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Representatives from Santa Fe National Forest, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Range Improvement Task Force, and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association met with dozens of local ranchers earlier this week discuss ways to sustain trans-generational grazing operations in the Jemez Mountains while protecting habitat for the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse.
This meeting was the continuation of a conversation initiated by Congressman Ben Ray Lujan last week to discuss collaborative solutions.
“I was pleased by the discussion and the willingness of the ranching community to attend and improve our understanding of their concerns. I heard many good ideas that we intend to investigate more in an attempt to find a practical solution that can meet the needs of the ranching community and provide for protection of the mouse,” said Maria T. Garcia, Forest Supervisor.
The Forest Service is mandated by law to protect the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse and its occupied habitat. The mouse was listed as an endangered species in June.
The mouse lives in lush riparian areas, and is only active for four months each year where tall grasses provide both food and shelter.