Friday, October 19, 2012
Students from Mountain View Elementary helped Commissioner Art De La Cruz and U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar dedicate the new Valle de Oro Wildlife Refuge on Sept. 27.
Commissioner Art De La Cruz Applauds New Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge
Partnership Effort to Establish Refuge Led by Bernalillo County
Commissioner Art De La Cruz and the community today celebrated the news that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has established the southwest’s first urban national wildlife refuge in the heart of the South Valley.
Commissioner De La Cruz joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich and other partners this morning to celebrate the new Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge covers 390 acres at the site of the former Price’s Dairy farm at 7851 2nd Street S.W, along the Rio Grande bosque.
“Three years ago, saving this farm from development and creating a permanent refuge was just a noble idea,” Commissioner De La Cruz says. “Today, I’m proud to say it’s a reality because Bernalillo County came to the table with $5 million and broad community support for a project that will be good for the entire region.”
Bernalillo County’s $5 million contribution is the single biggest financial contribution that made the refuge possible. The federal Bureau of Reclamation contributed $2 million; The Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority contributed $1.8 million; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contributed $1.7 million; and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation contributed $500,000 through the Walmart Acres for America grant program.
Also, the Trust for Public Land provided significant support and funding to make the project a reality. The total cost of this phase of the project is $11.6 million.
“The Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge will have a positive impact on the South Valley and New Mexico,” Commissioner De La Cruz says. “This wildlife refuge means new economic development and cultural tourism possibilities for our communities. This new refuge also means great opportunities to get families and children involved in outdoor learning and healthier lifestyles.”
Today’s announcement is the first step in the process of eventually opening the refuge to the public. The next step is aimed at acquiring the remaining 180 acres of the farm. This effort is planned for 2013.
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