Secretary Salazar Visits New Mexico
Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar returned to New Mexico in July for a whirlwind trip across the state.
Beginning July 11, the Secretary participated in a ceremony at Taos Pueblo against the backdrop of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains and historic Pueblo, for an event that included traditional ceremonies, a pueblo renaming ceremony and the signing of San Juan-Chama contracts. Taos Pueblo, the town of Taos and the El Prado Water and Sanitation District representatives sat down with the Secretary Salazar to sign each of their contracts allowing them to receive water from the San Juan-Chama Project. These contracts are part of the settlement of the Taos Indian Water Rights Settlement.
Following this event, the Secretary traveled half way across New Mexico for an afternoon event in Albuquerque, where he was presented with the Middle Rio Grande Conservation Initiative, a citizens’ report on the Middle Rio Grande. Secretary Salazar initiated development of this report during his visit to Albuquerque in January 2012 to discuss Middle Rio Grande Issues. He selected six members of the audience to join with the Bureau of Reclamation and Fish and Wildlife Service to create this report to address previous efforts and future opportunities for education, recreation and conservation in the Middle Rio Grande.
The crowd loudly cheered when the Secretary pledged $1.7 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to begin the first phase to purchase Price’s Dairy, which was promoted as a huge opportunity for conservation and education in the citizens’ report. The formerly operational dairy, located a few miles south of Albuquerque is part of a proposed 570-acre national wildlife refuge.
After hearing about the various aspects of the report from several committee members, the Secretary again opened up the meeting for public comment and addressed many of the issues and concerns on the spot.