State Land Office (SLO) and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) announce the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to allow EMNRD’s Forestry Division to gain access to state trust lands for the purpose of conducting assessments on the health of New Mexico forests, including insects and disease, as well as surveys of endangered plants.
By 2020, EMNRD is tasked with conducting the Statewide Assessment and Forest Action Plan. The assessment will help the department determine where to allocate federal funding to improve forest conditions. As part of the MOA, EMNRD will provide all data collected to the SLO’s Surface Resources Division.
“Secretary Cottrell Propst and I share a dedication to stewardship and maintenance of our land. The forest and plant assessments conducted by the Department will provide valuable information regarding where we can partner to improve the conditions of our land, air, water and wildlife,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said of the MOA. “This also puts a mechanism in place to assure our lessees are notified and aware of entrance by the Forestry Division to the land that they lease from us, which is important as we strive to maintain positive relationships with all lessees.”
“Cultivating this working partnership between the EMNRD and the State Land Office is a ‘win-win’ for New Mexico”, said EMNRD Cabinet Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst. “The State Forestry Division will collect data and share it with the SLO through the Statewide Assessment and Forest Action Plan. Having access to state trust land through the MOA is critical to a successful process.”
The SLO manages 9 million surface acres, or 10% of all surface land in New Mexico. The Forestry Division is scheduled to begin work on the Statewide Assessment and Forest Action Plan in April of 2019.