In April, President Trump instructed the Department of Interior to review Rio Grande del Norte’s national monument designation. On Aug. 24th, according to a leaked copy of his report, Secretary Zinke recommended erasing protections: allowing mining and drilling in currently protected areas and leaving open the possibility of shrinking the monument.
State: New Mexico
Established: March 25, 2013
What is Rio Grande del Norte Known for?
"This extraordinary landscape of extreme beauty and daunting harshness is known as the Río Grande del Norte, and its extraordinary array of scientific and historic resources offer opportunities to develop our understanding of the forces that shaped northern New Mexico, including the diverse ecological systems and human cultures that remain present today." (Proclamation)
Why is Rio Grande del Norte Threatened?
- Fracking: Nearby Mora County was the first U.S. county to ban fracking. The local community was concerned about fracking compromising water quality and quantity. It’s important for Rio Grande del Norte to remain free of fracking to protect the monument lands and water.
- Energy development: A proposed high-capacity transmission line, if built, would disturb the habitat and wilderness value of this remote landscape
What can we do?We can challenge President Trump and Secretary Zinke’s unprecedented recommendation to erase protections for Rio Grande del Norte. The legal case against The President is strong -- the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 affirmed that only Congress has the authority to modify national monuments. But in addition to lawsuits we need the Senators from New Mexico to do all they can to keep the existing protections in place.
Both Senator Udall and Senator Heinrich support full protections for Rio Grande del Norte. We want to make sure they know we agree with them and challenge them to do even more to preserve this amazing place.
Learn more about Rio Grande del Norte
The river provides habitat for fish such as the Río Grande cutthroat trout as well as the recently reintroduced North American river otter. The Río Grande del Norte is part of the Central Migratory Flyway, a vital migration corridor for birds such as Canada geese, herons, sandhill cranes, hummingbirds, and American avocets. Several species of bats make their home in the gorge, which also provides important nesting habitat for golden eagles and numerous other raptor species, as well as habitat for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher.… Bald eagles roost above the river in winter and fly out over the Taos Plateau's sagebrush shrub habitat and native grasslands…. The vast plateau harbors a significant diversity of mammals and birds….
(Proclamation; PhotoCredit: Bob Wick, BLM via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)
"This northern New Mexico landscape also exhibits significant ecological diversity in these different geologic areas. From the cottonwood and willows along the Río Grande corridor, to the expansive sagebrush plains above the gorge on the Taos Plateau, the piñons at the base of Ute Mountain, and the spruce, aspen, and Douglas fir covering the mountain's northern slopes, the diversity of both ecosystems and species allows for, and has been the subject of, substantial scientific research."
(Proclamation; PhotoCredit: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)