority over all of New Mexico's wildlife have been opposed as an unfunded mandate. The Department says it needs more resources to take on additional responsibilities.
  • All New Mexicans benefit from wildlife and intact ecosystems. The public increasingly values wild animals for "non-consumptive" uses, such as wildlife watching, ecological contributions, or intrinsic value.
  • To adequately protect and manage all of New Mexico's wildlife, the Department will need new, dedicated sources of funding that aren't tied to hunting and fishing.
  • Mechanisms used by other states include: general sales tax (MO), outdoor equipment sales tax (TX), lottery (AZ), and real estate transfer fee (GA), among others.
  • SB33 would identify funding options that work for New Mexico.

SB33 is the investment we need to make in NM's Living Future!

 

ActionOtero Mesa Prairie Dog

If you live in New Mexico, contact your senator and representative and urge them to support SB33. Find your NM legislators here.

SB33 has been passed by the Senate Conservation Committee and has gone on to the Senate Finance Committee. Please contact committee members listed below, urging them to vote in favor of SB33.

Senate Finance Committee Members:

 

    Lesser Long-Nosed Bat

     

    Gila Monster photo: Josh Olander

    Prairie Dog photo: Ken Stinnett