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United States Department of the Interior 
Bureau of Land Management 



Las Cruces District Office 
Mimbres Resource Area 



October 1992 



PROPOSED 
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN/FINAL 
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT 




BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for the balanced 
management of the Public Land and resources and their various values so 
that they are considered in the combination that will best serve the needs of 
the American people. BLM management is based upon the principles of 
multiple use and sustained yield; a combination of uses that takes into 
account the long-term needs of future generations of renewable and 
nonrenewable resources. These resources include recreation, range, timber, 
minerals, watershed, fish and wildlife, wilderness and natural, scenic, 
scientific and historical values. 



BLM-NM-PT-92-016-4410 




United States Department of the Interior 



BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

Las Cruces District Office ™ " 

1800 Marquess St. i N reply refer to 

Las Cruces, New Mexico 88005 

1610 (036) 



Dear Reviewer: 

Enclosed for your review is the Proposed Mimbres Resource Management Plan 
(RMP) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) . The Proposed RMP is the 
Preferred Alternative from the Draft, modified based upon public input. We 
believe that we have made a diligent effort to develop a Proposed Plan which 
provides a reasonable balance between protecting significant environmental 
values, while providing for economic production. 

CHANGES FROM THE DRAFT HAVE BEEN HIGHLIGHTED IN BOLD PRINT THROUGHOUT THE 
DOCUMENT TO MAKE THEM EASIER FOR YOU TO FIND. Individuals wishing to comment 
on the plan may send comments to the BLM at the address on this letterhead. 
All comments received will be considered in preparation of the Record of 
Decision and Approved Plan. All parts of the Proposed Plan may also be 
protested. Protests must be sent to the Director (760) , Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), Room 407, 1620 L Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006, within 
30 days. The protest must include the following information: (1) name, 
mailing address, telephone number, and interest of the person filing the 
protest; (2) a statement of the issue/concern or issues/concerns being 
protested; (3) a statement of the part or parts being protested; (4) a copy of 
all documents addressing the issue/concern or issues/concerns that were 
submitted during the planning process by the protesting party or an indication 
of the date the issue/concern or issues/concerns were discussed for the 
records; and (5) a concise statement explaining why the BLM New Mexico State 
Director's decision is wrong. Only those persons or organizations who 
participated in the planning process may protest. 

At the end of the 30-day protest period, the Proposed Plan, excluding any 
portions under protest, will become final. Approval will be withheld on any 
portion of the plan under protest until final action has been completed on 
such protest. A Record of Decision and Approved Plan will be published 
following resolution of any protests. 

Sincerely, 




Jon Joseph 

Area Manager 

Mimbres Resource Area 



Enclosure 



*v& ■ 



fro Co 5 



MIMBRES 

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN 

AND 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT 



M3- 



Draft ( ) Final (X) 

The United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management 

1. Type of Action: Administrative (X) Legislative ( ) 

2. Abstract: This Proposed Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Final Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) describes and analyzes the expected impacts of implementing the proposed 
management plan for the Mimbres Resource Area in New Mexico. This proposed RMP is a modified 
version (as a result of public input) of the preferred alternative described and analyzed in the Draft 
RMP/EIS. 

3. Comments have been requested from the individuals, groups, and agencies shown on the distribution 
list in Chapter 5. 

4. For further information contact: 

Jon Joseph, Area Manager 
Bureau of Land Management 
Mimbres Resource Area 
1800 Marquess 
Las Cruces, NM 88005 



Telephone (505) 525-8228 
Date Filed with Environmental Protection Agency: QQf -Q 7 15392 
Date by which protests must be postmarked no later than: M n\i 1 g 1992 



RECOMMENDED 




APPROVED: 



C. Rundell 
Rstrict Manager 
Las Cruces District Office 




bJbvftuJ 



Larry L. Wood^rd 
State Director i 
New Mexico 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAGE 

SUMMARY S-l 

CHAPTER 1: PURPOSE AND NEED 

Purpose and Need 1-1 

Location and Description of the Planning Area 1-1 

Planning Process 1-1 

Planning Issues, Criteria, and Management Concerns 1-3 

Issue #1 - Land Ownership Adjustments 1-4 

Issue #2 - Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) 

and Special Management Areas 1-4 

Issue #3 - Vehicle Management 1-5 

Issue #4 - Access 1-6 

Management Concern #1 - Rights-of-Way 1-7 

Management Concern #2 - Minerals 1-7 

Management Concern #3 - Recreation 1-8 

Management Concern #4 - Cultural/Paleontological Resources 1-9 

Management Concern #5 - Wildlife Habitat 1-9 

Management Concern #6 - Soil, Air and Water 1-10 

Management Concern #7 - Vegetation * 1-11 

Management Concern #8 - Riparian and Arroyo Habitat 1-11 

Management Concern #9 - Special Status Species 1-12 

CHAPTER 2: PROPOSED PLAN 

Introduction 2-1 

Alternatives Considered But Not Analyzed 2-1 

Continuing Management Guidance and Actions 2-2 

Minerals 2-3 

Lands 2-10 

Access 2-18 

Livestock Grazing 2-18 

Vegetation 2-23 

Soil, Air, and Water 2-23 

Fire Management 2-25 

Wildlife 2-25 

Cultural and Paleontological Resources 2-28 

Recreation 2-32 

Visual Resources 2-33 

Wilderness 2-34 

Special Status Species 2-34 

Riparian and Arroyo Habitats 2-34 

Proposed Plan 2-37 

Issue #1 - Land Ownership Adjustments 2-37 

Issue #2 - Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) 

and Special Management Areas 2-38 

Issue #3 - Vehicle Management 2-38 

Issue #4 - Access 2-40 



TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued) 

PAGE 

Management Concern #1 - Rights-of-Way 2-41 

Management Concern #2 - Minerals 2-42 

Management Concern #3 - Recreation 2-42 

Management Concern #4 - Cultural/Palcontological Resources 2-42 

Management Concern #5 - Wildlife Habitat 2-43 

Management Concern #6 - Soil, Air and Water 2-43 

Management Concern #7 - Vegetation 2-44 

Management Concern #8 - Riparian and Arroyo Habitat 2-47 

Management Concern #9 - Special Status Species 2-47 

CHAPTER 3: AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT 

Introduction 3-1 

Topography 3-1 

Climate 3-1 

Minerals 3-2 

Lands 3-4 

Access 3-4 

Livestock Grazing 3-4 

Vegetation 3-6 

Soil, Air, and Water 3-9 

Fire Management 3-12 

Wildlife 3-14 

Cultural and Paleontological Resources 3-16 

Recreation 3-17 

Visual Resources 3-19 

Wilderness 3-20 

Special Status Species 3-20 

Riparian and Arroyo Habitat 3-21 

Social and Economic Conditions 3-21 

CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES 

Introduction 4-1 

Continuing Management Guidance and Actions 4-3 

Minerals 4-3 

Lands 4-3 

Access 4-4 

Livestock Grazing 4-5 

Vegetation 4-7 

Soil, Air, and Water 4-9 

Wildlife 4-10 

Cultural and Paleontological Resources 4-11 

Recreation 4-12 

Visual Resources 4-13 

Wilderness 4-14 

Special Status Species 4-15 

Riparian and Arroyo Habitats 4-16 

Social and Economic Conditions 4-16 



TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued) 

PAGE 

Proposed Plan 4-20 

Minerals 4-20 

Lands 4-23 

Access 4-25 

Livestock Grazing 4-26 

Vegetation 4-30 

Soil, Air, and Water 4-32 

Wildlife 4-36 

Cultural and Paleontological Resources 4-37 

Recreation 4-40 

Visual Resources 4-42 

Wilderness 4-43 

Special Status Species 4-44 

Riparian and Arroyo Habitats 4-47 

Social and Economic Conditions 4-48 

Cumulative Impacts 4-52 

CHAPTER 5: CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION 

Introduction 5-1 

Formal Consultation 5-1 

Consistency with Other Plans 5-2 

Public Participation 5-2 

Public Review of the RMP 5-4 

Summary of Small Group Meetings 5-4 

Record of Decision 5-4 

Protest Process 5-5 

Comments and Responses 5-5 

MODIFICATIONS AND CORRECTIONS 

Introduction M-l 

Errata M-l 

APPENDICES 

Appendix A: Mineral Resources 

A-l BLM Mineral Resources Policy A-l 

A-2 Mineral Leasing Proposals A-2 

Appendix B: Lands 

B-l Lands and Minerals Disposal Policy B-l 

B-2 Set Asides B-6 

B-3 Memorandums of Understanding and Cooperative Agreements B-8 

Appendix C: Livestock Grazing 

C-l Mimbres Resource Area Allotment Categories C-l 

C-2 Present Allotment Status and Category (1991) C-2 

C-3 Grazing Management Considerations for the Mimbres 
Resource Area C-10 



TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued) 

PAGE 

Appendix D: Desired Plant Community D-l 

Appendix E: Cultural Resources E-l 

Appendix F: Recreation 

F-l Recreation Opportunity Spectrum F-l 

F-2 Implementation of ORV Designations F-4 

Appendix G: Visual Resource Management G-l 

Appendix H: Special Management Areas 

H-l Areas of Critical Environmental Concern H-l 

H-2 Special Management Areas-Trails H-4 

H-2 Supplement Continental Divide National Scenic Trail 

Alternative Route Comparison H-30 

H-3 Research Natural Areas (RNAs) and National Natural 
Landmark (NNL) H-32 

Appendix I: Wilderness 

1-1 Wilderness Inventory Report, Pena Blanca 1-1 

1-2 Wilderness Inventory Report, Organ Needles 1-4 

1-3 Wilderness Inventory Report, Gray Peak 1-7 

1-4 Wilderness Inventory Report, Apache Box 1-10 

Appendix J: Gila River Wild and Scenic River 

Inventory Report Summary J-l 

Appendix K: Major Soil Types in the Mimbres Resource Area K-l 

Appendix L: Special Status Species 

L-l Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Plant Species 

Potentially Occurring on Public Land in the Mimbres Resource Area L-l 

L-2 Special Status Animals L-9 

GLOSSARY GL-1 

REFERENCES R-l 



TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued) 

PAGE 
LIST OF TABLES 



Table 



S-l Proposed Plan/Alternative Summary S-3 

S-2 Summary of Anticipated Impacts S-9 

2-1 Estimated Surface Disturbing Actions Per Year 2-3 

2-2 Oil and Gas and Geothermal Leases 2-6 

2-3 Oil and Gas Wildcat Wells by County 2-6 

2-4 15-Year Projection for Oil and Gas Development 2-6 

2-5 15-Year Projection for Geothermal Development 2-7 

2-6 15-Year Projection for Locatable Minerals Development 2-9 

2-7 Community Pits/Common-Use Areas 2-10 

2-8 Withdrawals 2-14 

2-9 Existing Classifications in the Mimbres Resource Area 2-13 

2-10 Landfill Investigation Status 2-19 

2-11 Wildlife Area and Time Stipulations 2-28 

2-12 ROS Class Management Acreages in the Organ Mountains Recreation Lands 2-33 

2-13 Visual Resource Management Acreages Within the Mimbres Resource Area 2-33 

2-14 Mimbres Resource Area Wilderness Recommendations 2-35 

2-15 ACECs - Proposed Plan 2-39 

2-16 Management Objectives Achieved by Planned Actions - Proposed Plan 2-45 

2-17 Wildlife HMPs - Proposed Plan 2-46 

2-18 Desired Plant Community Objectives - Proposed Plan 2-48 

2-19 Land Treatments - Proposed Plan 2-49 

3-1 Oil and Gas Potential for Occurrence (Acres) 3-2 

3-2 Geothermal Potential for Occurrence (Acres) 3-3 

3-3 Nonenergy Leasable Minerals Potential for Occurrence (Acres) 3-3 

3-4 Locatable Minerals Potential for Occurrence (Acres) 3-4 

3-5 Salable Minerals Potential for Occurrence (Acres) 3-4 

3-6 Land Status (In Acres) 3-5 

3-7 Existing Plant Communities 3-7 

3-8 Fire History 1977-1989 3-13 

3-9 Estimated Recreation Visits by Special Recreation Management Area 

(SRMA) and Activity 3-19 

3-10 Population Change 1980 to 1988 3-22 

4-1 Estimates Surface Area Disturbed Per Year 4-3 

4-2 Availability of Land for Oil and Gas Development Relative to 

Potential (Acres of Federal Mineral Estate) Proposed Plan 4-21 

4-3 Availability of Land for Geothermal Development Relative to 

Potential (Acres of Federal Mineral Estate) Proposed Plan 4-21 

4-4 Availability of Land for Nonenergy Leasable Development Relative 

to Potential (Acres of Federal Mineral Estate) Proposed Plan 4-22 

4-5 Availability of Land for Locatable Mineral Development Relative 

to Potential (Acres of Federal Mineral Estate) Proposed Plan 4-24 

4-6 Availability of Land for Salable Mineral Development Relative 

to Potential (Acres of Federal Mineral Estate) Proposed Plan 4-24 

4-7 Allotments Potentially Impacted by Land Disposal Action 

Proposed Plan 4-27 

5-1 Mimbres RMP Interagency Meetings 5-3 

5-2 Partial Listing of Document Recipients 5-5 

5-3 List of Preparers 5-6 

5-4 Oral and Written Comments Received 5-8 



Map 



TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued) 

PAGE 
LIST OF MAPS 

General Location 1-2 



2-1 Existing Rights-of-Way (ROW) Corridors follows page 2-16 

2-2 Existing Wilderness Study Areas follows page 2-34 

2-3 Land Ownership Adjustments (Disposal), Proposed Plan follows page 2-38 

2-4 Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, Research Natural 

Areas, and National Natural Landmark, Proposed Plan follows Map 2-3 

2-5 Butterfield Trail and Continental Divide National Scenic Trail ACECs, 

Proposed Plan follows Map 2-4 

2-6 Wild and Scenic River and Wilderness Additions, Proposed Plan follows Map 2-5 

2-7 Vehicle Designations, Proposed Plan follows Map 2-6 

2-8 Access Zones, Proposed Plan follows page 2-40 

2-9 ROW Avoidance/Exclusion Areas, Proposed Plan follows page 2-42 

2-10 Locatable Minerals - Closed to Mineral Entry, Proposed Plan follows Map 2-9 

2-11 Leaseable and Salable Minerals-Closed, Proposed Plan follows Map 2-10 

2-12 Recreation-Special Recreation Management Areas, Proposed Plan follows Map 2-11 

2-13 Existing and Proposed Wildlife Habitat Management Plan (HMP) Areas follows page 2-44 

2-14 Proposed Watershed Management Plans, Proposed Plan follows Map 2-13 

2-15 Land Treatments - Prescribed Burns, Proposed Plan follows page 2-48 

2-16 Land Treatments - Chemical Brush Control, Proposed Plan follows Map 2-15 

2-17 Fragile Lands follows Map 2-16 

3-1 Leasable Mineral Potential follows page 3-2 

3-2 Locatable Mineral Potential follows page 3-4 

3-3 Salable Mineral Potential follows Map 3-2 

3-4 Critical Soils and Impaired Watersheds follows page 3-10 

3-5 Deer/Antelope Herd Units follows page 3-14 

3-6 Bighorn Sheep Herd Units follows Map 3-5 

3-7 VRM Classes follows page 3-20 

Visual A MAP POCKET INSIDE BACK COVER 



SUMMARY 



SUMMARY 



The Proposed Mimbres Resource Management 
Plan (RMP) and Final Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) identifies and analyzes the future 
options for managing the 3,053,820 acres of public 
land and 4,126,780 acres of Federal mineral estate 
administered by the Bureau of Land Management 
(BLM), Las Cruces District, Mimbres Resource 
Area. The Mimbres Resource Area administers 
public land and resources (described in detail in 
Chapters 1 and 3 of this document) in Dofia Ana, 
Luna, Hidalgo, and Grant Counties. 

The Proposed Mimbres RMP has been prepared 
using the BLM planning regulations issued under 
the authority of the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act of 1976. When completed, the 
RMP will provide a comprehensive framework for 
managing and allocating public land and resources 
within the Mimbres Resource Area over the next 
20 years. 

The contents of this Proposed RMP/Final EIS 
primarily focus on resolving key resource 
management planning issues. These issues are: 

• Land Ownership Adjustments 

• Areas of Critical Environmental Concern 
(ACECs) and Special Management Areas 
(SMAs) 

• Vehicle Management 

• Access 

In addition to the issues, the following 
management concerns are also addressed: rights- 
of-way; minerals; recreation; cultural and 
paleontological resources; wildlife habitat; soil, air, 
and water; vegetation; riparian and arroyo habitat; 
and special status species. A major driving force 
behind the preparation of the RMP is the 
burgeoning population of the Las Cruces/El Paso 
areas and the resultant increased demands on the 
public land within the Mimbres Resource Area. 

The resolution of these issues and concerns can 
only be achieved within the context of proper land- 
use planning. 



Each of the issues, management concerns, and 
planning criteria are discussed in Chapter 1. 
Those aspects of current management that are not 
at issue are covered in the Continuing 
Management Guidance and Actions section of 
Chapter 2. The Continuing Management 
Guidance and Actions were developed primarily 
from laws, regulations, manuals, and existing land- 
use plans and apply to all alternatives. 

Four RMP alternatives were developed to describe 
the different management options available to 
BLM for the Mimbres Resource Area. These 
alternatives were developed to respond to the 
issues and concerns expressed by the public and 
BLM early in the planning process. Each 
alternative presents a different blend and balance 
of resource allocations and uses. Together with 
the Continuing Management Guidance and 
Actions, each of the alternatives forms a separate, 
feasible land-use plan. 

The alternatives in this EIS are designed to 
provide general management guidance. Specific 
projects for a given area or resource will be 
detailed in future activity plans. These plans 
discuss more precisely how a particular area or 
resource is to be managed, and ensure compliance 
with the approved RMP's resolution of the issues. 

The four alternatives developed for the Mimbres 
RMP are summarized in Table S-l. The Proposed 
Plan is further described in Chapter 2. The direct, 
indirect, and cumulative impacts anticipated from 
the Proposed Plan are described in Chapter 4. A 
comparative summary of the impacts of all 
alternatives is included in Table S-2. A complete 
description of all alternatives is contained in the 
Draft RMP/EIS. 

This document introduces the Proposed RMP 
which is the Preferred Alternative (D) from the 
Draft, modified based upon public input. 
Modifications fall within the range of alternatives 
previously addressed and, therefore, do not involve 
new analysis of environmental consequences. The 



Proposed RMP contains a summary of the public The overall goal of the planning process is to 

participation process for the Draft, copies of resolve the issues and management concerns by 

comment letters, oral testimony excerpts from providing for a combination of resource uses that 

public hearings, and the BLM's response to these will protect important or sensitive environmental 

comments. values, while at the same time allowing 

development of resources which provide 

The Proposed RMP is designed to provide commercial goods and services, and contribute to 

balanced management direction for all resources the social and economic well-being of local 

and land uses within the Mimbres Resource Area. communities. 



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S-16 



CHAPTER 1 



CHAPTER 1 PURPOSE AND NEED 



PURPOSE AND NEED 

The Mimbres Resource Management Plan (RMP) 
has been prepared to provide a comprehensive 
framework for managing public land and for 
allocating resources during the next 20 years using 
the principles of multiple use and sustained yield. 
These two principles are defined in the Glossary. 
The RMP establishes areas for limited, restricted, 
or exclusive uses, levels of production, allowable 
resource uses, resource condition objectives, 
program uses, program constraints, and general 
management direction. 

This document includes the Proposed RMP and a 
Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), 
which fulfill the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act (FLPMA) and the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements 
for comprehensive land-use planning for public 
land. The requirement (by Executive Order 1 1644) 
that public land be designated as "open", "limited", 
or "closed" to off-road vehicle use will also be met. 
Plan amendments, if necessary, will keep the RMP 
current with resource management needs and 
policies. 

Between 1976 and 1982, the Mimbres Resource 
Area prepared land-use plans, known as 
Management Framework Plans (MFPs), for the 
majority of the public surface and minerals within 
its area of jurisdiction. Valid planning decisions 
found in the Gila and Southern Rio Grande MFPs 
and various amendments are available for review in 
the Mimbres Resource Area Office. 

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION 
OF THE PLANNING AREA 

The Mimbres Resource Area (FORMERLY 
KNOWN AS THE LAS CRUCES/LORDSBURG 
RESOURCE AREA) is located in the southwest 
portion of New Mexico and contains approximately 
3,053,820 acres of public land and 4,126,780 acres 
of Federal minerals (see Map 1-1). The public 
land is located in Dofia Ana, Grant, Luna, and 
Hidalgo Counties. Generally, the public land 



is well-blocked in Dofia Ana County, southern 
Luna County and portions of Hidalgo County. 
Private and State trust lands are concentrated 
in much of Grant County, southern Hidalgo 
County and northern Luna County. 

PLANNING PROCESS 

The BLM RMP process consists of nine basic 
steps. This process requires the use of an 
interdisciplinary team of resource specialists for 
the completion of each step. The steps described 
in the planning regulations and followed in 
preparing this RMP are summarized below. 
Publication of this document is part of Step 8, 
selection of the resource management plan. 

Step 1. Identification of Issues 

The first step in the planning process is intended 
to identify resource management problems or 
conflicts that can be resolved through the planning 
process. These problems or conflicts (issues) were 
identified by the BLM and other agency personnel 
as well as members of the public. Four issues and 
nine management concerns were identified and 
considered in this document. Each are discussed 
in detail. 

Step 2. Development of Planning Criteria 

During this step, preliminary decisions are made 
regarding the kinds of information needed to 
clarify the issues, the kinds of alternatives to be 
developed, and the factors to be considered in 
evaluating alternatives and selecting a preferred 
RMP/EIS. As each issue was identified, a list of 
planning criteria was developed to help guide the 
resolution of that issue. The planning criteria are 
listed after each issue. 

Step 3. Inventory Data and Information 
Collection 

This step involves the collection of various kinds of 
environmental, social, economic resource, and 
institutional data needed for completion of the 



1-1 



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process. This step can include detailed field 
studies, literature studies, or consultation with 
appropriate professionals. In most cases, this 
process is limited to inventories needed to address 
the issues. 



Step 4. 
(MSA) 



Management Situation Analysis 



The step calls for deliberate assessment of the 
current situation. It includes a description of 
current BLM management guidance, a discussion 
of existing problems and opportunities for solving 
them, and a consolidation of existing data needed 
to analyze and resolve the identified issues. The 
end result of this step is the development of an 
unpublished companion document known as the 
MSA. That document is used to develop the 
Continuing Management Guidance and Actions 
section of the RMP. The MSA is used as a basis 
for compiling the Affected Environment chapter of 
the RMP. A copy of the MSA is available for 
review in the Mimbres Resource Area Office. 

Step 5. Formulation of Alternatives 

During this step several complete, reasonable 
resource management alternatives are prepared, 
including one for no action and others that strive 
to resolve the issues while placing emphasis either 
on environmental protection or resource 
production. This important section of the RMP 
has been incorporated into Chapter 2. 

Step 6. Estimation of Effects of 
Alternatives 

The physical, biological, economic, and social 
effects of implementing each alternative are 
estimated in order to allow for a comparative 
evaluation of impacts. This step, known as the 
Environmental Consequences section, is Chapter 4 
in this RMP. 

Step 7. Selection of the Preferred 
Alternative 

Based on the information generated during Step 6, 
the District Manager identifies and recommends a 
preferred alternative to the State Director. The 
Draft RMP/EIS document is then prepared and 
distributed for public review. Alternative D was 



selected by management as the preferred 
alternative. 

Step 8. Selection of the Resource 
Management Plan 

Based on the results of public review and 
comment, the District Manager will select and 
recommend to the State Director various proposals 
or alternatives to comprise the Proposed RMP and 
publish it along with a Final EIS. We are 
presently at this step in the planning process. A 
final decision is made after a 60-day Governor's 
Consistency Review and a 30-day protest period on 
the Final EIS are completed. A Record of 
Decision (ROD) and Approved RMP will then be 
published, following resolution of any protests. 

Step 9. Monitoring and Evaluation 

This step involves the collection and analysis of 
long-term resource condition and trend data to 
determine the effectiveness of the plan in resolving 
the identified issues, and to ensure that 
implementation of the plan is achieving the desired 
results. Monitoring continues from the time the 
RMP is adopted until changing conditions require 
a revision of the whole plan or any portion of it. 

PLANNING ISSUES, CRITERIA, 
AND MANAGEMENT 
CONCERNS 

The BLM planning regulations equate land-use 
planning with problem solving and issue 
resolution. An issue is defined as an opportunity, 
conflict, or problem, regarding the use or 
management of public land and resources. 

Planning criteria are the standards, rules, and 
measures used for data collection and alternative 
formulation, which will guide final plan selection. 
Planning criteria are taken from appropriate laws 
and regulations, BLM manuals and directives, and 
concerns expressed in meetings, and consultations, 
both with the public and other agencies. 

Management concerns are those nonissue related 
procedures or land-use allocations which have 
proven, during the preparation of this RMP/EIS, 
to need modification. Management concerns focus 
on use conflicts, requirements, or conditions that 



1-3 



cannot be resolved administratively and did not, 
during initial public scoping appear to meet the 



criteria to qualify as a planning issue but were 
identified for resolution in the Mimbres RMP. 



Issue 1: Land Ownership Adjustments 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this issue, answers are needed to the 
following questions: 

• Which lands should BLM acquire (by 
exchange, purchase, or donation) to 
consolidate its land pattern and to 
enhance multiple-use programs? 

• Which lands should BLM retain in public 
ownership? 

• Which lands should BLM dispose of and 
why? 

Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed questions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 

• Multiple-use values (whether or not 
significant or unique values exist) 

• Land and resource management efficiency 

• Service to the public (i.e., meeting 
community needs, etc.) 



Public interest and attitudes 

Existing land uses 

Surrounding land ownership pattern 

Adjacent land uses 

Need for public and administrative access 

FLPMA, Section 203 sale criteria 

- parcels difficult and uneconomic to 

manage 

- purpose of a previous acquisition is no 
longer required 

- disposal of a parcel will serve important 
public purposes 

Social and economic effects 

Effects on other resources and uses 

The degree to which changes in 
ownership will promote consolidation of 
public land without creating a scattered 
land pattern or split-estate 

Public health and safety 



Issue 2: Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) and Other Special 
Management Areas (SMAs) 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this issue, answers are needed to the 
following questions: 

• Which public land should be designated 
as biological, cultural, scenic or natural 
hazard ACECs and how should they be 
managed (the RMP must clearly identify 
management objectives for each area and 
what restrictions if any apply to other 
uses)? 



Is the Gila River (BLM-administered 
public land in the Gila Lower Box 
between Redrock and Virden, New 
Mexico and the Gila Middle Box 
upstream from Redrock, New Mexico) 
suitable for inclusion in the National 
Wild and Scenic River System? How 
should these areas be managed? 

Which routes should be considered as 
possible locations for the Continental 
Divide National Scenic Trail? Which 
route should be ultimately designated? 



1-4 



• Is land in the Peloncillo Mountains 
(between the Coronado National Forest 
and Antelope Pass) suitable for inclusion 
in the National Wilderness Preservation 
System? 

• Is land in the Organ Mountains (between 
Soledad Canyon and Pefia Blanca and 
between the Organ Mountains Wilderness 
Study Area (WSA) and Squaw Peak) 
suitable for inclusion in the National 
Wilderness Preservation System? 

• Is land in the Apache Box area suitable 
for inclusion in the National Wilderness 
Preservation System? 

• Which public land should be identified 
for other forms of special management 
(such as scenic or backcountry byways, 
watchable wildlife areas, and "Adventures 
in the Past") and how should it be 
managed? 

Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed decisions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 



Existing ACEC, wilderness, and wild and 
scenic river representation 

Current and potential land uses 

Effects of designation on other resources 
and uses 

Effects of nondesignation on resource 
values 

Social and economic effects 

Public interest and attitudes 

Consistency of designation with resource 
plans of other Federal, State, and local 
governments and the Indian tribes 

Consultation with Federal, State and local 
agencies, the scientific community, and 
individuals 

Long-term (more than 20 years) versus 
short-term (less than 20 years) benefits 

Management concerns along the 
U.S./Mexican border 



Resource values 

Manageability of an area to preserve its 
resource value 



Public health and safety 



Issue 3: Vehicle Management 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this issue, answers are needed to the 
following questions: 

• What public land should be designated as 
open, limited, or closed to vehicle use? 

• What areas should be managed for 
intensive off-road vehicle (ORV) use? 

• Within restricted areas, how should 
vehicle use for authorized activities (other 
than recreational) be accommodated? 



Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed decisions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 

• Level of existing use and location of areas 
currently being used by ORVs 

• Demand for additional ORV 
opportunities 

• Types of ORVs being used 

• Effects of ORVs use on other resources 
and uses 



1-5 



Effects of ORV restrictions or closures 
on other resources 

Effects of ORV designations on other 
uses such as livestock management, law 
enforcement, and mineral exploration and 
development 

BLM administrative needs 

Public interest and attitudes 



• Manageability of an area to accomplish 
the objectives of a designation 

• Management concerns along the 
U.S./Mexican border 

• Public health and safety 

• Social and economic effects 



Issue 4: Access 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this issue, answers are needed to the 
following questions: 

• Where should BLM provide access to or 
across public land and what type of access 
is needed? 

• What actions should BLM take to 
provide access to or across public land? 

• How should BLM coordinate with other 
land and resource management agencies 
to ensure access to State trust, National 
Forest, and public lands? 

Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed decisions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 

• Extent of public land and the size of 
public land parcels 

• Resource values 

• Availability and type of existing access 

• Public needs and preferences for access 



• Agency administrative needs for access 

• Coordination with State and local 
governments and other Federal agencies 

• Effects of the availability of access on 
existing resources and uses 

• Compatibility with adjoining land uses 

• How the public land is being used and 
managed 

• Management concerns along the 
U.S./Mexico border 

• Public health and safety 

• Social and economic effects 

• Effects on adjacent private landowners 

• Potential for development of access 
through consolidation of public land or 
development of alternative routes, 
followed by negotiated easement 
acquisition, and as a last resort, 
condemnation 



1-6 



Management Concern 1: Rights-of-Way 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this management concern, answers are 
needed to the following questions: 

• Which public land should be designated 
for rights-of-way corridors, avoidance 
areas, and exclusion areas? 

• What terms and conditions should be 
applied to rights-of-way grants for 
corridors and sites and for use outside 
corridors and sites? 

• Which existing public land transportation 
and utility corridors should not be 
designated as a rights-of-way corridor 
upon plan approval? 

Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed questions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 



Service to the public 

Resource values and uses 

Adjacent land uses 

Compatibility with other utility rights-of- 
way 

Presence of existing corridors and rights- 
of-way (and confining new rights-of-ways 
to existing corridors and sites to the 
extent possible) 

Social and economic effects 

Effects on the resources and uses 



Management Concern 2: Minerals 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this management concern, answers are 
needed to the following questions: 

• Which public land should be open to the 
operation of the mining laws? Which 
should be closed? 

• What terms or conditions should be 
applied to public land open to the 
operation of the mining laws? 

• Which public land should be open to 
mineral material (sand and gravel, for 
instance) disposal? Which should be 
closed? 



What terms, conditions, or special 
stipulations should be applied to public 
land open to mineral material disposal 
activities? 

Which public land should be considered 
for competitive mineral material sales? 

Which public land should be open to 
energy and nonenergy leasable mineral 
development subject to the terms and 
conditions of the standard lease form, 
minor constraints such as seasonal 
restrictions, or major constraints such as 
no surface occupancy? 

Which public land should be closed to 
energy and nonenergy mineral leasing? 



1-7 



Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed decisions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 

• Effects of mineral exploration and 
development on other resources and uses 

• Mineral potential and the probability of 
a discovery 

• Demand for mineral resources 

• Lands available for mineral production 



Effects of environmental protection 
stipulations on claimants, lessees, and 
permittees 

Success of protective stipulations in 
accomplishing objectives 

Effects on the mineral industry of closing 
lands 

Public health and safety 

Social and economic effects 



Management Concern 3: Recreation 



Needed Decisions 



Which public land should be managed 
with emphasis on outdoor recreation 
opportunities? 

What recreation setting should be 
maintained and what activities should 
BLM provide for? 

What recreation management strategies 
should be developed and what actions 
should BLM take to maintain established 
recreation settings? 

What activity planning priorities should 
BLM establish for the Resource Area? 

Which public land should be identified 
and managed for interpretation of natural 
and cultural resources and public 
education (such as backcountry byways, 
watchable wildlife areas)? 



Existing recreation uses, use areas, and 
facilities 

Public demand for additional recreation 
activities, settings, and experiences 

Compatibility with adjacent land uses and 
resources 

Effects of recreation uses on other 
resources and uses 

Public health and safety 

Planned or projected recreation 
developments 

Public interest and attitudes 

Potential for interpretation of resource 
management objectives 

Social and economic effects 



Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed decisions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 



1-8 



Management Concern 4: Cultural and Paleontological Resources 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this management concern, answers are 
needed to the following questions: 

• What management objectives should 
BLM establish for cultural and 
paleontological resources in the Resource 
Area? 

• What actions should BLM take to achieve 
these objectives (such as preparation and 
implementation of cultural resource 
management plans and designation of 
ACECs or other SMAs)? 

Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed decisions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 

• Relative importance and sensitivity of 
known and anticipated cultural and 
paleontological resources 



Geographic distribution and density of 
cultural and paleontological resources 

Feasibility of attaining cultural and 
paleontological resource management 
objectives 

Need or desirability of cultural and 
paleontological resource management 
objectives 

Threats to cultural and paleontological 
resources 

Public interest and attitudes 

Effects of cultural and paleontological 
resource management on other resources 
and uses 

Compatibility with adjacent land uses 

Social and economic effects 



Management Concern 5: Wildlife Habitat 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this management concern, answers are 
needed to the following questions: 

• What wildlife species and habitats should 
receive management priority? What 
maintenance, improvement, and 
expansion objectives should BLM 
establish for these species and habitats? 



Which priority areas need 
Management Plans (HMPs)? 



Habitat 



What actions should BLM take to achieve 
the objectives for priority species and 
habitats? 

What wildlife population goals should be 
established, considering existing and 
anticipated habitat capacity? 



• What monitoring objectives should BLM 
establish for priority habitat? 

• Where, with what methods, and at what 
times of the year should animal damage 
(predator) control activities be 
authorized? 

Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed decisions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 

• Existing HMPs 

• Input from Federal and State wildlife 
agencies and the scientific community 

• Species and habitats of high public or 
scientific interest 



1-9 



• Extent of species and habitats including 
current range, key areas, and potential 
habitat 

• Species population goals 

• Forage allocation 

• Species habitat requirements 

• Vegetation communities and habitat 
condition 



Effects of other resource uses 

Social and economic effects 

Presence of exotic species and conflicts 
between exotic and native species 

Maintenance or enhancement of 
biological diversity 



Management Concern 6: Soil, Air and Water 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this management concern, answers are 
needed to the following questions: 

• What objectives should BLM establish for 
watershed management and control of 
soil erosion? 

• What management objectives should 
BLM establish for maintenance of air 
quality in the Resource Area? 

• What actions should BLM take to achieve 
these objectives (such as preparation and 
implementation of watershed 
management plans)? 

• What water quality objectives should 
BLM establish for the Resource Area and 
what actions should be taken to achieve 
those objectives? 

• Where should BLM focus its efforts to 
secure instream flows for riparian, 
wildlife, and recreation purposes (if such 
a provision ever exists under New Mexico 
State law)? 

Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed decisions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 

• Soil type 



• Effectiveness of existing erosion control 
structures and the need for additional 
structures 

Extent of saline/alkali soils 

Watershed condition in areas of 
saline/alkali soils 

Methods to reduce runoff and erosion 

Current and potential land uses 

Air quality standards of the Clean Air 
Act (as amended, 1977) 

Air quality standards of the State of New 
Mexico 

Current and future land uses that may 
affect air quality 

Values and uses of water resources 

Demand for additional use of water 
resources 

Water quality and trend 

Watershed condition and trend 

Watershed productivity potential 

Manageability of the water resources 



1-10 



• Other resource uses of water resources 



Social and economic effects 



State of New Mexico and Federal water 
quality standards 



Management Concern 7: Vegetation 



Needed Decisions 



Social and economic effects 



To resolve this management concern, answers are 
needed to the following questions: 

• On which public land should BLM 
establish vegetation sale areas for native 
plants and firewood? 

• What vegetation management objectives 
should BLM develop for maintenance or 
re-establishment of desired plant 
communities and what actions should be 
taken to achieve those objectives? 

• On which public land should land 
treatments (vegetation manipulation) be 
used to protect, restore, establish, or 
enhance vegetation species? What types 
of treatments should BLM use (root 
plow, herbicides, prescribed fire)? 

Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed decisions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 

• Available access and demand 

• Effects on other resources 



Areas that require increased vegetation 
cover to reduce soil erosion, increase 
livestock forage, and improve wildlife 
habitat 

Suitability of natural vs. artificial 
revegetation techniques 

Use of land treatments to maintain or 
improve plant communities 

Current and potential land uses 

Presence of special status plants 

Input from the scientific community 

Potential for location of vegetation sale 
areas in land disposal areas and mineral 
material sale areas 

Condition and trend of native plant 
communities 



Maintenance or enhancement 
biological diversity 



of 



Presence of exotic species and conflicts 
between exotic species and native species 



Management Concern 8: Riparian and Arroyo Habitats 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this management concern, answers are 
needed to the following questions: 

• Which riparian and arroyo habitat areas 
should be designated as ACECs or 



receive other special management 
designations? 

• What management prescriptions are 
needed to protect or restore riparian and 
arroyo habitat areas in the Mimbres 
Resource Area? 



• Where should BLM focus its efforts to 
secure instream flows for maintenance of 
riparian habitat (should this become a 
possibility)? 

Planning Criteria 

• Condition and trend of riparian 
vegetation 

• Condition and trend of arroyo habitat 
vegetation 



Resource values 
Current and potential land uses 
Effects on other resources and uses 
Social and economic effects 
Potential for improvement 
Watershed condition and trend 



Management Concern 9: Special Status Species 



Needed Decisions 

To resolve this management concern, answers are 
needed to the following questions: 

• What management objectives should 
BLM establish for protection and 
enhancement of plant or animal special 
status species? 

• What actions should BLM take to 
improve habitat conditions, aid in 
recovery efforts, and resolve resource 
conflicts for listed, proposed and 
candidate special status species? 

Planning Criteria 

To develop answers for the needed decisions 
identified above, BLM will consider: 



Input from Federal and State agencies 
and the scientific community 

Extent of species habitat, including 
current range, key areas, and potential 
habitat 

Species population goals and habitat 
requirements 

Effects of other resource uses 

Social and economic effects 

Conflicts with other uses 

Recovery plan goals and objectives and 
the potential to aid in recovery efforts 



1-12 



CHAPTER 2 



CHAPTER 2 PROPOSED PLAN 



INTRODUCTION 



This chapter contains two sections, 
"Continuing Management Guidance and 
Actions" and "The PROPOSED PLAN." 
Continuing Management Guidance and 
Actions is a summary of how the Mimbres 
Resource Area WOULD CONTINUE TO 
BE MANAGED FOR RESOURCE USES 
THAT ARE NOT ISSUES OR 
MANAGEMENT CONCERNS. The 
PROPOSED PLAN Section is a 
description of the possible solutions to 
issue questions and management concerns. 
The public land, resources, and programs 
not affected by the resolution of the issues 
in the PROPOSED PLAN will be 
managed as outlined in the Continuing 
Management and Actions section. 

The PROPOSED PLAN complies with the 
Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
(FLPMA) requirement that the public 
land be managed for multiple use and 
sustained yield. Together with the 
Continuing Management Guidance and 
Actions, the PROPOSED PLAN forms a 
COMPLETE and feasible land-use plan. 



Table S-l, located in the Summary at the 
beginning of this document, summarizes 
the components of the PROPOSED PLAN 
and each alternative PRESENTED IN 
THE DRAFT RMP/EIS. Table S-2 
summarizes the impacts by alternative. 

The PROPOSED PLAN is designed to 
provide general management guidance. 
Specific projects for a given area or 
resource will be detailed as necessary in 
activity plans with accompanying 
environmental analyses. These activity 
plans will discuss more precisely how a 
particular area or resource will be 
managed, and will comply with the 
approved RMP's resolution of the issues 
and management concerns. To the extent 
possible, every attempt will be made to 
make as many decisions as possible at the 
RMP stage that can be immediately 
implemented without a subsequent activity 
plan. Where there are overlapping 
proposed activity plans, every effort will be 
made to prepare Coordinated Resource 
Management Plans rather than separate 
activity plans. 



ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED BUT ELIMINATED 
FROM DETAILED ANALYSIS 



Appendix H-l describes EIGHT areas that 
were considered for proposal as areas of 
critical environmental concern (ACECs) 



but were subsequently dropped for the 
reasons specified. 



2-1 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 
AND ACTIONS 



THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS TWO SECTIONS 
"CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 
AND ACTIONS" AND "THE PROPOSED PLAN." 
THE CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 
AND ACTIONS IS A SUMMARY OF BASIC 
MANAGEMENT POLICY THAT WILL 
CONTINUE WITHOUT CHANGE UNDER THE 
PROPOSED PLAN. PUBLIC LAND, 

RESOURCES, AND PROGRAMS NOT 
AFFECTED BY THE RESOLUTION OF ISSUES 
AND MANAGEMENT CONCERNS WILL BE 
MANAGED AS OUTLINED IN THIS SECTION. 
IT IS BASED ON DETAILED DISCUSSIONS OF 
THE "EXISTING MANAGEMENT SITUATION" 
SECTION OF THE MANAGEMENT SITUATION 
ANALYSIS (MSA), A COMPANION DOCUMENT 
TO THE RMP/EIS. 



Management guidance for resource programs 
include laws, Executive Orders, regulations, 
Department of the Interior manuals, BLM manuals 
and instruction memoranda [Washington, New 
Mexico State Office (NMSO), and Las Cruces 
District Office]. Valid planning decisions found in 
the Gila and Southern Rio Grande Management 
Framework Plans (MFPs) and various amendments 
are available for review in the Mimbres Resource 
Area Office. Together, these form the basis for 
the Continuing Management Guidance and 
Actions THAT WILL CONTINUE for public land 
resources and programs in the Mimbres Resource 
Area. Table 2-1 displays the type, number, and 
size of continuing actions per year for the 20-year 
life of the RMP. 



2-2 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-1 
ESTIMATED SURFACE DISTURBING ACTIONS PER YEAR 



TYPE OF 


AVERAGE NO. 


SIZE OF ACTION 


ACTION 


OF ACTIONS 


(ACRES) 


Oil & Gas Exploration Wells 


0.3 


2 


Oil & Gas Access Roads 


0.3 


3 


Geothermal Exploration Wells 


0.3 


1 


Geothermal Access Roads 


0.3 


3 


Mining Notices 

Mining Plans of Operation 

Mineral Material Sales 


20 
1.3 
166 


1.5 
5.8 
0.5 


Fences 


4 


0.6 


Pipelines 
Troughs 
Storage Tanks 
Wells 


4 
4 
1 

1 


5 

0.1 

0.1 

1 


Prescribed Burning 
Leases-2920 


1 

0.25 


2 
20 


Permits-2920 


2 


5 


R&PPs 


4 


20 


Linear ROWs 


40 


15 


Site ROWs 


10 


5 


Vegetative Products Removal 


500 


0.0001 


Water Spreaders 
Wire Checks 


0.25 

2 


0.1 
0.1 


Wildfires 


5 


25 


Spring Developments 
Umbrella Catchments 


1 


0.1 
0.1 


Exclosures 


1 


0.25 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

MINERALS 

The policy of the BLM is to make mineral 
resources available in accordance with the 
objectives of the Mining and Minerals Policy Act 
of 1970 and the National Materials and Minerals 
Policy Research and Development Act of 1980. 
These acts require the Federal Government to 
facilitate the development of mineral resources to 
meet National, regional, and local needs for 
domestic and defensive purposes. The BLM is also 
responsible for ensuring that mineral development 
is carried out in a manner which minimizes 
environmental damage and provides for the 
rehabilitation of affected land. The BLM official 
policy appears in Appendix A-l. Most of the 
public land in the Mimbres Resource Area is 
available for mineral entry, except where restricted 



by withdrawals for military, flood control, 
conservation, or other specific purposes. Unless 
otherwise specified, all acreage figures in this 
section refer to Federal mineral estate managed by 
the BLM. 

Leasables 

Most phases of exploration, development, and 
production operations require National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review before 
authorization. Exceptions are oil and gas 
geophysical work. Pre-lease geophysical 

exploration (including the drilling of geothermal 
temperature-gradient holes and oil and gas seismic 
operations) is authorized by a permit or conducted 
under a Notice of Intent. However, all other 
operations including exploratory drilling and 



2-3 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



extraction and production of oil, gas, and 
geothcrmal resources requires a lease. 

Exploration usually begins with geophysical 
prospecting. In oil and gas exploration, the 
primary geophysical methods utilize seismic data. 
One method involves the use of vibrator trucks 
which drop heavy metal plates on the ground. The 
resulting impact generates seismic waves that are 
recorded and analyzed. Another method uses 
underground explosions to generate the seismic 
waves. Shallow holes are drilled, loaded with 
charges, and then detonated. This "shot hole" 
technique yields seismic data similar to that of the 
vibrator method. These kinds of geophysical 
exploration methods are conducted along existing 
roads and trails. 

Electrical resistivity and temperature-gradient 
surveys are geophysical techniques that are 
commonly used in geothermal exploration. The 
electrical resistivity survey involves transmitting an 
electric current through electrodes that are placed 
in the ground. These surveys are usually 
conducted along existing roads and trails. 

Temperature-gradient surveys require the drilling 
of shallow holes that are usually less than 500 feet 
in depth. The holes are drilled with truck- 
mounted drill rigs adjacent to existing roads and 
trails. The drill site usually requires no clearing or 
levelling and covers an area of about 25 feet by 25 
feet. 

If data from geophysical prospecting are favorable, 
"target" areas are delineated and a site is selected 
for drilling a "wildcat" well. An access road is 
usually built to haul in the heavy equipment 
needed for the drilling operations. Roads are 
typically 16 feet wide with a 50 foot right-of-way 
width. To drill a typical oil and gas or geothermal 
well, an area of 2 acres is cleared and leveled for 
placement of the drilling rig and associated 
equipment and structures. If the wildcat well 
results in a "dry hole", the well is plugged and 
abandoned. If the well shows resource potential, 
more wells are drilled. The result may be a 
producing oil and gas field. For geothermal 
operations, if the well produces adequate hot water 
or steam, more wells may be drilled for electrical 
power generation. For direct-use applications, one 
well may be all that is needed. 



Surface disturbance increases during the 
development and production stages of oil and gas 
operations. More wells are drilled, production 
equipment is installed, and access roads and facility 
sites are built. The situation is similar for 
development and production of a geothermal field 
for electrical power generation. However, 
geothermal development and production of low- 
temperature, direct-use facilities is not nearly as 
extensive. Domestic water heating, space heating, 
and greenhouse production may only utilize one or 
two wells. The hot water can only be transported 
for several miles before losing so much heat that 
utilization becomes uneconomic. Consequently, 
most direct-use geothermal production operations 
are located at or very near the well site. 

After an oil or gas reservoir is depleted, wells are 
plugged and all equipment and structures are 
removed. All roads, well sites, and other disturbed 
areas are then rehabilitated using the Resource 
Area's Reclamation and Reseeding Guidelines for 
guidance. Abandonment of geothermal operations 
would be the same. However, if the water source is 
never depleted, a geothermal reservoir could 
produce hot water indefinitely. 

CURRENT LEASE STATUS 

Table 2-2 shows the total number of leases and 
lease acreage by County within the Resource Area 
as of June 1990. 

Exploration History 

The Resource Area is relatively unexplored for oil 
and gas. Geophysical exploration increased 
significantly between 1978 and 1983. About 94 
exploration permits were issued during this period. 
Most of the exploration involved hundreds of miles 
of seismic lines using vibrator trucks. During the 
5-year period from 1985 through 1989, nine 
exploration permits were issued and two wildcat 
wells were drilled. 

To date, about 80 wildcat wells have been drilled 
in the Resource Area (New Mexico Bureau of 
Mines and Mineral Resources 1990). Seven of the 
wells had shows of oil or gas. All of the shows 
were on private land. Twenty-three of these wells 
were drilled on Federal mineral estate and were all 
dry holes. Table 2-3 lists all of the wildcat wells by 



2-4 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



County that have been drilled in the Resource 
Area. 

Geothermal exploration in the Resource Area was 
extensive in the late 1970's and early 1980's. 
Exploration began with geologic reconnaissance 
and progressed through various types of 
geophysical exploration to the drilling of 
temperature-gradient holes. As target areas were 
delineated, test wells were drilled. To date, there 
are 12 wells in the Resource Area that are either 
currently producing hot water or are capable of 
production. These wells are all located on Federal 
geothermal leases. 

15-YEAR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTIONS 

Oil and Gas 

Current impact analysis policy regarding 
"reasonably foreseeable development" of fluid 
mineral resources requires that a minimum 
discovery must be assumed in "frontier" areas for 
the purpose of impact analysis. Therefore, the 
assumption is made that a minimum discovery 
would be made in the Resource Area within the 
next 15 years. 

In the next 15 years, there would be a 4 or 5-year 
period of increased exploration activity. This 
would be similar to the late 1970's and early 1980's 
when there was an increase in geophysical 
exploration in the Resource Area. During the next 
15 years, 30 geophysical exploration permits will be 
approved and five wildcat wells would be drilled. 
This exploration would result in one discovery 
well. 

Surface disturbance associated with the geophysical 
exploration permits would be minimal because it is 
Resource Area policy to require that seismic 
exploration be conducted along existing roads and 
trails. Each wildcat well would involve 2 acres of 
disturbance. Five access roads would be built for 
each of the wildcat wells. Each access road would 
be 16 feet wide by 1.5 miles long resulting in 3 
acres of disturbance per road. 

One of the five wildcat wells would result in a 
discovery. There would be a 5-acre area of 
disturbance associated with this producing well for 
the placement of associated production equipment. 



Production from this well would last for about 10 
years beyond the 20-year life of this Plan. Table 2- 
4 summarizes projected oil and gas development 
over the next 15 years. 

Geothermal 

It is expected that production of geothermal 
resources for direct-use purposes would gradually 
increase over the next 15 years. The Las Cruces 
area is actively being promoted by the State of 
New Mexico, New Mexico State University 
(NMSU), and the City of Las Cruces as an ideal 
location for greenhouses. Among the attractions 
are known geothermal resources at Las Cruces and 
Radium Springs, the proximity to Interstate 
Highways 10 and 25, and a rapidly growing city. 

There are currently three commercial greenhouses 
in the Resource Area: two in the Animas Valley 
and one at Radium Springs. The greenhouses in 
the Animas Valley are utilizing Federal geothermal 
resources and the greenhouse at Radium Springs 
is on private land. NMSU operates a geothermally 
heated greenhouse on private land which is used 
for research purposes. 

It is expected that geothermal exploration would 
continue on a small scale in the Resource Area 
and that production operations would increase. 
Over the next 15 years, 10 temperature-gradient 
holes would be drilled. These drill sites would be 
located adjacent to existing roads. Each site would 
disturb an area 25 feet by 25 feet. Ten other 
various kinds of geophysical exploration permits 
(gravity, electrical resistivity, and radon for 
instance) would be approved. Most of these 
activities would be conducted along existing roads 
and trails and would involve minimal surface 
disturbance. 

Four test wells would be drilled. Each test well 
would disturb an area of 1 acre and require an 
access road 1.5 miles long by 16 feet wide. All 
four test wells would be capable of production. 
There will be three commercial greenhouse 
facilities utilizing three of the four production 
wells. Each facility would require an area of 10 
acres for development. Waste water would either 
be reinjected or pumped into evaporation pits. 
Table 2-5 summarizes geothermal development 
over the next 15 years. 



2-5 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-2 
OIL AND GAS AND GEOTHERMAL LEASES 



OIL AND GAS 
No. Leases Acres 



GEOTHERMAL 
No. Leases Acres 



Dona Ana 
Grant 
Hidalgo 
Luna 



19 


54,451 


11 


12,065 


29 


41,980 


11 


17.485 


72* 


125,981 



13,126 



2,501 



15,627 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 



* Actual lease total is 70 because there are two leases that overlap the 
Hidalgo/Luna County line. 



TABLE 2-3 
OIL AND GAS WILDCAT WELLS BY COUNTY 



COUNTY 



NO OF 
WELLS 



NO OF 
SHOWS 



WELLS ON FEDERAL 
MINERAL ESTATE 



Dona Ana 
Grant 
H i da I go 
Luna 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 



TABLE 2-4 
15-YEAR PROJECTION FOR OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT 



TYPE OF 
ACTIVITY 



NO. OF 
ACTIONS 



AREA 
DISTURBED 



TOTAL ACRES 
DISTURBED 



Geophysical Permits 

Drilling 

Access Roads 

Production 



30 


Existing roads and trails 




5 


Drill pads 2 ac/pad 


10 


5 


16' x 1.5 mi. 
3 ac/road 


15 


1 


5 ac/site 


5 



TOTAL ACRES DISTURBED = 30 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 



2-6 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-5 
15-YEAR PROJECTION FOR GEOTHERMAL DEVELOPMENT 



TYPE OF 
ACTIVITY 


NO. OF 
ACTIONS 


AREA 
DISTURBED 


TOTAL ACRES 
DISTURBED 


Geophysical Permits 


10 


Existing roads 
and trails 


Minimal 


Temperature-Gradient 
Holes 


10 


Drill pads 0.01 
ac/pad 


0.10 


Test Wells 


4 


Drill pads 1 ac/ 
site 


4 


Access Roads 


4 


16' x 1.5 mi 3 ac/ 
road 


12 


Production 


3 


10 ac/site 


30 






TOTAL ACRES DISTURBED 


= 46.1 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 



NONENERGY LEASABLE MINERALS. 

Currently, there are no potassium or sodium leases 
within the Resource Area. There are no existing 
lease stipulations that affect areas having potential 
for the occurrence of nonenergy leasable minerals. 

Exploration for potassium and sodium require 
prospecting permits. The development and 
production of potassium and sodium requires a 
lease. In 1981, two potassium prospecting permits 
were issued to Earth Sciences, Inc. for exploration 
of alunite in the Steeple Rock area. No work was 
ever done on these permits. In 1985, three sodium 
prospecting permits were issued to the Ozark- 
Mahoning Company for exploration in the playas 
west of Lordsburg. The company drilled only one 
hole and did not perform any other exploration. 
There has been no other exploration for nonenergy 
leasable minerals in the Resource Area. Although 
there may be some exploration for potassium or 
sodium within the next 15 years, no development 
or production is anticipated. 

Locatables 



Before commencing any surface-disturbing mining 
activities, an operator is required to submit either 
a "notice" that describes the proposed activities or 
a more comprehensive "plan of operation" to the 
BLM. A notice is required for disturbing 5 acres 
or less or for driving off-road in an area designated 
as limited to existing roads and trails. A plan of 
operation is required for disturbing more than 5 
acres or for operating within Wilderness Study 
Areas (WSAs), ACECs, or areas designated as 
closed to off-road vehicle use. 

The BLM must prepare an environmental 
assessment (EA) for a plan of operations. An EA 
is not required for a notice and the BLM has no 
authority to approve notices. However, it is 
standard practice in the Mimbres Resource Area 
to review all notices for National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) compliance and to advise the 
operator of any special environmental concerns 
and reclamation practices. Operators are not 
required to provide reclamation bonds for notices 
unless they have established a record of 
noncompliance. Reclamation bonds are mandatory 
for plans of operation. 



The Mining Law of 1872 allows for the location of 
mining claims on public land for the purpose of 
exploration, development, and production of 
minerals. Locatable commodities include metallic 
minerals such as gold, silver, lead, zinc, and copper 
and nonmetallic minerals such as barite and 
fluorspar. 



OVERVIEW OF OPERATIONS 

Exploration activities are common in the Resource 
Area. Occasionally, there are small-scale 
development and production operations. 
Exploration operations that involve minimal or no 
surface disturbance include various types of 
geophysical surveys. The most common types of 



2-7 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



surface-disturbing exploration activities in the 
Resource Area are trenching and drilling. 
Trenches are dug with a backhoe and are typically 
10 to 50 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 4 to 6 feet 
deep. Drilling operations are conducted with a 
truck-mounted rig. Normally, drill sites do not 
have to be cleared or leveled but there is surface 
disturbance resulting from the drilling operation 
and associated vehicle movement. The area 
disturbed is typically 50 feet by 50 feet. The 
depths of the holes are usually less than 1,000 feet. 
There are so many old mining roads in the 
Resource Area that, in many cases, new access 
roads for exploration are not needed. When roads 
are needed they are typically about 0.25 miles long 
and about 12 feet wide. These kinds of roads do 
not require a built-up surface. 

In addition to the actual mine site, development 
and production operations usually require areas to 
be cleared and leveled for various kinds of 
equipment and buildings. Five to ten acres are 
usually needed for small mining operations. 
Access roads are built to accommodate heavy truck 
traffic and are commonly 16 feet wide. 

15-YEAR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTION 

Exploration, rather than development and 
production, will continue to be the primary 
locatable mineral activity in the Resource Area. 
Assuming that mineral commodity prices remain at 
or near present rates, it is expected that 
exploration activities will continue at current levels 
over the next 15 years. It is anticipated that the 
Resource Area will receive 300 notices, 5 plans of 
operation in WSAs, and 15 plans of operation for 
areas greater than 5 acres. Projected development 
and associated surface disturbance are shown in 
Table 2-6. 

Salables 

Salable minerals include materials such as sand, 
gravel, clay, caliche, stone, and volcanic cinders. 
These "mineral materials" must be purchased from 
the BLM. Most materials are sold by the cubic 
yard. Stone is usually sold by the ton. Some 
organizations and government agencies qualify for 
"free use" and are not charged for extracting 
mineral materials from public land. 



Most applications for mineral material sales and 
free use must go through the NEPA review 
process. The exceptions are sales and free use 
from community pits and common use areas. 
These sites have already been evaluated through 
NEPA review and have been designated suitable 
for extraction of mineral materials. Permits for 
community pits and common-use areas are sold 
"over the counter" and do not require individual 
EAs. Sales from community pits and common use 
areas will continue (except for Community Pit No. 
1 under Alternative B). See Table 2-7. 

15-YEAR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTION 

The need for mineral materials will be greatest in 
Dofla Ana County. Most of the expected 200 or 
more sales and free use permits per year will be in 
this area. The Las Cruces-El Paso area is a rapidly 
growing portion of the "sunbelt" and is expected to 
grow at a much higher rate than many other parts 
of the country. Mineral materials will be used in 
support of this growth. The primary materials 
produced will be sand and gravel because they are 
needed for the production of concrete and 
asphaltic paving mixtures. 

There will be an increasing demand for gravel and 
rock that meets specifications for use as an 
aggregate in concrete and asphaltic mixtures. Sand 
and gravel operators in the Las Cruces area say 
that high-quality gravel which meets these 
specifications is being rapidly depleted from 
existing sources. This is complicated by the fact 
that potential extraction of new sources of sand 
and gravel on the Las Cruces East Mesa is being 
physically inhibited by urban growth. There are 
also concerns about the degradation of air quality 
due to dust emissions from sand and gravel 
operations. Consequently, more distant sources of 
sand and gravel will eventually be mined. Also, 
operators will probably be producing aggregate 
from rock sources that may be 15 to 30 miles from 
Las Cruces. 

There will be a continuing demand for stone from 
Community Pit No. 1. An average of 110 permits 
will be issued annually for stone (except under 
Alternative B). 



2-8 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-6 
15-YEAR PROJECTION FOR LOCATABLE MINERALS DEVELOPMENT 



TYPE OF 
ACTIVITY 



NO. OF 
ACTIONS 



AREA DISTURBED 



TOTAL ACRES 
DISTURBED 



NOTICES 

Geophysical Surveys 
Trenches/Open Cuts 
Drill Sites 
Access Roads 



PLANS (WSAs) 
Drill Sites 



PLANS (>5 acres) 

Trenches/Open Cuts 

Drill Sites 

Access roads 

Production Sites 
(mine/mi 11) 



300 






75 


Existing roads 


Minimal 


500 


0.003 ac/site 


1.5 


150 


0.05 ac/site 


7.5 


10 mi 


1.45 ac/mile 


14.5 




SUBTOTAL 


23.5 


5 






10 


0.5 ac/site 


5.0 




SUBTOTAL 


5.0 


15 






150 


0.003 ac/site 


0.45 


120 


0.05 ac/site 


6 


25 mi 


1.45 ac/mi 


36 


4 


10 ac/site 


40 




SUBTOTAL 


82.45 




TOTAL ACRES DISTURBED 


110.95 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 



2-9 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-7 
COMMUNITY PITS/COMMON-USE AREAS 



COMMUNITY PIT/COMMON USE AREA 



NO. 1 




Stone/sand and gravel 


T. 


22 S., R. 
Sec. 19 


1 E. 


NO. 2 




Sand and gravel 




T. 


19 S. f R. 
Sec. 17, 


3 W. 

18 


NO. 5 




Caliche 




T. 


23 S., R. 
Sec. 19 


1 E. 


NO. sy 




Sand and gravel 




T. 


25 S., R. 
Sec. 34 


2 E. 


NO. 9 




Crusher fines 




T. 


25 S., R. 
Sec. 28 


3 E. 


NO. 10*/ 




Sand and gravel 




T. 


22 S., R. 
Sec. 28 


2 E. 


NO. 11 




Volcanic cinders 


and stone 


T. 


25 S., R. 
Sec. 24 


1 E. 


JORNADA-' 




FILL DIRT 




T. 


22 S., R. 
Sec. 10 


2 E. 


RINCON 5 ' 




BUILDING STONE 




T. 


19 S., R. 
Sec. 4 


3 U. 


O'HARA ROAD 


NORT^ 


SAND AND GRAVEL 




T. 


26 S., R. 
Sec. 19 


4 E. 


O'HARA ROAD 


CALICHE 5 ' 


CALICHE 




T. 


26 S., R. 
Sec. 26 


4 E. 


LA UNION 1 - 7 




SAND AND GRAVEL 
RED DIRT 




T. 


27 S., R. 
Sec. 13 


3 E. 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Notes: a/ Community Pit No. 8 was closed in September 1988. 
b/ Community Pit No. 10 was closed in May 1986. 
£/ COMMON USE AREA. 



LANDS 

It is BLM policy to make public land and its 
resources available for use and development to 
meet National, regional, and local needs, consistent 
with National objectives. The Mimbres Resource 
Area has an active lands and realty program as a 
result of intense local and regional demands. See 
Appendix B-l for Lands and Minerals Disposal 
Policy. 



FLPMA (Public Law 94-579) provides authority 
for land ownership adjustments by sale, exchange, 
withdrawal and other means. The Act further 
requires that adjustments be in conformance with 
existing land-use plans. 

Specific items to be examined while considering 
the merits of any disposal or acquisition action 
include: 



2-10 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



1. Consistency and conformance with current 
planning. 

2. Relative values. 

3. Public Interest. 

4. Willingness to sell or exchange on part of the 
landowner. 

5. Prime and unique farmlands. 

6. Floodplain/flood hazard evaluation. 

7. Cultural and paleontological resource values. 

8. Native American religious values. 

9. Visual resources. 

10. Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. 

11. Wetlands and riparian areas. 

12. Existing rights and uses. 

13. Controversy. 

14. Health and Safety. 

15. Adjacent uses and ownership. 

16. Air resources. 

17. Special status species plants or animals and 
their habitat. 

18. Mineral resources. 

19. Recreation and wilderness values. 

There are currently 14 Memorandums of 
Understanding and Cooperative Agreements in the 
Resource Area that address the lands program. 
These are listed on Appendix B-3. 

Public Land Exchanges 

Laws such as FLPMA and the Federal Land 
Exchange Facilitation Act provide specific 
authority for land exchanges. 



proposals are reviewed to determine if the lands 
are covered by an approved RMP or MFP. 

Exchange proponents in other BLM New Mexico 
Districts have selected public land in the Mimbres 
Resource Area and offered private land along the 
Black River, Wild and Scenic areas of the Rio 
Grande, and private mineral estate land within El 
Malpais National Conservation and National 
Monument. In an exchange agreement with The 
Nature Conservancy, there is a "pool" of lands that 
can come from any district in the State. The 
exchange program in the Mimbres Resource Area 
actively uses the pool by contributing land to the 
pool for use by other districts and making 
selections from the pool to accomplish the 
majority of exchanges in the Resource Area. 

Sales of Public Land 

The objective is to provide for the orderly 
disposition, at not less than fair market value, of 
public land identified for sale as part of the land- 
use planning process. Under FLPMA, BLM is 
authorized to sell public land where, as a result of 
land use planning, it is determined that the sale of 
such tracts meets the following disposal criteria: 

1. Such tract, because of its location or other 
characteristics is difficult and uneconomic to 
manage as part of the public land and is not 
suitable for management by another Federal 
department or agency; or 



The emphasis for the exchange program in the 
Mimbres Resource Area is to acquire private and 
State trust lands in areas that have high resource 
values or unique characteristics that would enhance 
management of the public land, and dispose of 
public land that is valuable for urban expansion or 
other physical characteristics that make them 
difficult or uneconomical for BLM to manage. 
Every effort will be made to avoid creating split- 
estate when exchanging land. Existing split-estate 
lands will be exchanged if they meet FLPMA 
disposal criteria. 

Prior to filing a formal written proposal, an 
informal discussion of the exchange proposal is 
held with the non-Federal party. At this time, 
formal exchange proposals that are clearly not in 
the public interest are discouraged. Written 



2. Such tract was acquired for a specific purpose 
and the tract is no longer required for that or any 
other Federal purpose; or 

3. Disposal of such tract will serve important 
public objectives, including but not limited to, 
expansion of communities and economic 
development, which cannot be achieved prudently 
or feasibly on land other than public land and 
which outweigh other public objectives and values, 
including, but not limited to, recreation and scenic 
values, which would be served by maintaining such 
tract in Federal ownership. 

Every effort will be made to avoid creating split- 
estate when selling or exchanging lands. Existing 
split-estate land will be sold or exchanged if they 
meet FLPMA disposal criteria. 



2-11 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



Public inquiries concerning the sale of public land 
in the Mimbres Resource Area are frequent, with 
the majority of requests coming from the Dofia 
Ana County area. Most requests are from private 
landowners wanting to purchase public land 
adjacent to their deeded land. Several specific land 
sale proposals were received during the scoping 
phase for this Plan. These proposals have been 
individually evaluated and where deemed to merit 
further consideration, identified under the 
appropriate alternative. If not identified under 
one of the alternatives, it was determined that 
these proposals did not meet either the sale 
criteria or the management objectives for that 
particular alternative. 

The Las Cruces District maintains a mailing list of 
individuals, businesses, and other organizations 
interested in purchasing public land. These 
individuals are notified when BLM conducts a sale 
of public land. Sales of public land, identified as 
suitable for disposal in an approved land-use plan 
are administered on a case-by-case basis. All sale 
actions are examined through the NEPA process 
and are subject to public participation and review. 

Due to the current funding and priorities within 
the BLM as a whole, and specifically the Las 
Cruces District Office, sales of public land are a 
lower priority than exchanges. 

Land Withdrawal 

BLM policy is to keep the public land open for 
public use and enjoyment. However, there are 
conditions which may warrant the removal or 
withdrawal of certain public land from multiple use 
such as public safety or protection of special uses 
and resources. 



requirements of laws and existing guidance (see 
Table 2-8). Withdrawals will be continued, 
modified, revoked, or terminated consistent with 
the need as rejustified by the withdrawing agency. 
As withdrawals are revoked or terminated, the land 
use decisions in the RMP will apply to those areas. 
For withdrawals where BLM presently has 
management responsibility, all RMP decisions 
covering those areas apply. 

Lands suitable for restricted management such as 
water power and reservoir sites are reviewed by the 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) 
on a case-by-case basis as they are received. Use 
restrictions and protection of other resources or 
prohibitions may be negotiated through the FERC 
as a result of the case-by-case review. 

Classifications were made under the authority of 
the Classification and Multiple Use Act of 1964 
(78 Stat. 986). These classifications delineated 
land suitable for disposal consistent with the 
requirements of the Act or for retention for 
multiple-use management. The retention 

classifications segregated the land against entry 
under certain public land laws. Small areas with 
highly unique resource values were sometimes 
further segregated against entry under the mining 
laws or the mineral leasing laws. 

All classifications and classification terminations 
will be reviewed as part of this planning effort (see 
Issue 2, ACECs and Other SMAs). This document 
deals with the questions of disposal and the 
segregations needed to accomplish these objectives. 
It also recommends the placement of further 
segregations against the mining laws or mineral 
leasing laws where they are needed to protect 
unique and valuable resources. 



Withdrawals designate public land for a particular 
project, purpose, or use. They may transfer 
jurisdiction to another Federal agency. Normally, 
they will close the land to entry under all or some 
of the public land laws including the mining laws. 

All withdrawals in the Mimbres Resource Area 
have been, or will be reviewed, according to the 



Table 2-9 shows existing classifications in the 
Mimbres Resource Area. The Dofla Ana 
Recreation Area, Massacre Peak, Fort Cummings, 
and Granite Gap Recreation Area classifications 
will be terminated upon completion of this Plan. 
Others will remain in effect until replaced by a 
productive withdrawal. 



2-12 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-8 
WITHDRAWALS 



NUMBER 



PURPOSE AND SURFACE MANAGER 



DONA ANA COUNTY 

EO* 

Proclamation 2137 



EO 1526 & 
EO 2368 & 
EO 4266 



EO 8646 



October 17, 1903 
May 27, 1907 

May 3, 1912 
April 24, 1916 
July 20, 1925 

November 16, 1926 

January 11, 1941 



Rio Grande Reservoir Site (BOR) 



Protection of US/Mexico Border 
(Unknown) 



Jornada Experimental Station 
and Range (USDA) 



Rio Grande Project (BOR) 

San Andres Wildlife Refuge 
(USF&W) 



50 
998 



176,899 

28,813 

7.957 



98 



PLO 883 & 
PLO 1186 


May 21, 1952 
July 14, 1955 


White Sands Missile Range 
(COE/DOD) 


506,540 


PLO 663 & 
EO 8649 & 
EO 8780 & 
EO 9115 & 
PLO 78 & 
PLO 1866 


August 28, 1950 
January 23, 1941 
June 11, 1941 
March 28, 1942 
January 15, 1943 
June 11, 1941 


Rio Grande Canalization Project 
(IBWC) 


0.27 

64 

42 
623 
160 
120 


PLO 2051 


February 17, 1960 


For Research Purposes (NMSU) 


827 


PLO 3462 


November 23, 1964 


For Water Supplies and Facilities 
to Benefit NASA/WSMR and Access 
Road (COE) 


1,382 


PLO 3685 


June 10, 1965 


For Research Facilities to 
Benefit NMSU (Antenna and Telecom 
"A" Mountain)(NASA) 


2,789 


PLO 4038 


June 6, 1966 


Ecology Plots & Demonstration 
Area (BLM) 


40 


PLO 4263 


August 11, 1967 


Animal Science Ranch (NMSU) 


52,000 


PL 101-578 


NOVEMBER 15. 1990 


PREHISTORIC TRACKWAY STUDY 


736 


LUNA COUNTY 








SO* 


November 22, 1894 


Public Spring Ft. Cummings (USDI) 


320 


EO 7442 & 
EO 5255 


August 31, 1936 
December 31, 1929 


Rifle Range (NM National Guard) 


2,080 


PWR #107 

(SO Intp. 250) 


February 16, 1939 


Public Water Reserves (USDI) 


560 


PLO 60 


November 13, 1942 


Landing Field (NM National Guard) 


200 


SO 238 


July 17, 1947 


Air Navigation Site (Civil 
Aeronautics Admin., Dept. of 
Commerce) 


40 


PLO 4038 


June 6, 1966 


Ecology Plots & Demonstration 


40 



2-13 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-8 (Concluded) 
WITHDRAWALS 



PURPOSE AND SURFACE MANAGER 



HIDALGO COUNTY 

PLO 4146 

PWR #107 

(SO Intp. 250) 

PWR #107 

(SO Intp. 253) 

PLO 4038 & 
PLO 4208 

GRANT COUNTY 

EO 477 
EO 637 



EO 5889 & 
EO 551 & 
EO 759 & 
EO 83 & 
WPD #1 

PWR #107 

(SO Intp. 250) 

PWR #107 

(SO Intp. 256) 



July 14, 1906 
February 16, 1939 

August 19, 1940 



June 6, 1966 
April 24, 1967 



July 14, 1906 
May 23, 1907 



July 16, 1932 
No Date 

November 24, 1924 
July 2, 1910 
August 7, 1916 

February 16, 1939 



August 22, 1939 



FEBRUARY 12. 1986 



Protection of Mexican Duck (BLM) 
Public Water Reserves (USD I) 

Public Water Reserves (USD I) 



Ecological Plots & Demonstration 
Area (BLM) 



Fort Bayard (COE/DOD) 

Fort Bayard Water Supply 
(COE/DOD) 

San Carlos Indian Irrigation 
(San Carlos Indian Reservation) 
and Powersites on Gila River (FERC) 



Public Water Reserve (USDI) 



Public Water Reserves (USDI) 



RED ROCK GAME FARM 



190 
360 

40 



860 
13,622 

35,908 



40 
240 
712 



Source: BLM Files (State Office and District Office), 1990. 

Notes: a/ Acres have been rounded off. 

b/ 104,221 acres of the Jornada withdrawal is within the WSMR withdrawal boundary. 

PLO = Public Land Order 

SO = Secretarial Order 

EO = Executive Order 

PWR = Public Water Reserves 

WPD = Water Power Designation 

*Some secretarial and executive orders issued in early 1900's and before were identified only by 

date, no number was assigned. 



2-14 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-9 

EXISTING CLASSIFICATIONS IN THE 

MIMBRES RESOURCE AREA 



NAME 



ACREAGE 



Massacre Peak 240 

Dofla Ana Recreation Area 2,826 

Granite Gap Recreation Area 960 

Guadalupe Canyon 3,169 
Organ Mountains Recreation Area 2,930 

Baylor Recreation Area 838 

Needle's Eye Picnic Site 960 

Ft. Cummings Recreation Site 6,000 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Desert Land Entries and Indian 
Allotments 

ALL LANDS NOT IDENTIFIED FOR DISPOSAL 
IN THE RMP WILL BE RETAINED IN PUBLIC 
OWNERSHIP AND MANAGED FOR MULTIPLE 
USE. THEREFORE, NO APPLICATIONS WILL 
BE ACCEPTED FOR DISPOSAL UNDER THE 
DESERT LAND ACT. 

Recreation and Public Purposes (R&PPs) 

The R&PP Act provides guidelines and procedures 
for transfer of certain public land to States or their 
political subdivisions, and to nonprofit 
corporations and associations to meet their needs 
for public land required for historical, recreational 
and public purposes. Under the R&PP Act, BLM 
has the authority to lease or patent public land to 
governmental and nonprofit entities for public 
parks and building sites at less than fair market 
value. Applications for use of public land under 
the R&PP Act are processed as a Mimbres 
Resource Area priority. Such applications are 
processed under the requirements of NEPA and 
are subject to public review. R&PP applications 
for lands outside disposal areas that meet the 
criteria outlined in 43 CFR 2740 and are 
consistent with management objectives in" this plan 
will be considered. 

The BLM leases these public purpose areas to 
qualified applicants for $0.25 per acre per year or 
patents them for $2.50 per acre under the Special 
Pricing Program or at a 50 percent reduction for 



cemeteries and churches or a 10 percent reduction 
if use will be restricted to members of a particular 
limited group, such as fraternal and religious 
groups. These sale prices are determined in 
accordance with 43 USC 869- 1(a) and (c). Leases 
or conveyances for recreational or historic 
monument purposes are issued without monetary 
consideration. 

In the Mimbres Resource Area, 15 R&PP patents 
have been issued. 

Currently, there are 31 authorized R&PP leases in 
the Mimbres Resource Area, totaling 
approximately 1,995 acres. Of these leases, 20 are 
for landfills which cover 17 sites. Previously 25 
leases had been issued for landfills, however, the 
Goat Mountain (NM 42181), Silver City (NM 
6762) and Luna County (NM 16869) landfills were 
terminated for nonuse and La Union and North 
Virden were replaced by new leases. Of the 
remaining 20, the Butterfield (NM 0559218), 
Chaparral (NM 11484), Salem-Garfield (NM 
57123), Hatch (NM 16685), La Union (NM 
31533), Mesilla Dam (NM 0253955), and Rincon 
(NM 9850) landfills have been closed to use by the 
public and are waiting final reclamation and 
development of closure policy before the leases are 
terminated. 

The following leases accept solid waste at transfer 
stations: Anthony (NM 51351, NM 16686), Hill 
(NM 0253957), La Mesa (NM 030526), Garfield 
(NM 13178), Salem (NM 0253956), AND VIRDEN 
NORTH (NM 57094). 

The City of Las Cruces landfill (NM 14, NM 
18155) is the only remaining landfill on public land 
which continues to place solid waste in trenches. 
The only designated disposal area for liquid waste 
in Dofla Ana County is the Mesquite landfill 
(NM 22012) located in the southern portion of the 
county. 

Dofla Ana County and the City of Las Cruces are 
conducting studies to select a location for a 
regional landfill. These studies will also designate 
a boundary for the region. The region can include 
more than one city and one county. Any public 
land that may be used for this regional landfill 
must meet disposal criteria and be considered 
suitable for use as a landfill. 



2-15 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



Because of changes being made to the current 
R&PP regulations, no additional leases for landfills 
will be issued. Sales of public land for landfill 
purposes would not be accomplished under the 
new R&PP Act until the R&PP regulations are 
finalized. Sales of public land for landfill purposes 
could be accomplished under the public sale 
authority. 

The total authorizations in Dofia Ana County 
account for approximately 50 percent of the total 
R&PP leases/patents in the Las Cruces District 
8-county area of jurisdiction. Since 1982, the 
receipt of R&PP lease applications has increased 
due to a greater public awareness of public land 
uses in Dofla Ana County. The Mimbres Resource 
Area receives an average of four R&PP 
applications per year. Ninety-five percent of these 
requests are for locations within Dofia Ana 
County. 

Rights-of-Way, Leases, and Permits 

The Mimbres Resource Area grants rights-of-way 
(ROWs), leases and permits to qualified 
individuals, businesses, and governmental entities 
for the use of public land. New ROWs are issued 
WITHIN existing ROWs whenever possible to 
promote joint use. All ROW actions are 
coordinated, to the fullest extent possible, with 
Federal, State, and local government agencies, 
adjacent landowners, and interested individuals and 
groups. 

All ROW applications are analyzed site-specifically 
on a case-by-case basis. There are no programmatic 
EAs for the lands program. Each case is reviewed 
by an interdisciplinary team. All ROW activities 
are subject to site-specific environmental analysis. 
Natural and cultural values are protected or 
avoided. Mitigation measures are incorporated 
within the authorizations to minimize the adverse 
effects of any surface disturbing activity. Project 
construction areas are rehabilitated by various 
reseeding and soil erosion control methods using 
the Resource Area's Reclamation and Reseeding 
Guidelines for guidance. 

All roads will be constructed or maintained in 
accordance with the BLM New Mexico Road 
Policy. 



The Mimbres Resource Area processes an average 
of 50 ROWs per year, 90 percent within Dofia Ana 
County. 

Due to the densely populated Mesilla Valley and 
the City of Las Cruces, there are numerous 
pipelines, transmission and distribution powerlines, 
and highway ROWs in Dofla Ana County. The 
larger ROWs are confined to well-established 
corridors. These corridors also extend west to 
Deming and Lordsburg. Applicants are 

encouraged to use existing corridors whenever 
possible. THESE EXISTING CORRIDORS DO 
NOT HAVE A DESIGNATED WIDTH, UNLESS 
SPECIFIED IN THE MANAGEMENT 
PRESCRIPTIONS FOR THE ACECs IN 
APPENDIX H. Prohibiting factors for width would 
be other resource conflicts, terrain, and land status. 
Most lands actions in the Resource Area are 
compatible, and overlapping ROWs are issued 
whenever possible. Numerous smaller ROWs 
(such as roads to private residences) are issued 
annually in addition to the larger ones mentioned 
above to accommodate public needs within the 
Resource Area. (SEE MAP 2-1.) 

There are currently 49 grants issued for 
communication sites in the Mimbres Resource 
Area. Many of these ROW holders are authorized 
to sublease to other users. Site plans are being 
developed for the sites. The Resource Area's 
terrain offers a prime area for development of 
communication sites. The sites most in demand 
include the Little Floridas, Goat Mountain (Twin 
Peaks), Robledo Mountains, Victorio Mountain, 
"A" Mountain, and San Augustine Pass. Because 
of public demand for communication sites in the 
San Augustine Pass, the US Department of Army 
is concerned that frequencies, if not monitored 
properly, could conflict with their defense testing. 
In a meeting with the Mimbres Resource Area 
Manager and White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) 
personnel, it was agreed BLM will no longer 
address communication sites in the San Augustine 
Pass area so long as WSMR is willing to consider 
communication site applications for that area. 
Should WSMR cease considering applications from 
private parties, the BLM will resume management 
of the area in accordance with provisions of this 
Plan. All public inquiries will be transferred to 
WSMR for consideration. The "A" Mountain site 
is another management concern. NASA and 



2-16 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



NMSU want the site to remain closed to future 
applications because they are concerned further 
development at the site would interfere with 
NASA's mission and research being conducted at 

NMSU. 

There are currently three 43 Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) 2920 permit authorizations in 
the Resource Area. The two in Dofla Ana County 
include one for an OFFICE FOR A SAND AND 
GRAVEL OPERATION and the other is an apiary 
site. An apiary site permit is also authorized in 
Luna County near the Florida Mountains WSA. 
Approximately three permits for movies filmed in 
the Resource Area are processed each year. 

It is assumed that management will continue to 
authorize these routine realty actions throughout 
the 20-year life of this RMP. These actions are 
likely to occur on a continuing basis no matter 
which alternative is ultimately selected and include 
the granting of routine ROWs, leases, permits, and 
R&PPs. 

Set Asides 

Certain parcels of public land, within the 
boundaries of the Elena Gallegos Exchange, were 
set aside (reserved) by Memoranda of 
Understanding with the City of Las Cruces and the 
Las Cruces School District No. 2 for DISPOSAL 
AND future development under the R&PP Act. 
Certain parcels were also set aside within the 
10,000-acre State Land Exchange Area for existing 
and potential R&PP lease AND/OR PATENT. The 
legal descriptions of these areas are contained in 
Appendix B-3. 

Hazardous Materials 

The potential for the existence of hazardous 
materials at landfills (including septage pits and 
illegal dump sites) is a major concern in the 
Resource Area. Some landfills were improperly 
constructed and others were built without regard 
for geologic and hydrologic conditions. The 
primary concern is that hazardous substances could 
be leaking from the landfills and entering the 
groundwater. 

To date, NINE LANDFILLS have been 
investigated according to Environmental Protection 



Agency guidelines for the presence of hazardous 
materials and potential contamination of the 
environment. Most of these sites were proven to 
contain insignificant amounts of hazardous 
materials and pose no threat to the public health 
or the environment. The Resource Area continues 
to study any site where evidence indicates 
hazardous materials may be present. 

There are 17 landfill sites on public land in the 
Resource Area. Of the 17 sites, 15 are in Dofla 
Ana County and two are in Hidalgo County. 
Currently, all except the Las Cruces landfill are 
physically closed to land-filling of solid waste 
although the leases are still current. Instead of 
land-filling, Dofla Ana County has placed 
containerized transfer stations at the various 
landfill sites in the County. The Mesquite site in 
Dofla Ana County is the only site that accepts 
septage. Waste is transferred from these stations 
to the Las Cruces landfill. Landfills are listed in 
Table 2-10. 

Landfills (or any other site) will be investigated if 
suspected of containing hazardous materials or 
posing a potential threat to public safety. As 
unauthorized sites are found they will be 
ASSESSED BY PERFORMING A "REMOVAL 
EVALUATION" AND cleaned up AS NECESSARY. 
IF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS 
CONTAMINATION CANNOT BE REMOVED, a 
Preliminary Assessment (PA) may be performed. 
If the results from the PA indicate that hazardous 
materials ARE SIGNIFICANT or may have 
migrated off-site, further study MIGHT BE 
NECESSARY through a Site Investigation (SI) or 
a more comprehensive Expanded Site Investigation 
(ESI). Table 2-10 shows the status of landfill 
investigations as of February 1991. ONCE EPA 
AND THE STATE ARE SATISFIED WITH THE 
INVESTIGATIONS UNDER CERCLA, THE 
LANDFILL WILL BE CLOSED FOLLOWING 
STATE REGULATIONS AND ANY 
RECOMMENDATIONS RESULTING FROM 
CERCLA INVESTIGATIONS. All surface and 
mineral use authorizations are suspended pending 
the outcome of the studies. ADDITIONALLY, 
THE SITES LISTED ON THE FEDERAL 
FACILITIES DOCKET MAY BE SEVERELY 
RESTRICTED FROM ANY OTHER LAND USE 
IN THE FUTURE. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT ONLY 
MAINTENANCE OF THE SITES AND 



2-17 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



MONITORING WILL BE ALLOWED AT THE 
DOCKET SITES. 

ACCESS 

The Mimbres Resource Area normally acquires 
one or two easements each year. As required by 
BLM policy, these easements generally provide 
legal access FOR ONE OR MORE OF THESE 
RESOURCE NEEDS: LANDS, MINERALS, 
FORESTRY, RANGE, WILDLIFE, RECREATION, 
AND WATERSHED. 

On a case-by-case basis, easements are acquired to 
establish legal access where ROAD OR TRAIL 
EASEMENTS ARE THE MOST FREQUENT 
TYPE OF ACQUISITION. The method of 
determining needed access is in accordance with 
the BLM Planning Process. This process WOULD 
BE funded by the benefitting resource program(s), 
such as recreation, range, OR wildlife. 

All roads will be constructed or maintained in 
accordance with the BLM New Mexico Road 
Policy. 

LIVESTOCK GRAZING 

Livestock grazing in the Resource Area is 
authorized under the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, 
FLPMA of 1976, and the Public Rangelands 
Improvement Act (PRIA) of 1978. BLM is 
directed to authorize and manage livestock grazing 
on public land under the principles of multiple 
use and sustained yield and to prevent the 
degradation of the rangeland resources by 
providing for their orderly use, improvement, and 
development. 

The Endangered Species Act of 1973, the 
Archaeological Resource Protection Act of 1971, 
and NEPA of 1969 can affect livestock grazing 
activities by requiring additional resource 
management actions. Through the NEPA process, 
Federal agencies assess the impacts of their 
programs and actions on the human environment. 
BLM was SUED by the Natural Resources Defense 
Council (NRDC) in 1973 with noncompliance 
WITH the Act. SETTLEMENT resulted in 212 
site-specific Environmental Impact Statements 
(EISs) being required by the COURT TO BE 
PREPARED BY THE BLM ASSESSING THE 



IMPACTS OF livestock grazing on public land. 
The two EISs encompassing the Mimbres Resource 
Area are the Southern Rio Grande EIS (BLM 
1981) and the Las Cruces/Lordsburg Management 
Framework Plan Amendment/EIS (BLM 1984). 
These two EISs AND ASSOCIATED MFPs provide 
program guidance through the proposed actions 
and management objectives identified. 
Approximately 20 allotments located in New 
Mexico are administered by the Safford District 
(located in Safford, Arizona). These allotments 
were covered by the Upper Gila-San Simon 
Grazing EIS (BLM 1978). 

Grazing Management Policy 

BLM's Final Grazing Management Policy 
established in 1982 now incorporated in BLM 
handbooks identified goals and objectives 
consistent with BLM's responsibility to improve 
the rangelands and manage the grazing use on 
public land in compliance with laws and policies 
affecting the grazing management program. The 
intent of the policy is to make the grazing 
management program more efficient and cost 
effective by use of a selective management 
approach. This is accomplished by assigning 
management priorities among allotments or groups 
of allotments within a planning area based on 
similar resource characteristics, management needs, 
and both resource and economic potential for 
improvement. Selective management categories 
can be changed as additional resource 
INFORMATION becomes available. 

The three management categories specified in the 
Policy are: 

• Category M - those allotments with current 
satisfactory conditions; 

• Category I - those allotments where existing 
conditions are unsatisfactory and can 
economically be improved; and 

• Category C - those allotments where the 
opportunity for positive economic return on 
public investment is unlikely. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON ALLOTMENT 
CATEGORIZATION IS LOCATED IN APPENDIX 
C-l. A copy of the grazing management policy can 



2-18 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-10 
LANDFILL INVESTIGATION STATUS 



LISTED UN 
FEDERAL FACILITY DOCKET 



LANDFILL NAME 



STATUS 



Anthony 

Butterfield Park 

Chaparral 

Garfield 

Hatch 

Hill 

La Mesa 

La Union 

Las Cruces 

Mesquite 

Mesilla Dam 

Old La Union* 

Rincon 

Salem 

Salem-Garfield 

Virden North 

Virden South 



SI completed 

PA scheduled 

PA completed 

RE 

PA completed 

PA completed 

PA completed 

ESI completed 

SI completed 

PA completed 

ESI completed 

PA scheduled 

RE 

RE 

RE 

PA scheduled 

RE 



YES 

No 

YES 

No 

YES 

YES 

YES 

YES 

YES 

YES 

YES 

No 

No 

No 

No 

No 

No 



Source: BLM Files, 1991. 

Notes: *This site has been formally closed by the BLM. 
SI = Site Investigation 
PA = Preliminary Assessment 
ESI = Expanded Site Investigation 
RE = REMOVAL EVALUATION 



2-19 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



be found at the Mimbres Resource Area Office. 
All allotments within the Mimbres Resource Area 
have been categorized according to the criteria 
contained in the grazing management policy (SEE 
APPENDIX C-l). The present allotment 
categorizes, including a summary of each allotment 
in the Mimbres Resource Area, is displayed in 
Appendix C-2. 

SOUTHERN RIO GRANDE GRAZING EIS 

There are 74 grazing allotments within the 
Southern Rio Grande EIS area. All of these but 
one are within the grazing district boundary. All 
of Dofla Ana County and the eastern edge of Luna 
County are included in this EIS area. In the 
Rangeland Program Summary (RPS) of January 
1983, allotments in this EIS area were categorized 
and decisions issued, placing these allotments into 
one of the three management categories. Category 
I allotments were given a high, medium, and low 
priority rating depending on the resource conflicts, 
utilization patterns, and needed rangeland 
improvements. Initially there were 49 Category I, 
12 Category M, and 13 Category C allotments. As 
of the preparation of this document, there are 33 
Category I, 21 Category M, and 20 Category C 
allotments (see Appendix C-2). Allotments have 
changed category due to changing priorities, 
resolution or identification of resource conflicts, 
changing utilizations patterns, and implementation 
of activity plans which have incorporated needed 
rangeland improvements. Of the Category I 
allotments, 19 have completed the initial 5-year 
monitoring period and are now in the activity plan 
development stage. 

Under the Proposed Action Alternative in the 
SOUTHERN RIO GRANDE EIS, 16 wells (with 
pump or windmill), 7 storage tanks, 58 drinking 
troughs, 85.5 miles of pipeline, 7 dirt tanks, 161 
miles of fence, 7 cattleguards, 9 dikes, 3,960 acres 
of creosotebush brush control and 21,238 acres of 
mesquite brush control were identified. According 
to the RPS updates issued each year, a total of 2 
wells (with pump or windmill), 5 storage tanks, 14 
drinking troughs, 40.5 miles of pipeline, and 70.6 
miles of fence have been constructed, and 4,853 
acres of creosotebush treated. These projects were 
completed with 8100 funding, where BLM and the 
permittee share the cost or under a RANGE 



IMPROVEMENT Permit, where the permittee pays 
for the entire project. 

There are NINE Allotment Management Plans 
(AMPs) in existence in this EIS area. One of 
these plans has been evaluated and will be revised. 
Two others are being intensively monitored to 
determine how the plan should be revised. Several 
new activity plans are in the initial stages of 
development. Most Category I allotments will 
have an activity plan developed on the allotment 
AS THE MONITORING STUDIES AND 
ALLOTMENT EVALUATIONS ARE 
COMPLETED. 

Since the completion of the Southern Rio Grande 
EIS, all Category I allotments have HAD SOME 
MONITORING or are being monitored at this 
time. The Category M and C allotments, although 
less intensively monitored, have had some form of 
use supervision done on them either in the way of 
rangeland improvement inspections, livestock 
counts, or utilization monitoring. Of the 19 I 
Category allotments with 5 years of monitoring 
completed, 8 are in the activity planning stage and 
have received or soon will receive the needed 
rangeland improvements to implement the grazing 
systems. Permittees on 11 allotments have 
accepted adjustments or remained at their 
preference numbers, and an activity plan is not 
proposed at this time. Improvement in range 
condition on the monitored allotments appears to 
be THE RESULT OF A COMBINATION OF 
SEVERAL FACTORS. ABOVE AVERAGE 
RAINFALL AND ROTATIONAL GRAZING HAVE 
HAD A MAJOR EFFECT ALONG WITH 
REDUCTION IN ACTD7E LrVESTOCK USE IN 
THE LATE 1970's AND EARLY 1980's. Species 
composition has remained the same over the 9 
years that studies have been conducted. The brush 
control areas have shown the greatest improvement 
in range condition. 

In the Afton Allotment (No. 03056), a series of 
small exclosures (100 acres total) will be 
constructed to provide ungrazed research sites. 

LAS CRUCES/LORDSBURG MFP 

AMENDMENT/EIS (MFPA/EIS) 

There are 273 grazing allotments within the Las 
Cruces/Lordsburg MFPA/EIS area. Of this total, 



2-20 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



133 are within the grazing district boundary and 
the remaining 140 are outside this boundary. All 
of Grant and Hidalgo counties and the western 
three quarters of Luna County are included in this 
EIS area. A small portion of Cochise County in 
Arizona is administered for grazing in the Mimbres 
Resource Area. Allotments in this EIS area were 
categorized and decisions issued, placing these 
allotments into one of three management 
categories. 

Category I allotments were given a high, medium 
and low priority rating depending on the resource 
conflicts, utilization patterns, and needed 
rangeland improvements. Initially, there were 92 
Category I, 164 Category M, and 17 Category C 
allotments. As of the preparation of this 
document, there are 84 Category I, 170 Category 
M, and 19 Category C allotments (see Appendix C- 
2). Allotments have changed category due to 
changing priorities, resolution or identification of 
resource conflicts, changing utilization patterns, 
and implementation of activity plans which have 
incorporated needed rangeland improvements. Of 
the Category I allotments, 28 have completed the 
initial 5-year monitoring period and are now in the 
activity plan development stage. 

Under the Proposed Action Alternative in the Las 
Cruces/Lordsburg MFPA/EIS, 1 1 wells (with pump 
or windmill), 17 storage tanks, 47 drinking troughs, 
67 miles of pipeline, 25 dirt tanks, 55 miles of 
fence, 1 cattleguard, 68 erosion dikes, 4 umbrella 
catchments, 42,279 acres of creosotebush brush 
control and 9,609 acres of mesquite brush control 
were identified. According to the RPS updates 
issued each year, a total of 3 wells (with pump or 
windmill), 16 storage tanks, 25 drinking troughs, 
74.4 miles of pipeline, and 155.6 miles of fence 
have been constructed and 5,491 acres of 
creosotebush have been treated with an additional 
320 acres treated through prescribed burns. These 
projects were completed with 8100 funding, where 
BLM and the permittee share the cost or under a 
RANGE IMPROVEMENT Permit, where the 
permittee pays for the entire project. 

There are 18 AMPs in existence in this EIS area. 
One of these plans has been evaluated and revised. 
Two others are being intensively monitored to 
determine how the plan should be revised. Several 
new activity plans are in the initial stages of 



development. MOST Category I allotments will 
have activity plans developed on the allotment as 
monitoring studies AND ALLOTMENT 
EVALUATION are completed. 

Since the completion of the Las Cruces/Lordsburg 
MFPA/EIS, all Category I allotments have been 
monitored, are being monitored, or are on the 
schedule to be initiated in the next 5 years. The 
Category M or C allotments, although less 
intensively monitored, have had some form of use 
supervision done on them either in the way of 
rangeland improvement inspections, livestock 
counts, or utilization monitoring. Of the 16 I 
Category allotments, with 5 years of monitoring 
completed, 13 are in the activity planning stage 
and have received or soon will receive the needed 
rangeland improvements to implement the grazing 
systems. Permittees on three allotments have 
accepted adjustments or remained at their 
preference numbers, and an activity plan is not 
proposed at this time. Improvement in range 
condition on the monitored allotments appears to 
be THE RESULT OF A COMBINATION OF 
FACTORS. Above average rainfall and rotational 
grazing has had a major effect along with 
reductions in active livestock use in the late 1970's 
and early 1980's. Species composition has 
remained the same over the 7 years that the 
studies have been conducted. The brush control 
areas have shown the greatest improvement in 
range condition. 

Livestock Grazing Management 

The objective of the Mimbres Resource Area 
rangeland management program is to manage the 
rangelands in an efficient manner by providing 
effective ALLOTMENT management. This can be 
accomplished through careful planning, giving 
attention to proper placement of rangeland 
improvements, distribution of salt, distribution of 
livestock, THE kind and class of livestock, suitable 
grazing systems, ASSESSING plant and animal 
requirements, and vegetation treatments. 

ALLOTMENT MANAGEMENT 
PLANS/ACTIVITY PLANS 

THESE RMPs AND OTHER ACTIVITY PLANS 

will continue to be developed for allotments to 
resolve resource problems or conflicts. Specific 



2-21 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



management actions will be developed at the 
activity plan stage. These plans will be prepared in 
consultation, cooperation, and coordination with 
the permittees, OTHER LANDOWNERS, and 
AFFECTED INTERESTS. The priorities for 
completing AMPs and activity plans will BE 
DETERMINED BY THE ALLOTMENT 
CATEGORY; for example, Category I allotments 
will be first priority, followed by Category "M" and 
"C" allotments. 

GRAZING SYSTEMS 

THESE AMPs AND OTHER ACTD7ITY PLANS 

will normally include a grazing system which will 
provide periodic rest from livestock grazing. The 
type of system to be implemented will be tailored 
to meet the needs of the allotment and will be 
developed through consultation with the livestock 
operator and other affected interests. 
Consideration will be given to permittee needs, 
level of management, vegetation objectives, the 
degree and type of resource conflicts, initial costs 
to implement the system, such as fences and 
waters, and other factors. A variety of grazing 
systems are available for consideration. Some of 
these are rest-rotation, deferred, deferred-rotation, 
rotation, and high intensity/short duration 
GRAZING. 

It is anticipated that five new activity plans will be 
developed and implemented each year upon the 
completion of the monitoring studies on the I 
Category allotments. Allotments with Special 
Management Areas or riparian zones, would 
receive a higher priority due to possible resource 
conflicts. 

RANGELAND IMPROVEMENTS 

THE PRIA outlines the BLM's goal for investing 
in economically and environmentally sound 
rangeland improvements to improve public land 
for multiple use purposes. COPIES of the LAW 
AND RESULTING REGULATIONS ARE located 
in the Mimbres Resource Area Office. 

A benefit/cost analysis will be used to help set 
improvement priorities on all new rangeland 
improvements. Rangeland improvements and 
vegetation treatments will continue to be 



implemented to improve or maintain forage 
production and range condition. Project 
implementation and the cost of these actions were 
based on several assumptions: 

• Manpower and funding availability. 

• Demand for products (i.e., beef) will continue. 

• Objectives will be reached within 20 years of 
plan implementation. 

• Actual implementation of the proposed 
developments may vary from those described 
at the planning stage. 

During the preparation of the AMPs and activity 
plans, proposed developments will be further 
refined to reflect changes in allotment management 
and needs, along with the ever changing legislation, 
mandates, and policy. 

LIVESTOCK USE ADJUSTMENTS 

On an allotment, adjustments can be made by 
changing one or more of the following: the kind 
and class of livestock, the season of use, the 
number of livestock, or the pattern of grazing use. 
Any such adjustment is made only after the 
appropriate consultation, cooperation, and 
coordination with lessees, permittees, other 
landowners, District Grazing Advisory Board, and 
other affected interests as required by laws, 
regulations, and policy. Long-term increases in 
vegetation will be reserved for wildlife, watershed, 
and livestock on a case-by-case basis. 

Permittees may apply for and be granted nonuse 
for definite periods of time based upon the 
following criteria: conservation and protection of 
the public land, annual fluctuations of livestock 
operations, financial or other reasons beyond the 
control of the operator, OR livestock disease or 
quarantine. Such nonuse must be in accordance 
with the goals of the RMP, benefit or protect 
sensitive resource values (such as within an 
ACEC), and be approved by the Authorized 
Officer. Other applications for livestock use will 
not be considered while the APPROVED nonuse is 
in effect. 



2-22 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



MONITORING STUDIES 

The monitoring of rangeland resources involves 
collection of data on the present grazing 
management system, the effectiveness of existing 
rangeland improvements, and present stocking rate, 
taking into consideration current precipitation 
data, livestock use LEVELS, watershed and wildlife 
habitat needs, and CURRENT condition and trend. 
The studies help identify livestock distribution 
problems, needed rangeland improvements, 
vegetation treatments, initial ADJUSTED stocking 
rates, and possible grazing management systems 
tailored for the particular allotment and its needs. 
THE RANGELAND MONITORING STUDIES 
ARE USED IN THE MIMBRES RESOURCE 
AREA TO MONITOR LONG-TERM 
RANGELAND ECOLOGICAL CONDITION AND 
TREND AND DETERMINE DESIRED PLANT 
COMMUNITY GOALS. 

Monitoring studies have been or will be established 
on ALL Category I allotments in the Mimbres 
Resource Area. The intensity and frequency of 
the STUDIES depends on the allotment category. 
Category I allotments are monitored at a greater 
intensity than Category M and C allotments. Any 
necessary adjustments in stocking levels or other 
management practices will be based on these 
studies and consultation with the permittee, 
OTHER LANDOWNERS, AND AFFECTED 
INTERESTS. THERE WILL BE NO CHANGES 
IN ACTIVE GRAZING PREFERENCE until 
monitoring studies indicate a change is necessary 
OR AS AGREED UPON WITH THE OPERATOR 
OR AS PROVIDED FOR IN THE GRAZING 
REGULATIONS. 

VEGETATION 

Timbered or woodland areas are extremely limited 
in the Mimbres Resource Area. Vegetation sales 
for fuelwood or fenceposts will continue to be 
handled on a case-by-case basis. There will be no 
fuelwood sales except to accomplish other resource 
management objectives such as mesquite 
eradication OR JUNIPER THINNING. Vegetation 
products for landscaping and decorative purposes 
are a major demand in the Resource Area. 

Prickly pear, sotol, ocotillo, desert willow, little- 
leaf sumac, range ratany, soaptree yucca, and 



Spanish dagger are some of the plants sold for 
noncommercial purposes in the Resource Area. 
There are no commercial sale areas. Plant 
collecting is illegal without a permit (WITH THE 
EXCEPTION OF SMALL QUANTITIES FOR 
RECREATIONAL USE IN ACCORDANCE WITH 
43 CFR 8365.1-5). Illegal plant collecting is a 
recurring problem throughout the Resource Area. 

Currently, there are five vegetation sale areas 
encompassing approximately 22,000 acres in Dofla 
Ana County. Most of this acreage is in the 
soaptree yucca sale area. As the demand continues 
to grow, new areas will be identified. It is 
estimated that not more than two new sale areas 
per year would be opened and these would not 
entail more than 100 acres each. The sotol sale 
area will need to be moved periodically. The use 
of sotol in religious ceremonies requires the 
removal of the center of the plant which kills it. 
Prior to surface disturbing activities, such as sand 
and gravel operations, plants would be made 
available to the public and commercial operators. 
The Adopt-A-Plant program is in its initial stage 
of development. Under this program, NATrVE 
plants DISPLACED as a result of surface 
disturbing actions will be "adopted" into private 
homes. Removal of vegetation products would 
involve some plant digging and some off-road 
vehicle travel. 

SOIL, AIR, AND WATER 

Soils 

The BLM has cooperated with the USDA Soil 
Conservation Service in the National Cooperative 
Soil Survey Program. Participation in the National 
Cooperative Soil Survey Program will continue. 
Updating of the soil surveys and soil interpretive 
data will be used in planning, support, and 
implementation of resource activities. 

Emphasis is placed on prevention of deterioration 
or degradation as well as conservation of the soil 
resource. Some protection is provided by the 
Conservation Reserve Program. All lands in soil 
capability classes II through VIII are not suitable 
for desert land entry petition application or 
agricultural leases. This program seeks to remove 
highly erodible lands from marginal agricultural 
operations. 



2-23 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 

Air 

Reduction of air quality impacts from activities on 
public land is accomplished by mitigation measures 
developed on a casc-by-case basis through NEPA 
or other statutory or regulatory processes. Each 
impact is evaluated to see if it is allowable and 
acceptable. Activities such as road construction 
and sand or gravel extraction will have appropriate 
measures developed to mitigate impacts to air 
quality (such as dust abatement). These measures 
will be made a part of the permit or contract. 

The BLM is required to comply with the New 
Mexico State Implementation Plan on air quality 
as well as meet responsibilities under the Clean 
Air Act, as amended, and FLPMA. 

Water Resources 

Policy and guidance for the management of water 
resources associated with land administered by the 
BLM is summarized in various BLM manual 
sections. A brief description of the different 
authorities for the program is also presented. 
General program emphasis is on water rights and 
watershed management specifically related to water 
quality and sediment yields. 

WATER RIGHTS 

A water use and water rights inventory has been 
completed in the Mimbres Resource Area to 
identify the status of the BLM's water rights 
filings. There are no ongoing adjudications in the 
Resource Area. 

All water rights are acquired in accordance with 
State substantive and procedural law except where 
Congress or the Executive Branch has created a 
Federal reservation of a water right. 

Federal reserved water rights are defined in 
legislation and Executive Orders. BLM's Federal 
reserved water rights claims are primarily 
associated with the withdrawal established by the 
Executive Order of April 17, 1926 which concerns 
public water reserves. 



WATER QUALITY 

Water quality regulation in the United States 
receives its basic authority from three laws. The 
Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 and 
the Clean Water Act of 1977 as amended are the 
basic authorities for instream water quality 
standards and maximum permissible pollutant 
discharges. The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 
is the basic authority for domestic water quality 
standards. 

A growing concern is nonpoint source pollution. 
The New Mexico Water Quality Control 
Commission recently identified the main stem of 
the Rio Grande from Doha Ana south as having 
high amounts of pathogens, while the Mimbres 
River from Mimbres to San Juan and the Gila 
River from Davis Creek to the State line are 
impaired from extensive siltation, nutrients, and 
temperature. The BLM will continue to 
participate with the State and Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) in water quality 
management to ensure that management practices 
comply with State water quality standards. 

The Colorado River Salinity Control Act passed in 
1974 directed the Secretary of the Interior to 
undertake research and development of salinity 
control projects and to develop methods to 
improve water quality. An amendment to the Act 
passed in 1984 specifically requires the BLM to 
develop a comprehensive program for minimizing 
salt contributions to the Colorado River from 
BLM-administered public land. 

WATERSHED ACTIVITY PLANS 

THERE IS CURRENTLY ONE WATERSHED 
MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE CLARK DRAW 
WATERSHED ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE 
COOKE'S RANGE. OTHER ACTIVITY PLANS 
SUCH AS THE PLACITA ARROYO 
COORDINATED MANAGEMENT PLAN (CMP), 
SAN SIMON CMP, AND GILA LOWER BOX 
COORDINATED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 
PLAN ALSO ADDRESS WATERSHED AND 
RIPARIAN MANAGEMENT CONCERNS. 



2-24 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



Control of soil erosion, sediment movement, and 
salt contamination of surface water remains a high 
priority management goal. Nonpoint source 
impaired watersheds and areas with critical to 
severe erosion (1.0 to greater than 3.0 acre 
ft/mi 2 /yr) sediment yields, which produce runoff 
having more than 1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/1) 
dissolved salts, will be of major focus. Salinity 
control will be a priority on saline soils within the 
Colorado River drainage. 

Continuing efforts to control erosion will include 
the following: minimizing surface disturbance 
from construction projects, closure and 
rehabilitation of unneeded roads, and control of 
off-road vehicle use in critical areas. 

The soil and water programs will continue to 
emphasize legislative mandates of protection, as 
they relate to surface and groundwater quality, as 
well as provide support to other resource activities 
in the Mimbres Resource Area. 



were primarily grass, pinyon/juniper, mixed brush, 
and creosotebush. For more details on fuel types, 
refer to the maps and fuel models in the District 
Fire Management Activity Plan. 

The current Mimbres Resource Area policy is to 
initial attack all wildfires on or threatening public 
land. Suppression strategies mainly focus on 
minimizing cost not the acreage burned. In high 
sensitivity areas such as the Organ Mountains or 
where significant property values exist, suppression 
strategies may be geared towards minimizing 
burned acreage while protecting important 
resource values. 

Prescribed burning is another management tool 
that the Resource Area has only recently begun to 
utilize. It is estimated that one to two prescribed 
burns would be conducted each year totalling 
several hundred to several thousand acres. These 
would be mainly in alkali sacaton, tobosa, or 
mountain shrub vegetation types. 



Project level planning will consider the sensitivity 
of the watershed (soil, water, and vegetation) 
resource in the affected area on a site-specific 
basis. All surface disturbing actions will require 
appropriate reclamation measures using the 
Resource Area's Reclamation and Reseeding 
Guidelines as guidance. All rangeland 

improvements and land treatments will be designed 
to minimize adverse impacts to the watershed 
resource. Project construction areas will be 
reseeded with a mixture of grasses, forbs, and 
shrubs as necessary. These projects consist of 
contour furrowing and pitting, mechanical 
treatments, and the construction of detention 
dams, diversions, water spreader, wire checks, and 
exclosures. 

FIRE MANAGEMENT 

The number and size of fires varies from year-to- 
year, depending on the occurrence of lightning 
storms and the amount of fine fuels build-up. 
Between 1977 and 1989, there were 63 fires on 
land administered by the Mimbres Resource Area. 
During those years, annual ignitions ranged from 
a low of in 1986 to 10 ignitions in 1989. During 
this period, 46 of the fires were caused by lightning 
with sizes ranging from 1 acre to 3,000 acres. 
There were 17 man caused fires. Fuels consumed 



WILDLIFE 

Legislation such as FLPMA, the Sikes Act, the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended in 
1982, and the PRIA, as amended, has directed the 
BLM to improve management of wildlife habitat to 
meet wildlife needs. PRIA outlines the BLM's 
goal for investing in economically and 
environmentally sound rangeland improvements to 
improve public land for multiple use purposes. 
The Wildlife 2000 initiative places added emphasis 
on expanding and creating a more effective wildlife 
program Bureauwide. New Mexico Fish and 
Wildlife 2000 and the New Mexico Operations 
Plan for wildlife are companion policy guides. 
This often conflicts with increasing demands for 
basic energy supplies, building materials, and food 
products. It is the responsibility of the Mimbres 
Resource Area to identify opportunities to 
maintain, improve, and expand wildlife habitat on 
the public land for both consumptive and 
nonconsumptive uses as well as biological diversity. 
The RMP process also involves identification of 
wildlife habitats deserving special attention. 
Furthermore, it is USDI policy that Interior agency 
fish and wildlife management strategies assist State 
agencies in implementing fish and wildlife resource 
plans. 



2-25 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



All actions in the Mimbres Resource Area are 
reviewed IN AN INTERDISCIPLINARY site- 
specific analysis during the EA process to 
determine whether the action will affect wetland or 
riparian areas. Also considered are impacts to 
resident species' habitat, habitat improvement 
projects, and compatibility with the New Mexico 
Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) and 
BLM Comprehensive Wildlife Plan. All rangeland 
and watershed improvements will continue to be 
designed to achieve both range and wildlife 
objectives. This includes location and design of 
waters and vegetation manipulation projects. 
Fences are designed to minimize resistance to 
wildlife movement. 

Animal Damage Control 

Animal damage control activities on public land in 
the Mimbres Resource Area are guided by USDI 
policy and the annual Animal Damage Control 
Plan for the Las Cruces District, prepared jointly 
by the USDA and the BLM. The USDA has the 
responsibility for the program and supervises all 
control activities. The BLM approves all specific 
control actions on public land. 

Habitat Management 

Habitat management plans (HMPs) and portions 
of Coordinated Resource Management Plans are 
developed in an effort to improve wildlife habitat. 
Implementation and maintenance of existing HMPs 
(Florida Mountains, Big Hatchet/Alamo Hueco 
Mountains, Peloncillo Mountains, San Simon 
Cienega, Gila Lower Box, and Franklin 
Mountains) and Coordinated Resource 
Management Plans (Gila Lower Box and Organ 
Mountains) will continue utilizing appropriated 
funds as well as funds to be derived from the soon 
to be expanded Sikes Act Stamp Program. 
Existing HMPs are on file and available for review 
at the Mimbres Resource Area Office. 



CRUCIAL WILDLIFE AREAS 

The six HMPs and two Coordinated Resource 
Management Plans in the Resource Area were 
developed for the management of various species 
or unique habitat types. 

Big Hatchet/Alamo Hueco HMP 

This HMP was developed in 1983 for the 
management of desert bighorn sheep (State-listed 
endangered species) habitat in the Big Hatchet 
Mountains, Little Hatchet Mountains, and the 
Alamo Hueco Mountains of southwest Hidalgo 
County. THIS PLAN WILL BE REVISED IN 1993 
AND THE PRIMARY OBJECTD7E OF THIS 
REVISED PLAN WILL BE TO PROVIDE AND 
MANAGE HABITAT FOR A HERD SIZE OF 250 
ANIMALS (NMDGF). 

Peloncillo Mountain HMP 

This HMP was developed in 1984 for the 
management of desert bighorn sheep habitat. The 
HMP area is in western Hidalgo County and runs 
from 1-10 in the north to the Coronado National 
Forest to the south. THIS PLAN WILL BE 
REVISED IN 1994 AND THE PRIMARY 
OBJECTIVE OF THE REVISED HMP WILL BE 
TO ENSURE HABITAT FOR 250 DESERT 
BIGHORN SHEEP (NMDGF). 

Florida Mountain HMP 

The Plan was developed in 1979 and revised in 
1988 for the management of Iranian ibex which 
were released into the Florida Mountains by the 
NMDGF in 1970. The Florida Mountains are 
located in southeast Luna County. The primary 
objective of the HMP is to manage the habitat for 
a ibex herd of 400 animals (post hunt), while 
maintaining adequate habitat for mule deer and 
other wildlife (except under Alternative B). 



Monitoring of wildlife habitat by key species 
utilization will continue to be conducted as part of 
HMP and rangeland program monitoring. The 
information obtained from the vegetation transects 
will be incorporated into final grazing decisions 
where appropriate. 



Franklin Mountain HMP 

This HMP was developed in 1987 for the 
management of Sneed's pincushion cactus habitat. 
The HMP area is in the Franklin Mountains of 
southeastern Dofla Ana County. The primary 
objective of the HMP is to manage the habitat to 



2-26 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



have at least three secure populations with a target 
population of 10,000 individuals in these three 
populations. 

San Simon Cienega HMP 



Prior to authorizing activities in crucial wildlife 
habitats such as winter ranges, raptor nest sites, 
and fawning habitat, considerations are made to 
avoid or minimize disturbance to wildlife. The 
area and time stipulations are shown in Table 2-11. 



The Plan was developed in 1973 for the protection 
and enhancement of critical habitat for the 
Mexican duck. The HMP was revised in 1983 to 
enhance habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife 
species. A Coordinated Management Plan is 
currently being developed which will address 
livestock grazing, rangeland improvements, and 
wildlife habitat enhancement projects. 

Organ Mountains Coordinated Resource 
Management Plan 

The Organ Mountains Coordinated Resource 
Management Plan was developed in 1989 and 
includes portions which deal with wildlife and 
wildlife habitat. The primary objectives for wildlife 
consist of developing or protecting springs and 
riparian habitat, installation of wildlife waters, and 
possible introduction of desert bighorn sheep and 
turkeys. 



Grazing of domestic sheep AND GOATS will not 
be allowed in bighorn sheep habitat areas. 
EXISTING GUIDANCE ALSO ADDRESSES 
BUFFER AREAS FOR GRAZING OF DOMESTIC 
SHEEP. 

Prescribed burn projects are designed to improve 
wildlife habitat. Rangeland management practices 
and rangeland improvements are designed or 
modified to maintain or improve wildlife habitats. 
Livestock grazing management will incorporate the 
needs of key plant species important to wildlife. 

All new fences are built to allow for wildlife 
passage in accordance with BLM fence standards. 
Any existing fences obstructing wildlife movements 
will be brought into conformance with the adopted 
standards. Wildlife escape devices are installed on 
all new and existing water tanks or troughs within 
the Mimbres Resource Area. 



Gila Lower Box Coordinated Resource 
Management Plan 

The Coordinated Resource Management Plan was 
developed in 1985 to enhance and protect the 
riparian resources of the Gila Lower Box. The 
Gila Lower Box is located in northern Hidalgo 
County and stretches approximately 6 miles ON 
PUBLIC LAND. Along with protecting riparian 
values, the Coordinated Resource Management 
Plan also protects habitat for the diverse avian, 
mammalian, and reptilian species which occur in 
the Gila Lower Box. 

Wildlife Management Actions 

Wildlife management actions such as spring 
developments, exclosures, and game waters involve 
less than 1 acre of surface disturbance per year. 
The vegetation/land treatment actions for wildlife 
habitat improvement are included in the total 
estimate for vegetation treatments. 



The construction of new roads into crucial wildlife 
habitats will be avoided. Permanent or seasonal 
road closures may be instituted where problems 
exist or are expected. 

Raptor habitat will be improved by requiring all 
new powerlines to be constructed to "electrocution 
proof specifications. Any existing lines also may 
be modified to be "electrocution proof." 

As HMPs are developed and implemented, 
particularly where the use of Sikes Act funds are 
involved, attention will be given to the 
development of basic facilities for users such as 
parking lots and trailheads. 

Sikes Act projects to maintain, improve, or 
enhance wildlife habitat will be developed and 
implemented throughout the Resource Area. 



2-27 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-11 
WILDLIFE AREA AND TIME STIPULATIONS 



Big Game 

Pronghorn antelope 
Desert bighorn sheep 

T&E and Candidate Species 

Common black hawk 
Ferruginous hawk 
Peregrine falcon 

Species of Concern 

Golden eagle 

Special Habitats 

Riparian, springs, wetlands, 
ponds, arroyo habitats 



TIME PERIODS 


AREA 


Yearlong 


CRITICAL Habitat Area 


Yearlong 


CRITICAL Habitat Area 


3/1-8/30 


y k mi radius from nest 


2/1-7/30 


Vi mi radius from nest 


2/1-8/30 


Vi mi radius from nest 



2/1-7/15 



Yearlong 



'A mi radius from nest 



Within 500 feet 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 



CULTURAL AND 

PALEONTOLOGICAL 

RESOURCES 

The objective of the Mimbres cultural resource 
program is to manage cultural resources on public 
land in a manner that protects and provides for 
their proper use. Cultural resources include 
archaeological, historic, and socio-cultural 
properties. Paleontology and natural history are 
also managed under the cultural resource program 
although paleontology is addressed separately in 
this document. 

The degree of management is commensurate with 
the scientific or socio-cultural values of the 
resource, the degree of threat, and the resource's 
vulnerability. Under this concept, the Mimbres 
Resource Area attempts to protect a representative 
sample of the full array of cultural resources, both 
prehistoric and historic, found on BLM- 
administered public land. Federal laws such as the 
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 
(NHPA) as amended, the Archaeological and 
Historic Preservation Act of 1974, the 
Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) 
of 1979 as amended, the American Indian 
Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) of 1978, the 
Native American Graves Protection and 



Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA), and 
FLPMA provide for the protection and 
management of cultural resources. 

These laws are implemented through Federal 
regulations which provide guidance for the cultural 
resource program in meeting the requirements of 
the law. These regulations, as amended, determine 
how the NHPA shall be implemented by Federal 
agencies, State Historic Preservation Officers 
(SHPOs), and the Advisory Council on Historic 
Preservation. In New Mexico, a Programmatic 
Memorandum of Agreement (PMOA) between the 
above three parties further defines these roles and 
streamlines the consultation process. 

In addition to Federal regulations, special 
agreements such as the PMOA cited above, 
instruction manuals, and memoranda are issued at 
various departmental levels to provide both general 
and specific guidance for the management of 
cultural resources. Current instruction memoranda 
issued at the National, State, and District levels are 
retained in the Mimbres Resource Area files and 
are incorporated by reference. 

Archaeological and historic resources are evaluated 
initially under the eligibility criteria of the 
National Register of Historic Places. Sites listed 
or eligible for the National Register are managed 



2-28 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



under BLM procedures which have been developed 
in conformance with relevant laws and regulations. 

Socio-cultural resources are managed in 
accordance with AIRFA and NAGPRA, and with 
relevant sections of the regulations, which take 
into account concerns of Indian tribes in the 
implementation of ARPA. The consultation 
process with Indian tribes concerning sites and 
locations of traditional religious significance is 
open and on-going and has occurred in the 
preparation of this document. 

Inventory 

The BLM undertakes inventory and maintains a 
cultural resource database for all BLM- 
administered public land. These inventories are 
categorized into three classes: Class I - Existing 
inventory and literature search; Class II - Sampling 
field inventory (all sample units are inventoried to 
Class III standards); and Class III -Intensive field 
inventory. Except under certain specific conditions 
set forth under the BLM Cultural Resource 
Manuals, Class III inventory is required before any 
surface disturbance may occur. 

The Mimbres Resource Area maintains a 
cumulative site inventory documenting the 
locations of all known sites, all areas surveyed, and 
areas known to be devoid of cultural resources. In 
the Mimbres Resource Area, the latter situation 
exists only in isolated tracts previously subject to 
Class III survey with negative results, or subject to 
total surface alteration in the past through natural 
or human forces. All unsurveyed portions of the 
Mimbres Resource Area can be expected to 
contain varying densities of cultural resources. 

A Class I inventory has been completed under a 
cooperative agreement with NMSU. Cultural 
resources in the Mimbres Resource Area were 
organized into five classes and subclasses which 
roughly parallel traditional Southwestern 
cultural/temporal distinctions: (1) Paleoindian, (2) 
Archaic, (3) Pueblo (Mogollon), (4) Historic, and 
(5) Unknown. These management classifications 
generalize broad, temporally-based classes of sites, 
allowing the development of long-term 
management strategies appropriate to a particular 
class. 



Approximately 3,000 cultural resource sites are 
presently recorded within the Mimbres Resource 
Area. Estimates on the total number of sites 
range from 50,000 to 100,000. Among the 
recorded and projected sites, a large percentage are 
probably eligible for inclusion in the National 
Register of Historic Places, primarily under 
Criterion "D". Two sites within the Mimbres 
Resource Area are currently listed on, or have 
been formally nominated to, the New Mexico State 
Register of Historic Properties. These are Fort 
Cummings and Cooke's Springhouse. None are on 
the National Register. 

Evaluation 

The management goal category system establishes 
long-term strategies for each of the five classes of 
cultural resources. These goal categories provide 
the basis for committing individual cultural 
resource sites or properties to a specific-use 
category. 

BLM evaluates cultural resources according to the 
use-category system. This category system is based 
on the consideration of actual or potential use of 
individual sites or properties and includes: (1) 
Current Scientific Use, (2) Potential Scientific Use, 
(3) Conservation for Future Use, (4) Management 
Use, (5) Socio-Cultural Use, (6) Public Use, and 
(7) Discharge Use. 

Cultural Resource Management Plans 

The Mimbres Resource Area is currently 
implementing the Organ Mountains Coordinated 
Resource Management Plan and the Fort 
Cummings and Butterfield Trail Cultural Resource 
Management Plans. Future plans would be 
developed for some of the ACECs identified in 
this RMP/EIS. 

Protection 

The Mimbres Resource Area protects cultural 
resources on a limited basis through the 
application of both administrative (such as off-road 
vehicle closure) and physical measures (such as 
fencing) as necessitated by the cultural resource's 
scientific and socio-cultural value, vulnerability, 
and degree of threat. Interim protection focuses 



2-29 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



primarily on the Patrol and Surveillance Plan, until 
specific cultural resource management objectives 
are developed. 

Mimbrcs Resource Area has implemented a formal 
Patrol and Surveillance Plan designed to protect 
major, well-known sites, investigate conditions of 
vandalism and natural forces in remote areas, and 
increase site inventories through site recordation 
during patrols. An active program of signing 
cultural resource properties under threat of active 
or potential vandalism will continue. These 
current management practices appear to have 
decreased the level of vandal-caused damage to 
specific sites, such as Fort Cummings, and have 
had positive effects throughout the Mimbres 
Resource Area. Vandalism appears to have 
stabilized at a level reduced from previous years. 

Resource Stabilization 

Although vandalism appears to have stabilized in 
recent years, extensive past vandalism is a primary 
cause in the rapid deterioration of the sites which 
are presently most endangered. 

Actions to stabilize degradation of ruins will be 
common to all RMP alternatives. These actions 
may involve physical measures to control erosion 
and arroyo cutting and acquisition of sterile fill 
from BLM sources for recontouring of damaged 
sites. Erosion control may average 10 acres of 
protective measures per year and recontouring may 
require an average of 2,000 cubic yards of fill 
annually. 

Appendix E provides further detail on cultural 
resources, inventory, goal systems, and use 
categories. 

Program Direction 

The legislative and regulatory framework cited at 
the beginning of this section is implemented in the 
field by the Mimbres Resource Area cultural 
resource program outlined above. The cultural 
resource program protects archaeological and 
historical properties from impacts through the 
Section 106 process of the NHPA and has evolved 
to also proactively manage significant properties 
on public land. In addition to the existing 
program, two elements of continuing management 



guidance need to be focused through planning and 
implemented through this RMP. These are 
inventory and nomination of sites to the National 
Register. 

Section 1 10 of the NHPA and ARPA as amended, 
state that it is the responsibility of each Federal 
agency to establish a program to locate, inventory, 
and nominate all properties under the agency's 
ownership or control that appear to qualify for 
inclusion in the National Register. The Mimbres 
Resource Area cultural resource program will meet 
its responsibilities to Section 110 by establishing a 
goal for completion of a 10-percent inventory over 
the 20-year life of the Plan. 

Although the 10-percent sample will be stratified 
across the entire Mimbres Resource Area, an 
initial focus will be in Hidalgo and Luna Counties 
and all cultural ACECs. This sample will provide 
comprehensive data which may be used to 
determine significance of sites and enable the BLM 
to make well-balanced decisions. An overall goal 
of the sample inventory will be to gather sufficient 
data to build a model of cultural processes which 
are reflected in site density and distribution for the 
Mimbres Resource Area. 

In addition, National Register nominations will be 
prepared on a regular basis. A goal of one 
nomination per year has been set. These actions 
will allow the cultural resources staff to make 
better informed decisions about the direct and 
indirect impacts on cultural resources. It will also 
significantly strengthen the current management 
approach for protection of cultural resource sites. 

Paleontology 

MANAGEMENT OF PALEONTOLOGICAL 
RESOURCES IN THE MIMBRES RESOURCE 
AREA IS BASICALLY DIRECTED BY THE 
FEDERAL LAND POLICY AND MANAGEMENT 
ACT OF 1976, INTERPRETATION OF VARIOUS 
OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTS, AND VARIOUS 
INSTRUCTION MEMORANDA. THROUGH 
THESE, THE BLM'S MANDATE IS TO MANAGE 
AND PROTECT FOSSIL RESOURCES THAT 
OCCUR ON THE PUBLIC LAND IT 
ADMINISTERS. THE BLM IS PRESENTLY 
INVOLVED IN A PROCESS TO DEVELOP 
SPECIFIC LEGISLATION AND A 



2-30 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



COMPREHENSIVE SET OF FEDERAL 
REGULATIONS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF 
PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES ON PUBLIC 
LAND. THIS EFFORT IS BEING 

COORDINATED BY BLM WITH THE 
COOPERATION OF THE U.S. FOREST 
SERVICE, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. 
GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, REPRESENTATD7ES 
OF VARIOUS STATE GOVERNMENTS, 
PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES, AND AMATEUR 
AND COMMERCIAL COLLECTORS. DRAFT 
REGULATIONS ARE EXPECTED TO BE 
COMPLETED IN 1994. PRESENTLY, 

PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES ARE 
MANAGED THROUGH THE ISSUANCE OF 
SCIENTIFIC USE PERMITS (FOR 
VERTEBRATE FOSSILS) BY THE BLM 
NEW MEXICO STATE OFFICE. 

THE FINALIZATION OF THESE REGULATIONS 
WILL NOT ALTER POLICY BASED ON OTHER 
PRE-EXISTING FORMS OF LEGISLATION AND 
REGULATION SUCH AS THE NATIONAL 
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT OF 1969 
(NEPA); THE WILDERNESS PRESERVATION 
ACT OF 1964; 40 CFR 1500; 43 CFR 1600, 2740, 
2800, 3000, AND 8224. 

UNTIL RECENTLY, PALEONTOLOGICAL 
RESOURCES IN THE MIMBRES RESOURCE 
AREA WERE GD7EN A LOW-LEVEL OF 
MANAGEMENT ATTENTION. THIS WAS 
BECAUSE IT WAS PERCED7ED THAT USE BY 
BOTH PROFESSIONAL RESEARCHERS AND 
HOBBY COLLECTORS HAD BEEN LIMITED IN 
COMPARISON TO OTHER REGIONS WHERE 
RESOURCE VISIBILITY WAS HIGH BECAUSE 
OF SCIENTIFIC INTEREST OR WHERE 
CONFLICTING LAND USES RAISED 
VERTEBRATE FOSSILS AS AN ISSUE. 
HOWEVER, IN REALITY, THIS IS A RESULT 
OF RESEARCHERS AND OTHER 
COLLECTORS NOT COMMUNICATING THEIR 
ACTD7ITIES TO EACH OTHER OR BLM. THE 
MIMBRES RESOURCE AREA DOES CONTAIN 
SIGNIFICANT FOSSIL AREAS IN NEED OF 
PROTECTION AND INTERPRETATION FOR 
THE PUBLIC, SUCH AS IN THE CASE OF THE 
PREHISTORIC TRACKWAYS IN THE 
ROBLEDO MOUNTAINS. 



THE EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT AND 
PROTECTION OF THESE RESOURCES 
DEPENDS ON SEVERAL ELEMENTS: (1) THE 
ABILITY OF THE BLM TO IDENTIFY THESE 
RESOURCES WHERE THEY OCCUR; (2) A 
PLANNING SYSTEM THAT PROVIDES A 
PROCESS FOR THE RESOLUTION OF 
CONFLICTS; AND (3) A COMPREHENSrVE SET 
OF REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES WHICH 
FOSTERS A SPIRIT OF COOPERATION AND 
INFORMED RESTRAINT AMONG PUBLIC 
LAND USERS. 

OBJECTD7ES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF 
PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES ARE: 

•IDENTIFY AND EVALUATE 
PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES SO 
THAT THEY MAY BE ADEQUATELY 
ADDRESSED THROUGH THE BLM'S 
PLANNING SYSTEM AND 
ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS 
DOCUMENTS. 

. DEVELOP AOTVTTY PLANS WHICH CARRY 
OUT THE OBJECTD7ES OF APPROVED 
LAND USE PLANS TO PROTECT THOSE 
PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES 
CONSIDERED TO BE OF SCIENTIFIC 
INTEREST. 

• PROVIDE FOR USES SUCH AS SCIENTIFIC 
COLLECTION AND RESEARCH, 
RECREATIONAL/HOBBY COLLECTING, 
AND EDUCATIONAL OR INTERPRETD7E 
ACTD7ITIES. 

• INCREASE THE AWARENESS OF FEDERAL 
LAND MANAGERS AND THE PUBLIC 
REGARDING PALEONTOLOGICAL 
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. 

• PROMOTE CONSISTENCY AMONG 
FEDERAL AGENCIES HAVING 
PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCE 
MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES AND 
FACILITATE THE EXCHANGE OF 
INFORMATION AMONG FEDERAL, STATE, 
AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND 
SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATIONS 



2-31 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



CONCERNED WITH THE MANAGEMENT, 
STUDY, AND PROTECTION OF THESE 
RESOURCES. 

• EVALUATE FOR PROTECTION, FOSSILS 
OF SCIENTIFIC INTEREST WHICH MAY 
OCCUR IN ASSOCIATION WITH ENERGY 
AND INDUSTRIAL MINERALS SUCH AS 
COAL, HUMATE, SAND AND GRAVEL, 
LIMESTONE, AND GYPSUM. 

• ACCORD THE PROTECTION PROVIDED 
UNDER LAW TO FOSSILS OF SCIENTIFIC 
INTEREST. 

RECREATION 

Recreation programs are managed according to 
multiple-use principles unless otherwise specified 
by law (such as FLPMA) or BLM policy. The 
objective of the program is to ensure the continued 
availability of quality outdoor recreation 
opportunities and experiences that are not readily 
available from other sources. Recreation use is 
managed in order to protect the health and safety 
of visitors; to protect natural, cultural, and other 
resource values; to stimulate public enjoyment of 
public land and to resolve user conflicts. The 
Recreation 2000 initiative places recent added 
emphasis on expanding and creating a more 
effective recreation program Bureauwide. 

A range of outdoor recreation opportunities such 
as backpacking, camping, sightseeing, hunting, 
climbing, picnicking, mountain biking, and 
motorcycling will continue to be provided for all 
segments of the public, commensurate with 
demand. Trails and other means of public access 
will continue to be maintained and developed 
where necessary to enhance recreation 
opportunities and allow public use. 

Developed Recreation 

Developed facilities exist only in the Organ 
Mountains. These include the Aguirre Spring 
Recreation Area, A. B. Cox Visitor Center, La 
Cueva Picnic Area, Pine Tree Trail, Baylor Pass 
Trail, Dripping Springs Natural Area Trail, and the 
Aguirre Spring Recreation Area Access Road. 



Management of these areas is outlined in the 
Organ Mountains Coordinated Resource 
Management Plan (BLM 1989). 

Dispersed Recreation 

Current management direction for dispersed 
recreation opportunities is provided for in the 
regulations and subsequent BLM manuals. The 
major form of dispersed recreation in the Resource 
Area is hunting. 

Motorized Recreation 

It is BLM policy (by Executive Order) that all 
public land be DESIGNATED as "open", "limited", 
or "closed" to motorized and nonmotorized vehicle 
use (see Appendix F-2). Public land in the 
Mimbres Resource Area is "open" to motorized 
vehicles unless an interim, standard, or emergency 
closure DESIGNATION is in effect or is needed to 
restrict or close areas to protect resources, reduce 
user conflicts, or enhance public safety. 

Scenic or Backcountry Byways 

BLM's program of DEDICATING certain roads as 
scenic or backcountry byways will continue. After 
designation, byway management implementation 
plans will be developed and the routes will be 
signed. Proposed roads include the following: 

• Aguirre Spring Recreation Area Road 

• Red Rock Road 

• Highway 81, Hachita to Mexican border 

• Antelope Pass (U.S. 80) 

• Highway 26, Deming to Hatch 

• Dripping Springs Road 

• Baylor Canyon Road 

Environmental assessments of nominations will be 
prepared on a case-by-case basis. 

Cave Inventory and Management 

An inventory of cave resources will be conducted, 
and caves will be managed in accordance with the 
Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988 
and related BLM policy. Significant cave locations 



2-32 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



would not be made public, and any actions which 
could adversely affect significant caves will be 
deferred or denied. BLM would take appropriate 
protection measures as needed. 

Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) 



WILL EVENTUALLY ALLOW CHANNEL AND 
BANK STABILIZATION THAT SHOULD 
SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE FISH HABITAT 
AND FISHING QUALITY. 

VISUAL RESOURCES 



The BLM utilizes the ROS as a framework for 
defining outdoor recreation opportunity 
environments. It is the management tool for 
inventory, planning, and administration of outdoor 
recreation resources on public land. A general 
description of the ROS classes is contained in 
Appendix F-2. 

Currently, ROS objectives have only been 
established within the Organ Mountains. Table 2- 
12 displays the public land acreages per ROS class. 
Additional ROS inventory is needed for the 
remainder of the Mimbres Resource Area and 
should be completed within the next 5 years. 

TABLE 2-12 

ROS CLASS MANAGEMENT ACREAGES 

IN THE ORGAN MOUNTAINS RECREATION LANDS 



OPPORTUNITY CLASS 

RURAL 

ROADED NATURAL 
SEMIPRIMITIVE MOTORIZED 
SEMIPRIMITIVE NONMOTORTIZED 



17 
5,860 

14,820 
6.470 

27,167 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Recreational Fishing 

THE BLM IS WORKING TO ENHANCE 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR FISHING ON PUBLIC 
LAND THROUGH THE RECREATIONAL 
FISHING INITLVTTVE, WHICH IS PART OF THE 
RECREATION 2000 INITIATIVE. 
RECREATIONAL FISHING OPPORTUNITIES IN 
THE RESOURCE AREA ARE LIMITED TO THE 
GILA RIVER AND THE RIO GRANDE. THERE 
IS SIGNIFICANT POTENTIAL TO IMPROVE 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR FISHING IN THESE 
AREAS THROUGH FISH HABITAT 
IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS, FACILITY 
DEVELOPMENT INCLUDING PARKING 

AREAS AND ACCESS ROUTES, AND LAND 
ACQUISITION. THE RECENT EXCLUSION OF 
LIVESTOCK FROM THE GILA LOWER BOX 



Visual resources will continue to be evaluated as 
part of resource management activity and project 
planning. A contrast rating process is used as a 
project assessment tool during environmental 
review of affected areas. Appropriate stipulations 
are established to ensure compatibility of the 
project with management objectives for visual 
resources. 

Management Objectives 

The BLM administers visual resources on public 
land according to four Visual Resource 
Management (VRM) Class objectives (see 
Appendix G for descriptions). Table 2-13 displays 
the total acreages by class of inventoried public 
and nonpublic lands. These constraints will remain 
in effect except where modified by management 
prescriptions for new ACECs. 

TABLE 2-13 

VISUAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ACREAGES 

WITHIN THE MIMBRES RESOURCE AREA 



CLASS 




ACREAGE 


VRM CLASS I 
VRM CLASS II 
VRM CLASS III 
VRM CLASS IV 


TOTAL 


8,709 

849,842 

648,004 

1,572,908 

3,079,463 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 



The VRM system will continue to be the basic tool 
for inventory, planning, and management of visual 
resources on public land. A visual contrast rating 
will be prepared for all projects proposed within 
highly sensitive areas and for potentially high 
impact projects, regardless of location. 

Congressionally designated areas are subject to 
Class I VRM guidelines. WSAs are subject to an 
interim Class II category. 



2-33 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 

WILDERNESS 

The 14 WSAs in the Mimbres Resource Area will 
be managed under Interim Management Policy and 
Guidelines for Land Under Wilderness Review 
(BLM 1987), until the area is either added to the 
National Wilderness Preservation System or 
removed from further wilderness consideration. If 
designated as wilderness, the area will be managed 
under the Wilderness Management Policy (BLM 
1981). If removed from further wilderness 
consideration, the area will be managed under the 
guidance prescribed by this RMP. BLM wilderness 
recommendations for the 14 WSAs plus the three 
areas in New Mexico that are administered by the 
Safford District are shown in Table 2-14 and on 
Map 2-2. 

Wilderness suitability recommendations for the 14 
existing WSAs were provided in the New Mexico 
Statewide Wilderness Study Final Environmental 
Impact Statement (BLM 1988) and will be 
unaffected by this RMP. The RMP will not 
address wilderness management of any areas 
designated by Congress as wilderness. Post- 
designation management will be detailed inseparate 
Wilderness Management Plans. The RMP will 
prescribe management for any of the 14 WSAs that 
are released from wilderness study by Congress. 

As changes in land ownership occur, newly 
acquired areas would be inventories and studied as 
necessary through the RMP process. 

SPECIAL STATUS SPECIES 

The Endangered Species Act requires that the 
BLM consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS) on all actions which may affect a 
special status species (and to confer for proposed 
species). 

BLM policy, as described in Manual 6840.06, for 
the endangered species program is to give priority 
to the protection and management of habitat for 
known populations of Federal or State listed 
species, to prevent the listing of Federal 
candidates, and to assist in recovery of listed 
species. 

Present management for Federal or State species 
consists of protecting and enhancing habitat and 



all proposed actions ARE EVALUATED for their 
potential impact on known populations of, or 
potential habitat for, listed or candidate species 
and to develop and implement recovery plans with 
objectives for listed species on public land. 
Conservation of habitat can be accomplished 
through special designations such as ACECs. The 
Organ Mountains Coordinated Resource 
Management Plan also provides specific 
management guidance for special status species 
within that area. Compliance with the Endangered 
Species Act (Section 7 Compliance) is required for 
all Federal actions regardless of land ownership. 
Other Coordinated Resource Management Plans 
and HMPs will include objectives and planned 
actions for the recovery of listed species within 
those areas, in accordance with recovery plan 
objectives. 

Inventory for Federal LISTED AND CANDIDATE 
SPECIES AND STATE ENDANGERED OR RARE 

species will continue, and monitoring programs 
will be implemented on known populations of 
THESE species. Where monitoring identifies 
threats to these populations, appropriate actions 
will be taken to protect the species and its habitat. 

RIPARIAN AND ARROYO 
HABITATS 

In 1987, the BLM adopted a formal riparian policy 
directed at achieving a healthy and productive 
ecological condition for public land riparian areas. 

Other laws and policies deal with wetlands, 
floodplains, and related areas which are 
encompassed by the term riparian. 

Riparian areas are defined as an area of land 
directly influenced by permanent water. They have 
visible vegetation or physical characteristics 
reflective of permanent water influence. Spring 
areas and streambanks are typical riparian areas. 
Ephemeral streams or washes that do not exhibit 
the presence of vegetation dependent upon free 
water in the soil are excluded. 

Riparian areas are extremely limited in size and 
extent throughout the desert Southwest. As such 
they are unique and extremely important, not only 
for many species of wildlife that are dependent on 
them, but also for maintenance of water quality, 



2-34 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



TABLE 2-14 

MIMBRES RESOURCE AREA 

WILDERNESS RECOMMENDATIONS 



WSA 



TOTAL 

BLM 
ACRES 


SUITABLE 
ACREAGE 


25,287 


25,287 


16,264 





932 





65,872 


45,374 


14,896 





14,911 





19,608 





6,699 


6,699 


22,336 





8,555 


5,835 


4,145 





2.791 





7,283 


7,283 


4,061 





12,946 





11,067 





157,185 


148,540 



NON 
SUITABLE 
ACREAGE 



Aden Lava Flow 

Alamo Hueco Mountains 

Apache Box* 

Big Hatchet Mountains 

Blue Creek 

Cedar Mountains 

Cooke's Range 

Cowboy Spring 

Florida Mountains 

Gila Lower Box 

Guadalupe Canyon* 

HOVERROCKER* 

Organ Mountains 

Peloncillo Mountains* 

Robledo Mountains 

Las Uvas Mountains 

West Potrillo Mountains 
and Mount Riley 

TOTAL 



382.909 



239.018 





16,264 

932 

20,498 

14,896 

14,911 

19,608 



22,336 

2,720 

4,145 

2.791 



4,061 

12,946 

11,067 

8,645 

153.029 



Source: BLM New Mexico Statewide Wilderness Study, Final Environmental Impact 
Statement, 1988. 



*Areas administered by the BLM Safford District. 



2-35 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



spring and stream flow, and forage production. 
Many of these small areas are in a degraded 
condition. Special management is needed to 
maintain or restore these important areas. 

Arroyo habitats associated with the many dry 
washes throughout the Resource Area are not 
considered riparian areas by definition. However, 
because of their unique and diverse vegetation 
which often occurs in stark contrast to surrounding 
desert areas, they are considered important areas 
which may require special management attention. 

Riparian areas will not be disposed of through sale 
or exchange unless disposal would be in the public 
interest. 

Suppression of wildfire in riparian habitats will 
have a high priority unless fire is a natural part of 
the ecosystem. Riparian areas which have burned 
will be rehabilitated as necessary through 
protection, reseeding or planting. 

Grazing management practices will be designed 
and established to meet riparian and water quality 
needs in the development of new AMPs and in the 
revision of existing AMPs. In those instances 
where management systems alone cannot meet 
objectives, provisions for fencing or other means of 
exclusion will be utilized. No livestock-related 
activities such as salting, feeding, construction of 
holding facilities, and stock driveways will be 
allowed to occur within riparian zones UNLESS 
SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED. 

Construction activities which remove or destroy 
riparian vegetation will be avoided. 

Minerals management actions and special 
stipulations or conditions will be designed to be 
compatible with riparian habitat management 
goals. Riparian buffer zones will be identified and 



provided for in the exploration and development of 
mineral resources. 

There will be no vegetation treatments in riparian 
areas using herbicides EXCEPT FOR SELECTED 
TREATMENT OF NON-NATrVE SPECIES SUCH 
AS SALT CEDAR. 

All new spring developments will be designed to 
protect riparian areas, while selected existing 
spring developments will be modified for the same 
reason. Where possible, and if the need exists for 
wildlife, PARTS OF RESERVOIRS WILL BE 
FENCED OR WATER FOR LrVESTOCK WILL 
BE PROVIDED AWAY FROM THE 
RESERVOIRS IN CONSULTATION WITH THE 
PERMITTEE. Wildlife habitat needs will be 
considered when reservoir site determinations are 
made. 

In the Mimbres Resource Area, the Gila River 
Coordinated Resource Management Plan (Lower 
Gila Box Riparian ACEC), the Organ Mountains 
Coordinated Resource Management Plan and the 
San Simon Cienega HMP provide specific guidance 
for management of riparian resources within those 
areas. Other special management areas such as the 
Placitas Arroyo Riparian Demonstration Area 
would also continue to be protected and managed 
for their riparian values. New activity plans would 
be developed on a case-by-case basis, as needed. 

Throughout the Mimbres Resource Area, riparian 
and arroyo habitat management would continue to 
be coordinated with other programs and activities 
as needed. Specific programs include Range, 
Wildlife, Watershed, Recreation, and Lands. 
Riparian and arroyo habitat values would be 
addressed in all surface and vegetation disturbing 
actions. Riparian areas would have a higher 
priority for funding, management, and protection 
than arroyo habitats. 



2-36 



THE PROPOSED PLAN 



THE PROPOSED PLAN IS ALTERNATE D 
FROM THE DRAFT RMP/EIS (THE RESOURCE 
CONSERVATION OR PREFERRED 
ALTERNATIVE IN THE DRAFT) MODIFIED AS 
A RESULT OF PUBLIC INPUT. THE 
PROPOSED PLAN attempts to resolve the 
planning issues by incorporating FEATURES OF 
THE OTHER ALTERNATIVES. 

ISSUES 

1. Land Ownership Adjustment 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, 156,460 acres of 
public land would be identified for disposal 
through R&PP, sale or exchange (see Map 2-3). 
Certain public land parcels are identified for 
disposal because of their location or other 
characteristics that make them difficult and 
uneconomic to manage; or their disposal would 
serve important public objectives, including but not 
limited to, expansion of communities and 
economic development. These areas are mainly on 
the East Mesa between Las Cruces and the Organ 
Mountains, the West Mesa, and isolated parcels in 
Grant County and northern Luna County. None 
of the areas identified for disposal are within an 
ACEC or other SMA. The existing decisions 
regarding disposal (as outlined in the Southern 
Rio Grande MFP Amendment) (BLM 1986) would 
be carried forward with slight modification. 
SEVEN sections of land adjacent to the proposed 
Organ Mountains National Conservation Area that 
were identified for disposal in the Southern 
Rio Grande MFP Amendment would not be 
disposed under THE PROPOSED PLAN (T. 22 S., 
R. 3 E., SECTIONS 16, 21, 28, AND 33; T. 23 S., 
R. 3 E., SECTION 33; T. 25 S., R. 3 E., SECTION 
35; AND T. 26 S., R. 5 E., SECTION 31.). 
Coordination would be made with the U.S. Forest 
Service (USFS) for reservation of easements on 
parcels adjacent to but not contiguous with Forest 
land as they are disposed. To facilitate orderly 
disposal on the East Mesa, two disposal zones 
would be delineated: 



• First priority for disposal would be public 
land west of a north-south line 1 mile east 
of the boundary between R. 2 E. and 
R. 3E. 

• Second priority for disposal would be public 
land east of the line described above. 

All public land not identified for disposal would be 
managed in accordance with the provisions of 
Section 102(a) of FLPMA (2,896,080 acres). See 
Map 2-3. No public land contiguous to USFS land 
would be disposed regardless of parcel size, and no 
public land within ACECs and other SMAs would 
be disposed. Public land may be disposed of 
through exchange in order to consolidate other 
public land outside of disposal areas. Only lands 
within DISPOSAL areas will be exchanged for 
lands outside the Resource Area. 

Under this alternative, 93,110 acres of State trust 
land and 56,210 acres of private land would be 
identified for potential acquisition. All State trust 
land and private land would be acquired within 
ACECs and other SMAs THROUGH EXCHANGE 
OR PURCHASE AT FAIR MARKET VALUE, 
PROVIDED THAT THE LANDOWNER IS IN 
AGREEMENT WITH SUCH ACQUISITION. 
Picacho Peak would also be identified for potential 
acquisition. If acquired, Picacho Peak might have 
ACEC potential, so the area would be managed 
under temporary special management until a 
decision is made in an RMP Amendment or 
Revision. The temporary special management 
would include the following: 

• Exclude ROW authorizations 

• Manage as VRM Class II 

• Limit vehicles to designated roads and trails 

• Close to mineral material sales 



2-37 



PROPOSED PLAN 



2. ACECs and Other SMAs 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, 21 areas would be 
designated as ACECs. The total acreage of the 
ACECs would be 183,180 acres. Table 2-15 lists 
the ACECs with their acreages and resource values 
and Map 2-4 shows the locations of the proposed 
ACECs. Appendix H-l contains a general 
description, management goals, planned actions, 
and a map for each ACEC. 

UNDER THE PROPOSED PLAN, FOUR AREAS 
WOULD BE DESIGNATED OR MAINTAINED 
AS RESEARCH NATURAL AREAS (RNAs). THE 
TOTAL ACREAGE WOULD BE 17,870 ACRES. 
SEE MAP 2-4. THESE AREAS ARE: 

• ADEN LAVA FLOW (3,930 ACRES) 

• ANTELOPE PASS (8,710 ACRES) 

• LORDSBURG PLAYA (4,510 ACRES) 

• PALEOZOIC TRACKWAYS (720 ACRES) 

IN ADDITION, THE KILBOURNE HOLE 
NATIONAL NATURAL LANDMARK (NNL) 
WOULD REMAIN AS AN NNL (5,480 ACRES). 
SEE MAP 2-4. ALSO, SEE APPENDIX H-3. 

The Butterfield Trail CORRIDOR (15,690 acres) 
would be designated and managed for historical 
resources. The Continental Divide National Scenic 
Trail CORRIDOR (48,450 acres) would be 
designated and managed for scenic resources. 
These trails are shown on Map 2-5 and discussed 
in Appendix H-2. The trails would be managed in 
accordance with the management prescriptions in 
Appendix H-2. 

VALID EXISTING RIGHTS WOULD BE 
RECOGNIZED WITHIN THESE AREAS AND 
WOULD NOT BE RESTRICTED UNLESS 
SPECIFICALLY STATED IN THE 
MANAGEMENT PRESCRIPTIONS FOR EACH 
ACEC OR SMA. 



• Apache Box (6,300 acres) 

• Pefla Blanca (4,470 acres) 

Appendix I contains the Wilderness Inventory 
Reports. 

The Gila Lower Box (2,480 acres) and the Gila 
Middle Box (760 acres) (see Map 2-6) would be 
designated as Wild and Scenic River study areas. 
Appendix J contains the Wild and Scenic River 
INVENTORY SUMMARY. 

3. Vehicle Management 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, vehicle 
designations would be made for the entire 
Resource Area as follows: 

• Open: 16,190 acres 

• Limited to existing roads and trails: 

2,371,630 acres 

• Limited to designated roads and trails: 
532,530 acres 

• Closed: 133,470 acres 

These areas are shown on Map 2-7. 

The areas open to vehicle use would be the Aden 
Hills Open Area (8,700 acres) and the Lordsburg 
Playa Open Area (7,490 acres). The support needs 
for these areas would include a Class 3 cultural 
survey. The areas limited to designated roads and 
trails for vehicle use would be all SMAs not 
designated closed and the Broad Canyon 
competitive motorcycle race area. The areas 
closed to vehicle use would be the Mexican border 
area (89,180 acres), portions of the Organ/Franklin 
Mountains, Big Hatchet Mountains, and Florida 
Mountains ACECs (18,900 acres), and the 
following SEVEN SMAs (18,280 acres): 



The following four areas, totalling 33,280 acres, 
WOULD BE DESIGNATED AS WILDERNESS 
STUDY AREAS (WSAs) (see Map 2-6). These 
areas WOULD be managed according to the 
Bureau's Interim Management Guidelines for areas 
studied under Section 202 of FLPMA until the 
study is complete, and the areas are either 
designated as wilderness or released by Congress. 

• Organ Needles (7,630 acres) 

• Gray Peak (14,678 acres) 



• Apache Box ACEC 

• Bear Creek ACEC 

• Gila Lower Box ACEC 

• Gila Middle Box ACEC 

• Lordsburg Playa RNA 

• Old Town ACEC 

• Uvas Valley ACEC 



2-38 




R.22W. 21 20 19 18 17 16 




MAP 2-4 

AREAS OF CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 

CONCERN, RESEARCH NATURAL AREAS, AND 

NATIONAL NATURAL LANDMARK 

PROPOSED PLAN 



GUADALUPE CANYON ACEC 




LAS CRUCES DISTRICT 

MIMBRES RESOURCE AREA 

MAP 2-6 

WILD AND SCENIC RIVER AND WILDERNESS 
ADDITIONS, PROPOSED PLAN 



Legend 

Wilderness Inventory Unit WIU 
Wild and Scenic River W & SR 




MAP 2-7 

VEHICLE DESIGNATIONS, PROPOSED PLAN 





Legend 




Existing 




^^ 


Designated 




^^ 


Open 




■■ 


Closed 




■H 



TABLE 2-15 
ACECs - PROPOSED PLAN 



PROPOSED PLAN 



ACEC 



ACRES 



VALUES 



Alamo Hueco Mountains 

Apache Box 

Bear Creek 

Big Hatchet Mountains 

Central Peloncillo Mountains 

Cooke's Range 

Cowboy Spring 

Dofla Ana Mountains 

Florida Mountains 

Gila Lower Box 

Gila Middle Box 

Granite Gap 

Guadalupe Canyon 

Los Tules 

Northern Peloncillo Mountains 

Old Town 

Organ/Franklin Mountains 

Rincon 

Robledo Mountains 

San Diego Mountain 

Uvas Valley 



13,020 

2,630 

1,480 

29,180 

12,750 

17,160 

6,740 

1,490 

15,660 

6,490 

840 

1,750 

4,170 

20 

760 

320 

56,480 

840 

9,190 

640 

1,600 



B,S,C,P,SS 

B,S,C,SS,RIP 

RIP 

B,S,SS 

B,S,RES,SS 

B,S,C,H 

B,SS 

B,S,C 

S,B 

SS,RIP 

SS,RIP 

B,S,SS 

B,SS,RIP 

C 

B,SS 

C 

B,S,C,SS,RIP 

C 

B,S 

C 

B 



TOTAL ACRES 



183,180 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Notes: B = Biological; S = Scenic; G = Geological; RES = Research; C = Cultural; 
P = Paleontological; SS = Special Status Species; RIP = Riparian; 
H = Historical 



2-39 



PROPOSED PLAN 



All other areas would be limited to existing roads 
and trails for vehicle use. EXISTING ROADS 
AND TRAILS ARE DEFINED AS THOSE IN 
EXISTENCE AT THE TIME OF THE 
DESIGNATION. 



Cowboy Spring WSA/ACEC and to the 
Gillespie Peak area. Develop physical access 
for vehicular use to the north end of Animas 
Mountains from State Road 9. 



ANY ROADS OR TRAILS CREATED BY THE 
PASSAGE OF VEHICLES AFTER THIS DATE 
WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED OPEN AND 
WOULD BE SUBJECT TO CLOSURE. 

Exceptions to the vehicle designations may be 
permitted in writing. Exceptions would be made 
for public health and safety such as law 
enforcement and search and rescue, especially 
along the INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY 
Exceptions for mining operations would be 
addressed in Plan of Operations, notices, permits, 
and sales. Exceptions would be made for livestock 
grazing permittees for emergencies such as 
emergency feeding, rescue of sick livestock, and 
emergency fence repairs along the 
INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY. Notice would be 
required TO THE BLM FROM THE USER within 
2 working days AFTER such use. The Border 
Patrol would be notified immediately for fence 
repairs along the INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY. 
Other exceptions may be permitted in writing for 
activities such as fence repairs and dirt tank 
maintenance. 

4. Access 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, access would be 
developed to 19 areas by building new roads, land 
ownership adjustment, OR easement acquisition. 
Emphasis would be on vehicular or pedestrian 
access depending on the area and resource 
conflicts. TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, 
DEVELOPMENT OF ACCESS WOULD BE 
ACCOMPLISHED WITH THE COOPERATION 
OF ADJACENT LANDOWNERS AND 
PERMITTEES. The areas are shown on Map 2-8 
and are listed below (the numbers in parentheses 
are referenced on the map): 

Alamo Hueco Mountains (24) - Acquire legal 
public access for vehicular use to the north 
boundary of the WSA/ACEC. 

Animas Mountains (14) - Acquire legal public 
access for vehicular use to the boundary of 



Apache Box (1) - Acquire legal public access 
to the boundary (gate). 



Bear Creek (2) 
access. 



Acquire administrative 



Big Hatchets (23) - Acquire legal public access 
for vehicular use to the north, east, and west 
boundaries of the WSA/ACEC (Chaney, 
Thompson, and Sheridan Canyons). 

Burro Mountains (6) - Acquire legal public 
access for vehicular use (north and south of 
Gila River). 

Cedar Mountains (20) - Acquire legal public 
access for vehicular use to the boundary of the 
WSA/ACEC on the north and west sides. 

Community Pit No. 1 (36) - Acquire legal 
access from Shalem Colony Road to public 
land (approximately Jj mile). 

Cooke's Peak (26) - Acquire legal public 
access for vehicular use on east side (Hadley 
Draw) and west side (north of Provinger 
Canyon). 

Florida Mountains (28) - Acquire legal public 
access for vehicular use to the boundary of the 
WSA/ACEC on the south, east, and west sides 
(Copper Kettle Canyon, Byer's Spring, and 
Mahoney Canyon). 

Gila Lower Box (5) - Acquire legal public 
access for vehicular use to the mouth of 
Nichol's Canyon, Fisherman's Point, and north 
side. 

Gila Middle Box (4) - Acquire legal public 
access to the boundary on UPSTREAM OR 
downstream side. 

Little Hatchets (19) - Acquire legal public 
access for vehicular access on the EAST AND 



2-40 



WEST SIDES (TO MAINTAIN PRESENT 
PHYSICAL ACCESS). 

Organ Mountains (38) - Acquire legal public 
access for vehicular use south of Soledad 
Canyon through Anderson, Price, et al. 

Peloncillo Mountains (13) - Acquire legal 
public access for vehicular use to the mouth of 
Owl Canyon (west side) and north of 1-10. 

Pyramids (8) - Acquire legal public access for 
vehicular use into Rockhouse Canyon and 
southeast part of the Pyramids. 

Robledo Mountains (35) - Acquire legal public 
access across private land for vehicular use on 
the north end (via Fred Huff Road or 
Faulkner Canyon). 

San Simon Cienega (9) - Acquire legal public 
access to north end. 

West Potrillo Mountains (40) - Acquire legal 
public access to north and west sides. 

The following criteria would guide prioritization of 
the areas for access development: 

• Public demand 

• Administrative needs 

• Resource values/conflicts 

• Availability of existing access 

SPECIFIC ACCESS ROUTES OR METHODS OF 
DEVELOPING ACCESS WOULD BE 
IDENTIFIED IN THE ROUTE ANALYSIS 
WHICH WOULD BE COMPLETED FOR EACH 
INDIVIDUAL AREA AFTER APPROVAL OF THE 
RMP. THIS PROCESS WOULD BE 

COORDINATED WITH ADJACENT 
LANDOWNERS AND PERMITTEES. 

PRIOR TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF ACCESS 
INTO ANY OF THE ABOVE AREAS, A SIGNING 
AND PATROL PLAN WILL BE DEVELOPED TO 
ADDRESS POTENTIAL PROBLEMS RELATED 
TO TRESPASS ONTO PRD7ATE LAND, 
LITTERING, AND VANDALISM. 



PROPOSED PLAN 

MANAGEMENT CONCERNS 

1. ROWs 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, ROW exclusion 
areas would be established for 264,870 acres and 
avoidance areas would be established for 783,400 
acres. (See Glossary for definitions of ROW 
exclusion areas and ROW avoidance areas.) ROW 
exclusion areas would be all ACECs, RNAs, AND 
NNL. ROW avoidance areas would be the 
following: 

• Continental Divide National Scenic Trail 

• Butterfield Trail 

• Bighorn sheep areas 

• VRM Class II areas 

The remainder of the Resource Area would be 
open to the location of ROWs, subject to standard 
stipulations (1,970,180 acres). Map 2-9 shows the 
location of the ROW exclusion and avoidance 



The BLM would encourage new facilities to be 
located near existing sites or in existing corridors. 
For existing corridors within ROW exclusion areas, 
existing uses would be grandfathered and new uses 
allowed only within existing corridors. 

The following special stipulations would apply TO 
NEW FACILITIES within avoidance areas under 
Alternative D: 

• Facilities would not be located parallel to the 
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail or 
Butterfield Trail within avoidance areas. 

• Facilities would not be located within \ mile 
of any stage station on the Butterfield Trail. 

• Facilities would not be located in riparian 
areas. 

• Access routes would be limited and 
considered on a case-by-case basis. In some 
cases, construction and maintenance activities 
would need to be done aerially. 



2-41 



PROPOSED PLAN 



NEW LINEAR ROWS THAT TERMINATE ON 
PRIVATE INHOLDINGS WITHIN AN 
EXCLUSION AREA MAY BE AUTHORIZED 
WITHIN AN EXCLUSION AREA IF NO OTHER 
REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE EXISTS. 
SPECIAL STIPULATIONS FOR AVOIDANCE 
AREAS WOULD ALSO APPLY TO THESE 
AUTHORIZATIONS. EXISTING ROWS WITHIN 
EXCLUSION AREAS ARE RECOGNIZED AS 
GRANDFATHERED AND OPERATION, 
MAINTENANCE, AND RENEWAL OF THESE 
FACILITIES WOULD BE ALLOWED TO 
CONTINUE WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE ROW 
GRANT. 

2. Minerals 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, the following 
areas, totalling 64,000 acres, would be 
PETITIONED FOR WITHDRAWAL from 
locatable mineral entry (see Map 2-10): 



standard terms and conditions: oil and gas, 
3,532,300 acres; and geothermal and nonenergy 
leasables, 3,499,500 acres. 

The following mitigating measures would be 
applied to lands open to locatable (under Plan of 
Operations only), saleable, or leasable mineral 
entry: 

• Riparian areas would not be disturbed. 

• Activities on critical soils on slopes over 20 
percent would require special mitigation. 

3. Recreation 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, the following new 
SRMAs would be designated (see Map 2-12): 

• Dofla Ana Mountains 

• Fort Cummings 



• Apache Box ACEC 

• Guadalupe Canyon ACEC 

• Organ/Franklin Mountains ACEC 

• Paleozoic Trackways RNA 

The remainder of the Resource Area would be 
open to locatable mineral entry, subject to 
standard mitigating measures. 

Under this alternative, all ACECs, RNAs AND 
NNL and the Butterfield and Continental Divide 
National Scenic Trails would be closed to mineral 
material disposal (331,950 acres). See Map 2-11. 
The remainder of the Resource Area would be 
open to mineral material disposal, subject to 
standard stipulations. A competitive sale program 
would be established; the site(s) would be 
determined later based on mineral surveys and 
would probably be within 10 miles of Las Cruces. 
Miscellaneous negotiated sales would be continued. 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, 266,950 acres 
would be closed to fluid mineral leasing (see Map 
2-11). This would include all ACECs, RNAs, AND 
NNL, in addition to the existing closed areas. The 
current stipulations for fluid mineral leasing would 
continue (274,000 acres). About 65,000 acres 
would be open to leasing with no surface 
occupancy. The remainder of the Resource Area 
would be open to mineral leasing, subject to 



A RECREATION AREA MANAGEMENT PLAN 
(RAMP) would be prepared for the Doha Ana 
Mountains SRMA. The Fort Cummings SRMA 
would be managed in accordance with the existing 
Cultural Resource Management Plan. 

Management of the two existing SRMAs would 
continue. The Organ Mountains SRMA would 
continue to be managed in accordance with the 
Organ Mountains Coordinated Resource 
Management Plan and the Gila Lower Box SRMA 
would continue to be managed in accordance with 
the Gila River Coordinated Resource Management 
Plan. 

The focus of interpretive and educational efforts 
would be on ACECs or RNAs where this is part of 
the management prescription for the AREA (see 
Appendix H). 

The remainder of the Resource Area would be 
managed primarily for dispersed recreation 
opportunities. 

4. Cultural and Paleontological Resources 

The following objectives and actions would be 
implemented to resolve the cultural and 
paleontological resources management concern: 



2-42 




MAP 2-9 

ROW AVOIDANCE/EXCLUSION AREAS, 
PROPOSED PLAN 





Legend 




Avoidance 




■■ 


Exclusion 







R.22W. 21 20 




MAP 2-11 

LEASABLE AND SALABLE MINERALS- 
CLOSED 
PROPOSED PLAN 




MAP 2-12 

RECREATION - SPECIAL RECREATION 
MANAGEMENT AREAS, PROPOSED PLAN 



PROPOSED PLAN 



• Manage for information potential (data 
retrieval, research) 

• Manage for public values (interpret) 

• Manage for conservation (future use) 

Table 2-16 identifies the actions that would be 
implemented to achieve each objective. - 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, the following 
cultural and paleontological areas would be 
designated as ACECs OR RNAs (see Issue 2, 
ACECs and Other SMAs): 

• Alamo Hueco Mountains ACEC 

• Apache Box ACEC 

• Cooke's Range ACEC 

• Doha Ana Mountains ACEC 

• Los Tules ACEC 

• Old Town ACEC 

• Organ/Franklin Mountains ACEC 

• Paleozoic Trackways RNA 

• Rincon ACEC 

• Robledo Mountains ACEC 

• San Diego Mountain ACEC 

EACH AREA would be managed in accordance 
with the management prescriptions listed in 
Appendix H. Interpretation for tourism would be 
provided at Fort Cummings (Cooke's Range 
ACEC), the Massacre Peak Petroglyphs (Cooke's 
Range ACEC), and the Paleozoic Trackways RNA, 
with emphasis on passive interpretation such as 
signing. 

The Butterfield Trail (15,690 acres) would be 
designated as AN historic trail and managed for its 
historical resource values (see Issue 2, ACECs and 
Other SMAs). Interpretation for tourism would be 
provided at the Butterfield Trail stage stops, with 
emphasis on facilities for interpretation. 

Site management in the Organ Mountains 
(Organ/Franklin Mountains ACEC), at Fort 
Cummings (Cooke's Range ACEC), and along the 
Butterfield Trail would continue in accordance 
with the existing Coordinated or Cultural Resource 
Management Plans for those areas. 



5. Wildlife Habitat 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, new HMPs would 
be developed in the Columbus area, the Cooke's 
Range/Nutt area, the Robledo Mountains, the 
Uvas Mountains, the Cedar Mountains, and the 
West Potrillo Mountains (see Map 2-13). Table 2- 
17 lists these areas with the priority species, 
objectives, population goals, and actions. 
Management of existing HMPs would continue. 

IT IS INTENDED THAT POPULATION GOALS 
CAN BE REACHED WITHOUT REDUCTION OF 
LrVESTOCK NUMBERS (THROUGH GRAZING 
MANAGEMENT AND LAND TREATMENTS.) 
POPULATION GOALS MAY BE REVISED AS 
NECESSARY THROUGH THE HMP 
MONITORING AND EVALUATION PROCESS. 

All HMPs would incorporate the following: 

• Obtain production (population) data to 
correlate with monitoring (at a minimum, 
harvest information by area) 

• Monitoring emphasis would be on preferred 
habitats for wildlife 



Monitoring would incorporate 
utilization/condition/trend 



browse 



Animal damage control (ADC) actions would be 
conducted in accordance with annual ADC plans. 
The plan would consider SMAs (such as WSAs, 
ACECs) specifying times and conditions for 
control activities in accordance with management 
prescriptions, objectives, and goals for each area. 

6. Soil, Air, and Water 

The objective of the watershed management 
program would be to reduce soil erosion and 
improve water quality (nonpoint source pollution), 
with emphasis on critical soil areas. Critical soils 
on 0-10 percent slopes would be first priority for 
land treatments and grazing management to reduce 
erosion and improve water quality. Critical soils 
on slopes over 10 percent would be A priority for 
grazing management to reduce erosion and 
improve water quality. 



2-43 



PROPOSED PLAN 



Watershed management plans would be developed 
for the following areas: 

• Starvation/China Draw (southeast side of 
Cooke's Range) 

• NORTH SIDE OF CEDAR MOUNTAINS 

• Alamo Hueco/Big Hatchet Mountains (east 
side) 

• Corralitos 

• Gila River (Virden to Middle Box, north and 
south; would include provisions of existing 
Gila River Coordinated Resource 
Management Plan) 

• Rincon/Hatch (both sides of river) 

• Pyramids 

• Uvas Valley 

The criteria for identification of the areas include 
nonpoint source impaired watersheds, vegetation, 
slope, and critical soils. The locations of the areas 
are shown on Map 2-14. 

The focus for management of air quality and 
efforts to secure guaranteed instream flow would 
be in ACECs where this is part of the management 
prescription for the ACEC (see Appendix H-l). 

Provisions for erosion control and air quality 
protection would continue to be incorporated into 
all surface-disturbing actions'! 

7. Vegetation 

Vegetation Sale Areas 

The existing sale areas would be retained UNTIL 
THE SUPPLY OF PLANTS IS EXHAUSTED and 
THEN EXPANDED into adjacent lands identified 
for disposal. A new sale area would be developed 
between Deming and Lordsburg. 

Desired Plant Communities 

The desired plant community concept is defined as 
a plant community that produces the kind, 
proportion, and amount of vegetation necessary for 
meeting or exceeding the land use plan goals and 
activity plan objectives established for the site. 
The desired plant community becomes the 
vegetation management objective for the site. The 
desired plant community must be consistent with 
the site's capability to produce the identified 



community through land treatments such as 
prescribed fire and chemical brush control and 
prescribed grazing management. UNDER THE 
PROPOSED PLAN, GRAZING SYSTEMS 
WOULD BE DEVELOPED USING FORAGE 
UTILIZATION CRITERIA FOR IMPORTANT 
FORAGE SPECIES AS OUTLINED IN 
APPENDIX C-3. FLEXIBILITY WOULD BE 
PROVIDED FOR PERMITTEES AND LESSEES 
TO DEVIATE FROM THESE CRITERIA WHERE 
SPECIFIED IN ALLOTMENT-SPECIFIC PLANS 
WHICH PRESCRIBE DIFFERENT USE LEVELS 
OR DIFFERENT MEANS OF EVALUATING 
ALLOTMENT OBJECTIVES. 

TABLE 2-18 CONTAINS THE DESIRED PLANT 
COMMUNITY OBJEOTVES FOR MAJOR 
VEGETATION TYPES IN THE RESOURCE 
AREA. APPENDIX D CONTAINS A MORE 
DETAILED DISCUSSION OF THE DESIRED 
PLANT COMMUNITY CONCEPT. MAPS 
SHOWING DESIRED PLANT COMMUNITIES 
ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW IN THE 
MIMBRES RESOURCE AREA OFFICE. 

Land Treatments 

Grass upland areas would be treated mainly 
through prescribed grazing management (grazing 
systems). Grass bottomlands, mixed desert shrub 
(>10 percent slope), snakeweed, and mountain 
brush types would be treated using combinations of 
prescribed burning, prescribed natural fire, and 
prescribed grazing management. Creosotebush, 
mesquite, and mixed desert shrub (<10 percent 
slope) would be treated almost entirely by the use 
of chemical herbicides such as pelleted 
Tebuthiuron. Usually only areas 2 sections in size 
or greater (1,240 acres) would be treated. Areas 
over 10 percent slope and within H MILE of a 
perennial stream would not be treated chemically. 
The use of chemical treatments is presently 
excluded on the following range sites: bottomland, 
draw, clay, salt flats, salty bottomland, igneous 
hills, limestone hills, malpais, and breaks. These 
are USUALLY found in low-lying areas WITH 
HEAVIER SOILS or in areas over 10 percent 
slope. THE ABOVE CRITERIA MAY CHANGE 
AS NEW CHEMICALS BECOME AVAILABLE. 
Prescribed fire or prescribed grazing management 
would be used to maintain these areas to the 
extent possible. Fire suppression would play a 



2-44 




MAP 2-13 

EXISTING AND PROPOSED WILDLIFE HABITAT 

MANAGEMENT PLAN (HMP) AREAS, 

PROPOSED PLAN 



19 18 




MAP 2-14 

PROPOSED WATERSHED MANAGEMENT PLANS, 
PROPOSED PLAN 



PROPOSED PLAN 



TABLE 2-16 

MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES ACHIEVED BY PLANNED ACTIONS 

PROPOSED PLAN 



ACTIONS 



INFORMATION 



PUBLIC VALUES CONSERVATION 



Eliminate livestock grazing 
(Old Town, Fort Cummings, 
and Dripping Springs Natural Area 
in accordance with Cultural 
Resource Management Plans and 
ACEC management prescriptions). 

Class III inventories (Fort 
Cummings, San Diego Mountain, 
Pony Hills, and Rincon ACECs). 

Research historic trails and 
roads (Camino Real, Santa Rita 
Copper Trail, Spanish exploration 
routes, and historic wagon roads). 

Research historic mining features 
(Town of Cooke, Jose, Stephenson- 
Bennett, Modoc, Tres Hermanas, 
Pyramids, Pinos Altos, Peloncillos, 
Floridas, Town of Carlise/Summit). 

Research/field schools (Old Town, 
Bruton Bead, Indian Basin, 
East Potrillo, South Florida, 
Camp Cody sites). 

Restrict public access to the 
following rockshelters: 
Apache Box, Apache Cave, 
Stein's Cave and elsewhere 
as needed. 

Acquire Butterfield Trail 
stage stations 

Manage Old Town/Pony Hills 
sites in accordance with 
Mimbres Culture NATIONAL MONUMENT 
legislation if it is passed. 

Close road to Bruton 
Bead site. 

Fence/cover with sterile 
fill the Los Tules site. 

Transfer BLM portion of 
Redrock cemetery to NPS (ONLY 
IF THEY ACQUIRE PRIVATE LAND PORTION). 

Implement provisions of 
Paleozoic Trackways 
Study legislation. 

Encourage paleontological 
studies of Robledo 
Mountains, Aden Lava 
Flow, and Alamo Hueco 
Mountains. 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 



2-45 



PROPOSED PLAN 



TABLE 2-17 
WILDLIFE HMPs 
PROPOSED PLAN 



HMP AREA 


PRIORITY 
SPECIES 


POPULATION 
OBJECTIVES GOALS 

(MINIMUM) 


ACTIONS 


Columbus 


Antelope-' 


Transplant/ 
introduce 


50 


Fence modification. 
Reserve 50 AUMs 
forage. 


Cooke's Range/Nutt 


Deer/Antelope 2 ' 


Deer; improve 
habitat 

Antelope: trans- 
plant/introduce 


Deer: 400 
Antelope: 100 


Fence modification. 
Water development. 
Prescribed burning. 


Robledo Mountains 


Deer/An telope^' 
UPLAND GAME 


Deer: improve 
habitat 

Antelope: trans- 
plant/introduce 
UPLAND GAME; IM- 
PROVE AND ENHANCE 
HABITAT 


Deer: 400 
Antelope: 50 


Fence modification. 
Water development. 


Las Uvas Mountains 


Deer 


Improve habitat 


300 


Water development. 


Cedar Mountains 


Deer/Antelope*' 
UPLAND GAME 


Deer: improve 
habitat 

Antelope: trans- 
plant/introduce 
UPLAND GAME: IM- 
PROVE AND ENHANCE 
HABITAT 


Deer: 300 
Antelope: 100 


Fence modification. 
Water development. 


West Potrillo 
Mountains 


Deer/UPLAND GAME 


Deer: improve 
habitat 

UPLAND GAME: IM- 
PROVE AND ENHANCE 
HABITAT 


Deer: 300 


Water development. 
Exclosures near 
water. 


Organ/Franklin 
Mountains-' 


Deer/Bighorn 




Deer: 500 
Bighorn: 100 


Prescribed burning. 
Water development. 


Florida Mountains^' 


Deer/IBEX 
UPLAND GAME 


UPLAND GAME: IM- 
PROVE AND ENHANCE 
HABITAT 


Deer: 500 
Ibex: 400 


Prescribed burning. 
Water development. 


Big Hatchet/AJamo 
Hueco Mountains^' 


Bighorn/Deer 
UPLAND GAME 


UPLAND GAME:IM- 
PROVE AND ENHANCE 
HABITAT 


Bighorn: 250 
Deer: 500 


Prescribed burning. 
Fence modification. 


Peloncillo Mountains-' 


Bighorn/Deer 




Bighorn: 250 
Deer: 750 


Fence modification. 



Source: BLM Files, 1990, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, 1990. 

Notes: a/Antelope objectives and goals contingent on habitat inventory. 

b/Existing HMP. POPULATION GOALS FOR THESE HMPs WERE ESTABLISHED AT THE TIME THE HMPs WERE 
DEVELOPED. 



2-46 



PROPOSED PLAN 



major role in maintaining pinyon-juniper, oak 
woodland, and conifer types, except where 
prescribed natural fires may benefit these areas 
(such as low intensity ground fires where scorch 
heights are low enough to prevent damage to 
trees). Table 2-19 summarizes land treatments for 
specific plant communities. See Maps 2-15 AND 
2-16. 

All areas treated by prescribed burning, prescribed 
natural fire or chemical herbicides would be rested 
from grazing for at least TWO growing seasons in 
areas where livestock use occurs. Exceptions 
would be in grass bottomlands where grazing 
would be allowed after 4 inches of regrowth OR 
AS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED. Any increase in 
forage would be reserved for livestock, wildlife, and 
watershed in accordance with management goals, 
objectives, and prescriptions for wildlife HMPs, 
livestock AMPs or OTHER grazing activity plans, 
and watershed activity plans for specific areas. 
Prescribed burn plans and EAs would be 
developed for specific areas prior to the use of 
prescribed burning or prescribed natural fires. 
Treatment plans and EAs would be prepared for 
specific chemical treatment areas prior to herbicide 
application. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS 
CONTAINED IN THE FINAL EIS VEGETATION 
TREATMENT ON BLM LANDS IN THIRTEEN 
WESTERN STATES (BLM 1991). 

Livestock Grazing 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, livestock grazing 
would be eliminated on a total of 8,026 acres, 
including the Red Rock Game Farm (1,100 acres), 
the Central Peloncillo Mountains ACEC (4,446 
acres IN THE SCHOLES ALLOTMENT AND 
OWL CANYON), the proposed Bear Creek ACEC 
(1,480 acres), and PORTIONS OF the Organ 
Mountains (1,000 acres). ALL AREAS EXCEPT 
FOR BEAR CREEK ARE PRESENTLY 
EXCLUDED FROM LD/ESTOCK GRAZING. 

Fragile Lands 

The fragile land areas SHOWN on Map 2-17 would 
receive high priority for AMP or other activity 
plan revision or development, allotment 
monitoring, land treatments, allotment 
recategorization, and possible reduction or 
exclusion of surface disturbing activities including 



range improvement development and livestock 
grazing use. Efforts would be directed towards 
improving range condition and reaching desired 
plant community objectives within these areas. 
Fragile land areas within ACECs would receive the 
highest priority for improved management. 

8. Riparian and Arroyo Habitat 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, riparian habitat in 
the following areas would be included in the 
ACEC designations proposed under Issue 2, 
ACECs and Other SMAs: 

• Apache Box 

• Bear Creek 

• Gila Lower Box 

• Gila Middle Box 

• Guadalupe Canyon 

• Organ/Franklin Mountains 

The ACECs would be managed in accordance with 
the management prescriptions listed in Appendix 
H-l. 

Management of the riparian resources in the Gila 
Lower Box, the Organ Mountains, and the San 
Simon Cienega would continue in accordance with 
the existing management plans for those area. 
Instream flows for the Gila Lower and Middle Box 
ACECs would be secured when State law allows. 
The Placitas Arroyo Riparian Demonstration Area 
would continue as a riparian SMA. 

9. Special Status Species 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, special status 
species in the following areas would be included in 
the ACEC designations proposed under Issue 2, 
ACECs and Other SMAs: 

• Alamo Hueco Mountains ACEC 

• Antelope Pass RNA 

• Apache Box ACEC 

• Big Hatchet Mountains ACEC 

• Central Peloncillo Mountains ACEC 

• Gila Lower Box ACEC 

• Gila Middle Box ACEC 

• Granite Gap ACEC 

• Guadalupe Canyon ACEC 

• Northern Peloncillo Mountains ACEC 

• Organ/Franklin Mountains ACEC 



2-47 



PROPOSED PLAN 



The ACECs AND RNA would be managed in 
accordance with the management prescriptions 
listed in Appendix H. 



Management of special status species in the Organ 
Mountains would continue in accordance with the 
existing Organ Mountains Coordinated Resource 
Management Plan. 



TABLE 2-18 

DESIRED PLANT COMMUNITY OBJECTIVES*' 

PROPOSED PLAN 



PLANT COMMUNITY 



ACREAGE 



Creosotebush 

Creosotebush^ 

Mesquite 

Mesquite^ 

Snakeweed 

Mixed Desert Shrub 
(< 10% slope) 

Mixed Desert Shrub 
(> 10% slope) 

Mountain Brush 

Pinyon-Juniper/Oak 
Woodland/Conifer 

Grass Bottomlands 

Grass Uplands 

Riparian 

Arroyo 



40-60 


20-30 


20-30 


695,240 


0-10 


80-100 


0-10 


339,210 


50-65 


15-25 


30-50 


577,200 


0-10 


80-100 


0-10 


138,680 


60-75 


10-15 


10-30 


438,830 


55-75 


15-20 


10-20 


183,200 



20-30 



20-30 



203,940 



35-55 


30-40 


20-30 


158,630 


0-30 


40-70 


0-30 


59,350 


70-80 


10-20 


10-20 


571,880 


65-80 


20-30 


15-30 


696,190 


30-80 (grass or 


40-60 


30-60 


4,600 


grasslike) 


(woody veg) 







0-15 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Notes: a/ Specific species will be identified for each plant community at the activity planning level. 

b/ These brush types would remain unchanged because they fall in the buffered area along perennial streams or are above the 
0-10 percent slope contour and would not be treated chemically. These areas would generally not respond positively to 
changes in grazing management alone. 



2-48 




18 17 16 15 R.14W 



Legend 



Mountain Shrub/ 
Other Shrub 

Grass Lowlands 

Mixed Desert Shrub 

Snakeweed 




MAP 2-16 

VEGETATION TREATMENTS ■ CHEMICAL BRUSH 
CONTROL, PROPOSED PLAN 



R.22W. 21 20 19 18 



Legend 



Creosote 

Mixed Desert Shrub 

Mesquite 




MAP 2-17 

FRAGILE LANDS 



Legend 




Shrub - Poor 


^^ 


Shrub - Fair 


■■ 


Creosote - Fair 


^ 


Grass - Poor 


■Hi 


Grass/Shrub - Hills 
and Breaks - Poor 


■■ 



TABLE 2-19 

LAND TREATMENTS 

PROPOSED PLAN 



PROPOSED PLAN 



PLANT COMMUNITY 



AC. CHEMICAL 
TREATMENT 



PURPOSE 



Creosotebush 

Mesquite 

Mixed Desert Shrub 
(<10%-slope) 

Mixed Desert Shrub 
(>10% slope) 

Mountain Brush 

Snakeweed 

Grass Bottomlands 



Grass Uplands 



N/A 533,200 

N/A 425,700 

N/A 121,610 
86,830 N/A 

141,510 N/A 



168,550 



Undetermined- N/A 

used as needed 



Wildlife, watershed, 
forage production 

Wildlife, watershed, 
forage production 

Wildlife, watershed, 
forage production 

Wildlife, watershed, 
forage production 

Wildlife, watershed, 
forage production 

Wildlife, watershed, 
forage production 

Improve plant vigor, 
reduce shrub 
invasion, increase 
forage and 
palatability 

Wildlife, watershed, 
control shrub 
invasion 



677,690 



1,080,530 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 



2-49 



CHAPTER 3 



CHAPTER 3 AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT 



INTRODUCTION 

This chapter describes those physical, biological, 
social and economic characteristics of the Mimbres 
Resource Area which affect or are affected by the 
resolution of the four issues and nine management 
concerns identified in Chapter 2. Much of the 
information in this chapter summarizes more 
detailed material which is contained in the 
Management Situation Analysis (MSA) for the 
Mimbres Resource Area and is available for review 
at the Mimbres Resource Area Office. The 
Existing Management Situation (EMS) and the 
Resource Area Profile (RAP) sections of the MSA 
are in-depth discussions of the environment in the 
Mimbres Resource Area. 

TOPOGRAPHY 

The Mimbres Resource Area lies within the Basin 
and Range physiographic province. Typical 
landforms include rugged and steep fault-block 
mountain ranges, broad basins, and volcanic 
uplands. Major topographic features include: the 
Organ Mountains, Florida Mountains, West 
Potrillo Mountains, Big and Little Hatchet 
Mountains, Animas Mountains, Peloncillo 
Mountains, Cedar Mountains, and Cooke's Range. 
In contrast to these ranges are broad valleys 
including the Animas Valley, Playas Valley, 
Hachita Valley, Mesilla Bolson, and the Rio 
Grande/Mesilla Valley. 

Elevations on BLM-administered public land range 
from a low of approximately 3,800 feet (1,141 m) 
above mean sea level in the southern Mesilla 
Valley to a high of 9,012 feet (2,706 m) at Organ 
Needle in the Organ Mountains. Average 
elevation is about 5,000 feet (1,501 m). 

CLIMATE 

The Mimbres Resource Area is characterized by an 
arid to scmiarid continental climate, with mild 
winters and pleasant to hot summers. Average 



annual precipitation in the area ranges from 8 to 
10 inches at elevations below 6,000 feet, and from 
14 to 16 inches at higher elevations. A wide 
variation in annual totals is characteristic of arid 
climates as illustrated by annual extremes of 18.8 
inches and 4.4 inches at Lordsburg during a 56 
year period of record. More than half the yearly 
precipitation falls during July, August, and 
September when moist air masses move into the 
area from subtropical areas. Rainfall during this 
period is from convective thundershowers that are 
commonly intense and of short duration. Fall, 
winter, and spring are relatively dry seasons, 
influenced primarily by air masses moving across 
the area from the Pacific Ocean. 

The average annual temperature in the Resource 
Area is about 60°F. During the summer months, 
daytime temperatures sometimes exceed 100°F. 
The average maximum temperature during July, 
the warmest month, is near 95 °F. In January, the 
coldest month, the average monthly minimum 
temperature is in the middle 20's. Through the 
year, a daily range of 30° or more is common, 
which is characteristic of southern desert climates. 

Wind speeds average about 6 miles per hour (mph) 
throughout the Resource Area. During the 
summer months, the prevailing wind direction is 
from the southeast. Brief, strong winds often 
accompany convectional thundershowers during the 
summer months. In the winter, the prevailing wind 
direction is mostly from the north as Arctic air 
enters the area from the Pacific Northwest. The 
spring months (March-May) are commonly 
referred to as the windy season when dry, gusty 
winds predominate from the west in excess of 30 
mph. The gusty winds coupled with dry soils 
occasionally cause severe afternoon dust storms. 

Characteristic of desert climates, evaporation 
greatly exceeds the annual precipitation. 
Evaporation loss from water surfaces is about 75 
inches per year. This affects plants by depicting 
available moisture for plant growth and 
maintenance, especially during dry periods. 



3-1 



MINERALS 

The Resource Area is characterized by extensive 
volcanic rocks, igneous intrusions, fault-block 
mountain ranges, deep intermontane basins, and 
the Rio Grande rift. The northwestern portion of 
the Resource Area is in the transition zone 
between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and 
Range provinces. 

Basalt cinder cones and lava flows are prevalent in 
the West Potrillos, Aden Crater, Sierra de las 
Uvas, and the Animas Valley. Other volcanic 
rocks (rhyolite, andesite, dacite, and latite) are 
common throughout the area. Intrusive igneous 
rocks occur in the Organ Mountains, Doha Ana 
Mountains, Cooke's Range, Tres Hermanas 
Mountains, Florida Mountains, Pyramid 
Mountains, Little Hatchet Mountains, Animas 
Mountains, and Peloncillo Mountains. Many of 
these areas are mineralized and contain historic 
mining districts. 

Sedimentary rocks of marine origin are common in 
the fault-block ranges. The most prominent 
exposures occur in the East Potrillo Mountains, 
Robledo Mountains, San Andres Mountains, and 
Big Hatchet Mountains. The deep basins between 
these fault-block mountains have potential for oil 
and gas. 

The Resource Area is structurally complex. The 
most significant structural feature is the Rio 
Grande rift which is a tensional feature in the 
Earth's crust. The rift extends from southern 
Colorado to Texas. Geothermal energy is 
associated with the abnormally high subsurface 
temperatures that occur in the rift. 

Leasables 



this area and the overthrust belt of the northern 
Rocky Mountains where important petroleum 
discoveries have been made. 

The Resource Area is relatively unexplored 
compared to the producing oil and gas fields of 
northwestern and southeastern New Mexico. 
Extensive geophysical exploration occurred 
throughout the Resource Area between 1975 and 
the early 1980s. Several wildcat wells were also 
drilled during this period. There has been no 
exploration in recent years. 

TABLE 3-1 

OIL AND GAS POTENTIAL FOR OCCURRENCE 

(Acres) 





ALL 




FEDERAL 


POTENTIAL 


LANDS 


OIL 


AND GAS ESTATE* 


High 










Moderate 


3,741,100 




2,216,900 


Low 


5,344,100 




2,498,800 



Source: BLM Mimbres Resource Area GIS Data, 1990. 
Note: * Does not include U.S. Forest Service. 

There are three general areas of high geothermal 
potential: (1) the Animas Valley south of 
Lordsburg, (2) the Rio Grande rift, and (3) the 
Silver City vicinity. Potential acreage is listed in 
Table 3-2. 

There are THREE areas classified by the BLM as 
Known Geothermal Resource Areas (KGRAs): the 
Lightning Dock KGRA in the Animas Valley 
south of Lordsburg, the Radium Springs KGRA 
north of Las Cruces, AND THE TORTUGAS 
MOUNTAIN KGRA ON THE MESA EAST OF 
LAS CRUCES. 



The potential for occurrence of oil and gas within 
the Resource Area is concentrated within the deep 
intermontane basins and in the Pedregosa Basin in 
extreme southwestern New Mexico. Table 3-1 lists 
the acreage for areas of high, moderate, and low 
potential. Also see Map 3-1. 

Possible oil and gas accumulations occur in the 
deep intermontane basins of the Resource Area. 
The Pedregosa Basin, which extends from Mexico 
into southwestern New Mexico, is of special 
interest. There are structural similarities between 



Two commercial greenhouses are being heated 
with hot water in the Animas Valley. There is a 
commercial greenhouse at Radium Springs. New 
Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces 
utilizes geothermal energy for space heating, 
domestic water heating, the heating of swimming 
pools, and the heating of a greenhouse. 

Extensive geothermal exploration between 1975 
and 1983 led to discoveries at Radium Springs and 
Las Cruces. Currently, the only exploration being 
conducted in the Resource Area is by the 



3-2 



Southwest Technology Development Institute at 
NMSU. They are continuing their efforts to 
delineate areas of geothermal potential by using 
geophysical techniques and by drilling temperature- 
gradient holes. 

TABLE 3-2 

GEOTHERMAL POTENTIAL FOR OCCURRENCE 

(Acres) 





ALL 


FEDERAL 


POTENTIAL 


LANDS 


GEOTHERMAL ESTATE* 


High 


96,200 


59,400 


Moderate 


656,800 


253,400 


Low 


8,332,200 


4,370,100 



Source: BLM Mimbres Resource Area GIS Data, 1990. 
Note: * Does not include U. S. Forest Service. 

The only other leasable minerals with potential for 
occurrence in the Resource Area are potassium 
and sodium. The potassium-bearing mineral, 
alunite, occurs in volcanic rocks in the Steeple 
Rock area about 40 miles northwest of Lordsburg. 
The alkali playas west of Lordsburg are a potential 
source of sodium sulphate deposits. Table 3-3 
summarizes the potential acreage for nonenergy 
leasable minerals in the Resource Area. 



TABLE 3-3 
NONENERGY LEASABLE MINERALS POTENTIAL 
FOR OCCURRENCE 
(Acres) 



POTENTIAL 


ALL 
LANDS 


FEDERAL 
MINERAL ESTATE* 


High 








Moderate 


18,900 


15,400 


Low 


9,066,300 


4,667,500 



1800's and the early 1900's. Mining districts in the 
Organ Mountains, Cooke's Range, Florida 
Mountains, Little Hatchets, Pyramid Mountains, 
and other areas have colorful histories and were 
important producers of gold, silver, copper, lead, 
zinc, fluorspar, barite, and manganese. The 
Resource Area contains many of the minerals 
listed on the National Stockpile Inventory of 
Strategic and Critical Minerals. 

Many of the mining districts contain deposits that 
are not currently economic to mine. However, 
these deposits could become economic with a rise 
in mineral commodity prices or if the United 
States' sources for strategic or critical minerals are 
no longer accessible. 

The mineral resources that have been produced in 
the Resource Area include gold, silver, copper, 
lead, zinc, molybdenum, manganese, tungsten, and 
iron. The nonmetallic minerals that have been 
produced include fluorite, barite, gypsum, and 
silica. OTHER MINERAL RESOURCES WHICH 
OCCUR IN THE RESOURCE AREA INCLUDE 
ANTIMONY, BERYLLIUM, BISMUTH, COBALT, 
NICKEL, THORIUM, VANADIUM, AND 
URANIUM. Table 3-4 lists the acreage of high, 
moderate, and low potential. Also see Map 3-2. 





TABLE 3-4 




LOCATABLE 


MINERALS POTENTIAL 
(Acres) 


FOR OCCURRENCE 




ALL 


FEDERAL 


POTENTIAL 


LANDS 


MINERAL ESTATE* 


High 


113,000 


52,100 


Moderate 


540,500 


313,600 


Low 


8,431,700 


4,317,200 



Source: BLM Mimbres Resource Area GIS Data, 1990. 
Note: * Does not include U. S. Forest Service. 



Source: BLM Mimbres Resource Area GIS Data, 1990. 
Note: * Does not include U. S. Forest Service. 



Salables 



Locatables 

Locatable minerals occur in most of the mountain 
ranges throughout the Resource Area. Mining 
districts are also associated with these mountain 
ranges. Most of the districts were active in the late 



The salable minerals in the Resource Area include 
sand, gravel, volcanic cinders, building stone, and 
other mineral materials such as clay, caliche, and 
rock that is used for aggregate. Sand and gravel 
deposits are most abundant along the Rio Grande 
Valley. Volcanic cinders occur in the West 
Potrillo Mountains. The Robledo Mountains 



3-3 



contain deposits of building stone. Clay deposits 
occur in southern Dofta Ana County. Caliche is 
common throughout the Resource Area. Table 3-5 
lists the acreage for areas of high, moderate, and 
low potential. Also see Map 3-3. 





TABLE 3-5 






SALABLE 


MINERALS POTENTIAL 
(Acres) 


FOR 


OCCURRENCE 




ALL 




FEDERAL 


POTENTIAL 


LANDS 




MINERAL ESTATE* 


High 


85,200 




62,900 


Moderate 


276,500 




203,800 


Low 


8,723,500 




4,416,200 



Source: BLM Mimbres Resource Area GIS Data, 1990. 
Note: * Does not include U. S. Forest Service. 

LANDS 

The BLM administers approximately 3,053,820 
acres of public land in Doha Ana, Luna, Hidalgo, 
and Grant Counties in southwestern New Mexico. 
Public land comprises about 34 percent of the total 
surface ownership within the Mimbres Resource 
Area. In addition to the surface ownership, BLM 
also administers approximately 4,126,780 acres of 
Federal mineral estate. See Table 3-6 and Visual 
A in map pocket. 

The Mimbres Resource Area is characterized by its 
rural qualities, vast open spaces, and generally 
sparse population. However, a large and 
expanding urban population exists along the Rio 
Grande and IN THE Mesilla Valley from Las 
Cruces to El Paso. Other populated areas include 
Deming, Lordsburg, and Silver City. 

The urban populations, particularly in the Rio 
Grande and Mesilla Valleys, put a great demand 
on nearby public land to provide for the needs of 
these growing communities. The Continuing 
Management Guidance section (in Chapter 2) 
describes the current number of actions facing the 
lands program on an annual basis. These are 
expected to increase. Typical actions and 
authorizations include leases, permits, exchanges, 
communication site rights-of-way, linear rights-of 
way, and recreation and public purpose (R&PP) 
leases and patents for cemeteries, gun clubs, parks, 
and school sites. 



Many of the linear facilities authorized under 
various right-of-way grants have led to the 
establishment of defacto right-of-way corridors. 
Seven officially designated corridors also exist as a 
result of previous MFPs. The placement of 
facilities has in the past been largely due to 
topographic and land status constraints. 

ACCESS 

Existing transportation routes include Interstates 
10 and 25, U.S. Highways 70, 80 and 180, and State 
Roads 9, 11, 26, 81, 90, 146, 338, and 464. In 
addition to the major State and Federal highways, 
numerous county roads traverse nearly all portions 
of the Mimbres Resource Area. 

Traditionally, BLM's transportation network 
utilizes the Federal, State, and County road 
systems. The Easement Acquisition Program 
within the Mimbres Resource Area has been 
relatively inactive, largely due to a lack of past 
planning to support an acquisition program and 
because of minimal funding. In addition to the 
Federal, State, and County road system, BLM 
developed and maintains the 5.5-mile long Aguirre 
Spring Recreation Area access road, the 4.5-mile 
Pine Tree Trail, and the 6-mile Baylor Pass Trail. 
BLM also recently acquired and maintains 
approximately 3 miles of roads and trails in the 
Dripping Springs Natural Area. 

Access concerns have steadily increased over recent 
years as the demand for access and use of public 
land has increased. 

LIVESTOCK GRAZING 

There are 347 grazing allotments within the Dofla 
Ana, Grant, Luna, and Hidalgo County Area. Of 
these, 199 are within the grazing district boundary 
and have set grazing capacities for each allotment 
(Section 3). Grazing use on these allotments is 
covered by a permit. The remaining allotments are 
outside the grazing district boundary, where 
grazing use is covered by a lease (Section 15). 
Livestock, owned by 256 livestock operators, utilize 
the forage on these permits and leases. 
Approximately 20 allotments located within 
Hidalgo County are administered by the BLM 
Safford District Office located in Safford, Arizona. 
These allotments are administered under a 
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between 



3-4 






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the Safford and Las Cruces Districts. The MOU 
also provides for the administration of a portion of 
one allotment located in Cochise County, Arizona 
by the Mimbres Resource Area. Fenced 
allotments contain intermingled unfenced parcels 
of State trust, private (controlled and 
uncontrolled), and public lands. A few allotments 
include Forest Service land WHICH HAS NO 
FEES COLLECTED BY THE BLM. Most of the 
allotments are divided into pastures with water 
developments in each pasture. THOSE water 
developments, which constitute base property in 
LAS CRUCES DISTRICT, are usually located on 
the State trust and private lands. Numerous 
rangeland improvement projects such as fences, 
pipelines, wells, storage tanks, corrals, brush 
control projects, authorized by rangeland 
improvement permits or cooperative agreements, 
are located on public land. 

There are 30 allotments in the Resource Area 
which have implemented Allotment Management 
Plans (AMPs) OR COORDINATED 
MANAGEMENT PLANS (CMPs). AMP OR CMP 

allotments are on a TYPE OF rotation grazing 
SYSTEM set up in cooperation with the individual 
permittee. The schedules allow for deferment on 
one or more pastures for a growing season or 
complete year's rest. Yearlong grazing has been 
the common practice in the past but many ranches 
are now practicing some type of rotation system. 
Activity plans, which include a grazing system are 
being developed on 25 additional allotments. 

There are 385,282 TOTAL animal unit months 
(AUMs) IN AN AVERAGE YEAR of grazing use 
ON FEDERAL LAND in the Mimbres Resource 
Area. Grazing use consists of cattle ON EACH 
ALLOTMENT and saddle horses on A FEW 
allotments. Cow-calf operations are common with 
a few operators grazing steers. Common breeds of 
livestock are Hereford, Brangus, and Angus. 
Crossbreeding of livestock has improved calf crop, 
calving weights, and has developed cattle which are 
doing well in THE arid Southwest. 

Of the 3 million acres of public land in the 
Resource Area, approximately 90 percent can be 
grazed by livestock. The remaining 10 percent is 
considered unsuitable due to steep slopes (greater 
than 70 percent) or barren areas (less than 2 
percent vegetation). 



VEGETATION 

The vegetation in the Mimbres Resource Area 
varies greatly in its diversity, production, and 
potential due to differences in elevation, climate, 
soils, and topography. The Resource Area exhibits 
influences from the Chihuahuan Desert, Sonoran 
Desert, Mexican Highlands, Southern Rocky 
Mountains, and the Mogollon Plateau. A general 
description of the vegetation in the Mimbres 
Resource Area was gathered and compiled from 
the range surveys and range site mapping done in 
the late seventies and early eighties. 

Existing plant communities and their percentage 
are shown in Table 3-7. 

Major Land Resource Areas 

The Mimbres Resource Area contains portions of 
two Major Land Resource Areas (MLRAs). The 
two MLRAs are the Southern Desert-Subresource 
Area SD-2 (MLRA 42) and the Western Plateau- 
Subresource Area WP-3 (MLRA 36). MLRAs 
cover large geographic areas and present a general 
description of the vegetation community 
potentially found within each area. Maps of 
vegetation and range sites are available for review 
in the Mimbres Resource Area Office. 

The Southern Desert MLRA is characterized by 
elevations of 3,800 to 5,000 feet with mountain 
areas up to 8,000 feet. Gently sloping plains are 
broken by abrupt rising desert mountains. Climate 
in the warm, arid region is characterized mostly by 
summer precipitation with an annual rainfall of 8 
to 10 inches. Average annual temperature is 60°F 
with extremes of 5° below zero in the winter and 
1 10°F in the summer. Potential natural vegetation 
on these soils will support grassland (short, mid, 
and tall grass) and grass-shrubland vegetation. In 
the Resource Area, 89 percent or approximately 
2,670,000 public land acres are in this MLRA. 

The Western Plateau MLRA, characterized by 
elevations of 5,000 to 6,500 feet, is associated with 
general foothill topography with numerous canyons 
and dry washes adjacent to mountains. Annual 
precipitation is 12 to 16 inches. Average annual 
temperature is 56°F with extremes of 12° below 
zero in the winter to 103°F in the summer. 
Potential natural vegetation on these soils will 
support grassland vegetation. In the 4-County 



3-6 



TABLE 3-7 
EXISTING PLANT COMMUNITIES 



PLANT COMMUNITY 



% GRASS % SHRUBS % FORBS ACREAGE 



Creosotebush 

Mesquite 

Snakeweed 

Mixed Desert Shrub* 
(< 10% slope) 

Mixed Desert Shrub 
(>10% slope) 

Mountain Brush 

Pinyon-Juniper/Oak 
Woodland/Conifer 

Grass Bottomlands 

Grass Uplands 

Riparian 

Arroyo 



0-10 


80-100 


0-10 


1,091,960 


0-10 


80-100 


0-10 


713,960 


50-60 


20-30 


30-40 


443,090 


0-15 


60-90 


20-30 


183,200 



20-30 



40-60 



10-30 



203,940 



35-55 


30-40 


20-30 


158,630 


0-30 


40-70 


0-30 


59,350 


70-80 


10-20 


10-20 


572,540 


65-80 


20-30 


15-30 


676,270 


30-80 (grass 


40-60 


30-60 


4,600 


or grasslike) 


(woody veg) 







0-15 



40-70 



10-20 



21,160 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Note: The mixed desert type includes the tarbush, catclaw, white thorn, mariola, and mixed desert shrub 
sub-types. 



Area, 11 percent or approximately 330,000 public 
land acres are in this MLRA. 

A more detailed description of these MLRAs can 
be found in the Soil Conservation Service Range 
Site Descriptions, Section II E, Technical Guides. 

The Southern Desert MLRA covers 16 different 
range sites with 30 vegetation subtypes present. 
The six major range sites arc gravelly, igneous hills, 
sandy, loamy, gravelly loam, malpais, and clayey. 
All seven major vegetation subtypes (creosotebush, 



midgrass, snakeweed, mixed desert shrub, mesquite, 
mixed mountain shrub, and tarbush) are present on 
the major range sites. 

The Western Plateau MLRA covers 10 different 
range sites with 15 vegetation subtypes present. 
The major range site is hills. The major vegetation 
subtypes arc midgrass, mixed mountain shrub, 
creosotebush, and pinyon-juniper. 

Gravelly range sites occur along the footslopes of 
desert mountains and side slopes of arroyos and 



3-7 



water courses. The landscape is characterized by 
low hills, ridges, fans, and footslopes with 5 to 30 
percent slope. Creosotebush is the dominant 
vegetation on the gravelly range site. Small 
amounts of midgrasses (grama grasses and tobosa) 
also occur on gravelly sites. 

The igneous hills range site is characterized by 
rolling to steep hills and mountain footslopes. 
Slopes average from 15 to 50 percent while 
direction of slope is variable. Midgrass and mixed 
mountain shrub are the dominant vegetation 
subtypes on these areas. Midgrasses are the most 
productive subtype. Major midgrass species 
include gramas, muhlys, and in smaller amounts, 
threeawns, tobosa, panicums, bluestems, and 
lovegrasses. Mixed mountain shrubs include oak 
brush, mountain mahogany, juniper, sumac and 
small amounts of other species. 

Sandy range sites usually occur on level to gently 
sloping or undulative piedmont slopes or plains. 
Slopes range from 1 to 15 percent, averaging less 
than 10 percent. Snakeweed and mesquite are the 
dominant vegetation subtypes on these areas. 
Mesquite, the co-dominant on this range site, is 
usually in the sand dunes with snakeweed 
occurring in the interdune areas. Small amounts 
of midgrasses (dropseeds and tobosa) occur in 
association with mesquite and snakeweed. 

Loamy range sites are found on piedmont slopes. 
Slopes range from 1 to 15 percent, but are usually 
less than 10 percent. Snakeweed and midgrass are 
the dominant vegetation subtypes on this range 
site. Midgrass species (gramas, muhlys, tobosa, 
and threeawns) occur in the same associations as 
found in the hills range site. 

The gravelly loam range site is characterized by 
nearly level to rolling piedmont slopes and alluvial 
fans. Slopes occasionally reach 30 percent but 
average less than 15 percent. Midgrass, mesquite, 
creosotebush and snakeweed are the dominant 
vegetation subtypes. Midgrasses include gramas, 
muhlys, tobosa and threeawns. MESQUITE, 
CREOSOTEBUSH, AND SNAKEWEED have all 
invaded into this potentially productive range site. 



The malpais range site varies considerably from 
nearly level to moderately steep with small areas 
exceeding 25 percent slope. The terrain is 
frequently interrupted by basalt outcrops, rocks, 
and occasional boulders. The site may occur on 
nearly level mesa tops, valley lava flows, or on hills 
which are usually old volcanic cones. Dominant 
vegetation types include midgrass, creosotebush, 
and mixed desert shrub. Midgrass species include 
gramas, muhlys, tobosa, tridens, and other 
associated species. THE MIXED DESERT SHRUB 
TYPE INCLUDES CREOSOTEBUSH, FOUR- 
WINGED SALTBUSH, SNAKEWEED, CACTI, 
AND YUCCA. 

THE HILLS RANGE SITE IS CHARACTERIZED 
BY ROLLING TO STEEP HILLS AND 
MOUNTAIN FOOTSLOPES WITH A 15 TO 75 
PERCENT SLOPE. EXPOSURE OR 

DIRECTION OF SLOPES ARE VARIABLE. 
MIXED MOUNTAIN SHRUBS AND 
MIDGRASSES ARE THE DOMINANT 
VEGETATION. MIXED MOUNTAIN SHRUBS 
INCLUDE PINYON, JUNIPER, SUMACS, OAK, 
AND MOUNTAIN MAHOGANY. DUE TO 
HIGHER ELEVATIONS, MORE COOL SEASON 
PERENNIAL SPECIES ARE PRESENT SUCH AS 
BROMES, FESCUES, LOVEGRASSES, MUHLYS, 
CURLY MESQUITE, AND RICEGRASS. 

Fragile Lands 

Fragile lands are areas of vegetation in poor or fair 
range condition, that occur on areas of critical soils 
(range sites with high production and erosion 
potential). This information is based on range 
inventories which included range site and 
vegetation mapping done from 1978 to 1981. 
These areas have the potential to respond 
favorably to changes in management, including 
restriction or exclusion of surface-disturbing 
activities. At the time of the range surveys, there 
were approximately 800,000 areas in poor 
condition and 800,000 acres in fair condition that 
met these criteria. See Map 2-17. 



3-8 



SOIL, AIR, AND WATER 

Soil 

SOIL SURVEYS 

There are four existing soil surveys which cover the 
land within the Mimbres Resource Area. These 
surveys were conducted cooperatively by the 
USDA Soil Conservation Service, BLM, and the 
New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station. The 
four surveys are: 

1. Dofia Ana County Soil Survey, 1980 

2. Grant County Soil Survey, 1983 

3. Hidalgo County Soil Survey, 1973 

4. Luna County Soil Survey, 1980 

The soil surveys depict map units which are made 
up of one or more soil series. Soils within a given 
soil series have similar diagnostic features and 
characteristics, therefore, all areas mapped as a 
given soil series or map unit will express similar 
soil characteristics (see Appendix K). 

SOIL SALINITY 

Soil salinity is a localized problem on isolated sites 
on public land within the Mimbres Resource Area. 
For the most part, low to moderate salinity occurs 
in soils found along the floodplain of the Rio 
Grande (predominantly private land) and closed 
basins and playas which occur in parts of Luna and 
Hidalgo Counties (also predominantly private 
land). Saline soils within the Mimbres Resource 
Area are comprised primarily of the Bluepoint 
series, Glendale series, Harky series, Hondale 
series, Mimbres series, Verhalen series, and 
Yturbide series. (SCS 1973, 1980, 1983) 

SOIL EROSION 

Soil erosion by water or wind is influenced by 
topography, climate, soil properties, and ground 
cover. There are two types of erosion caused by 
water, sheet erosion and gully erosion. Sheet 
erosion occurs on gentle slopes without defined 
water courses. On these areas, water spreads over 
vast areas, and if vegetation cover is not present, 
top soil is removed by the runoff. Water erosion 
has its greatest impact in the summer during the 
RAINY season. Gully erosion occurs where runoff 
becomes channeled. These channels may result 
from vehicle tracks, livestock and wildlife trails, 



hiking trails, and roads that HAVE NOT HAD 
WATER BARS CONSTRUCTED ON THEM (SCS 
1973, 1980, 1983). 

Wind erosion has its greatest impact in the spring 
when strong westerly winds occur on a regular 
basis. Soils which are susceptible to wind erosion 
are sandy soils, fine silts, and loams. (SCS 1973, 
1980, 1983) 

Critical Soils 

Critical soils represent areas of high erosion 
potential as defined by SCS range site guidelines. 
Range sites represent broad categories of soils with 
similar physical and productive characteristics. 
Representative range sites include: gravelly, draw, 
clayey, gravelly loam, limy, gravelly sand, breaks, 
and bottomland. These range sites have been 
further divided into three slope classes: 0-10 
percent, 10-20 percent and over 20 percent. 
Increasing slope generally coincides with increased 
erosion potential depending on soil type. See Map 
3-4. 

Air 

The air quality in the Mimbres Resource Area is 
generally very good. The air quality does not 
exceed the State or Federal air quality standards 
and is classified as a Class II area. A Class II area 
allows a moderate amount of degradation of air 
quality. 

Degradation of air quality in portions of the 
Resource Area is the result of carbon monoxide 
from automobiles, blowing dust, smelters (located 
in El Paso, Texas; Hurley and Playas, New Mexico; 
and Morenci, Arizona), and increased use of 
unpaved roads near population centers (BLM 
1983). The southern part of the Mesilla Valley, 
from Las Cruces to El Paso has the poorest air 
quality in the Resource Area. Industrial pollutants 
and automobile exhaust from the densely 
populated EL Paso-Cuidad Juarez vicinity 
contribute heavily to air pollution. This is 
especially evident during the winter when 
temperature inversions prevent the escape and 
dispersion of polluted air to higher altitudes. 

Blowing dust, especially in the playas near 
Lordsburg and farm lands near Dcming and Las 
Cruces contribute to air pollution in those 
localized areas. Extensive vehicle use of unpaved 



3-9 



roads especially near population centers also 
contributes to air pollution in portions of the 
Resource Area, especially near Las Cruces. 

Water 

SURFACE WATER 

The Mimbres Resource Area contains portions of 
three major river basins as designated by the 
New Mexico State Engineer for regional water 
planning. They are the Rio Grande, Lower 
Colorado, and the Rio Yaqui. 

The Rio Grande Basin is the most prominent of 
the three river basins and includes the Rio Grande 
surface drainage system, plus segments of two 
Central Closed Basins consisting of the Jornada 
Del Muerto and Tularosa Basins; and three of the 
Southwestern Closed Basins consisting of Mimbres, 
Playas, and Wamel Basins. The Rio Grande surface 
drainage in the Resource Area extends about 85 
miles along the river to the New Mexico-Texas 
State line in a relatively narrow watershed. The 
closed basins located within the watershed account 
for a vast majority of the acreage in the Resource 
Area. These areas are closed topographically and 
normally do not contribute surface runoff to the 
Rio Grande drainage. 

The Lower Colorado River Basin on the western 
side of the Continental Divide is the second major 
river basin in the Resource Area and includes 
segments of the Gila River and the San Simon 
Creek as well as the Animas Closed Basin. 

The Rio Yaqui Basin, located in the far southwest 
corner of New Mexico, is the third major river 
basin within the Resource Area and includes 
Guadalupe Canyon. The basin contains only 40 
square miles in New Mexico and streamflow occurs 
in response to heavy rainfall. 

Surface Water Quality 

Surface water quality in the Mimbres Resource 
Area is moderately hard and alkaline with 
relatively low levels of sodium, chloride, and 
sulphate. Salinity, as measured by total dissolved 
solids (TDS) is also low except in the playa lakes 
within several of the closed basins and is 
considered slightly saline (BLM 1983). Sediment 
flows vary over the course of a year with the 
heaviest loads occurring during high flows. Average 



high flow sediment loads for the Rio Grande, Gila, 
and Mimbres Rivers are 800 tons/day, 200 tons/day, 
and 100 tons/day, respectively. 

Water quality standards for surface water in New 
Mexico have been adapted by the Water Quality 
Control Commission to protect and sustain 
designated uses. General quality standards apply 
at all times to all support waters of the State which 
are suitable for recreation and support desirable 
aquatic life. Parameters of particular importance 
that are covered include: floating solids, oil and 
grease, plant nutrients, hazardous substances, 
pathogens and turbidity. Additionally, certain 
stream segments have more stringent standards 
that apply to designated uses of the surface water 
within a specified stream reach. In the Mimbres 
Resource Area, there are six stream segments, two 
each on the Rio Grande, Gila, and Mimbres 
Rivers, that have designations and standards. The 
water quality for these stream segments is generally 
within State standards; however, there are 
recognized problems. The Rio Grande and Gila 
Rivers both transport heavy sediment loads during 
high flows. Along the Gila River, fecal coliform 
bacteria is near the upper limit during low flows, 
and is close to not supporting secondary contact 
recreation. The Mimbres River has pH and 
temperature levels above the standards during base 
flows (BLM 1983). 

Preparation of the "New Mexico Nonpoint Source 
Pollution Water Quality Assessment" (New Mexico 
Environmental Improvement Division 1988) was 
mandated by section 319 of the Federal Clean 
Water Act. The primary objective of this report 
was to identify all surface waters, groundwaters, 
and wetlands which, regardless of land ownership, 
are known or suspected of being impacted by 
NONPOINT source water pollution. Within the 
Mimbres Resource Area are several stream 
segments identified by the New Mexico 
Environmental Improvement Division as being 
impaired. These stream segments and percent 
watershed administered by the BLM are: (1) Rio 
Grande mainstream from Dofia Ana downstream 
to Mesilla, 38 percent; (2) Mimbres River from 
Mimbres to San Juan, <1 percent; (3) Rio Grande 
from Mesilla Diversion to New Mexico-Texas State 
line, 41 percent; (4) Gila River from mouth of 
Davis Creek downstream to Redrock, 14 percent; 
and (5) Gila River from Redrock to New Mexico- 
Arizona border, 57 percent. 



3-10 




R.22W. 21 20 19 



Sources of potential impairments include: 
specialty crop production, rangelands, animal 
holding/management areas, dredging, flow 
regulation, channelization, removal of riparian 
vegetation, and recreation. 

GROUNDWATER 

The Mimbres Resource Area is within the Basin 
and Range physiographic region and is 
characterized by north-trending subparallel 
mountain ranges separated by basins filled with 
alluvial material. Most of the groundwater occurs 
in the alluvial deposits on lower mountain slopes 
and deep alluvial or bolson deposits in the valley. 
The bolson deposits are a heterogenous mixture of 
rock from the surrounding uplands and generally 
the product of more than one sequence of erosion. 
The fill material ranges in age from Pliocene to 
Pleistocene. Groundwater is obtained from sand 
and gravel interbedded with clay and beds of silt. 
The groundwater is derived from precipitation, 
with most of the recharge occurring along 
permeable streambeds. Generally in the closed 
basins where groundwater sources have been 
developed, withdrawals exceed recharge (BLM 
1983). 

The evolution of the Rio Grande Valley is a major 
factor in the distribution of groundwater in the 
Mimbres Resource Area. The two major water 
bearing units in this region consist of 
unconsolidated to moderately consolidated alluvial 
deposits of the Santa Fe Group of Miocene to 
middle Pleistocene age, and the Rio Grande and 
tributary arroyo valley fill of late Quaternary age 
(BLM 1983). 

The Santa Fe Group is the primary groundwater 
reservoir in this region. Aquifers in the Santa Fe 
produce most of the water used for domestic and 
industrial purposes, as well as a significant 
proportion of groundwater used to supplement 
surface irrigation supplies in the Rio Grande 
Valley. The other important aquifer unit consists 
of floodplain and channel deposits of the Rio 
Grande and tributary arroyos. These deposits are 
limited in extent and mostly restricted to the 
vicinity of the river. Recharge to the aquifers is 
mainly from infiltration from flash floods in the 
arroyos and some infiltration from perennial 
streams that occupy the upper reaches of several 
major arroyos (BLM 1983). 



Secondary sources of groundwater in the Mimbres 
Resource Area are found in low porosity 
sedimentary rocks of early Tertiary age, consisting 
of conglomerates, sandstones, and shales. Yields 
from the few wells penetrating the sedimentary 
rocks are low, rarely exceeding a few gallons per 
minute. More comprehensive and detailed 
information on groundwater is contained in 
individual basin reports available at the Las Cruces 
District Office. 

Groundwater Quality 

Groundwater quality in the Mimbres Resource 
Area is highly variable depending upon the types 
of soluble minerals found in the water bearing 
formations of the selected basins. In most of the 
Resource Area, groundwater in the upper 1,000 
feet is of good quality and contains less than 1,000 
mg/1 total dissolved solids (TDS). Additional 
supplies of slightly saline water with TDS content 
between 1,000 and 3,000 mg/1 is also found in the 
Rio Grande Basin. Chemical analyses of wells in 
the area are limited in number, but those available 
indicate that the groundwater quality is satisfactory 
for livestock and wildlife use. Concentrations of 
fluoride above the recommended limits for 
livestock and wildlife were found in wells sampled 
in the Animas, Hachita, Mimbres, and San Simon 
Basins. No other parameters were above the 
recommended levels for livestock and wildlife. 
Generally, the groundwater quality in the Mimbres 
Resource Area is also sufficient for domestic use, 
with the exception of isolated cases where 
concentrations of sulfate, hardness, and fluoride 
are above State of New Mexico standards for 
drinking water (BLM 1983). 

Groundwater Use 

Water rights for the use of surface and 
underground water in the State are administered 
by the State Engineer. The Mimbres Resource 
Area includes all or part of 11 declared 
underground water basins. In all these basins, an 
application to appropriate underground water must 
be filed with, and a permit obtained from, the 
State Engineer (BLM 1983). 

Within the Mimbres Resource Area, the primary 
use of water on the public land is by livestock and 
wildlife. Water provided for this purpose is 
depleted in two ways: water consumed by animals 



3-1 



and evaporation from facilities constructed to 
furnish water supplies. Evaporation from dirt 
tanks accounts for the largest quantity of water 
depleted. Approximately half the water consumed 
by livestock and wildlife is estimated to come from 
groundwater sources (BLM 1983). 

FIRE MANAGEMENT 

Fire Ecology 

Historical evidence indicates fires were a factor in 
the ecological development of the southern deserts. 
Up until the 1920s, natural fire frequency had been 
approximated to be less than every 10 years to 30 
years depending on the vegetation type. As 
livestock production increased throughout the area, 
natural fire frequency has diminished. Over the last 
80 years, extensive grasslands have been replaced 
by shrub communities which do aot produce fuel 
loads capable of carrying a fire. Natural fire in 
combination with drought and competition played 
a significant role in controlling shrubs (Wright and 
Bailey 1982). 

Natural fire (or lack of) played a significant role in 
the development of the major vegetation types 
which occur in the Mimbres Resource Area. 
These vegetation types include desert grass-shrub, 
mountain brush (interior chaparral), and 
woodlands. 

Desert Grass/Shrub 

This type was originally a grassland type. Shrubs 
were controlled primarily by competition with 
grasses, fires, and rodents. With the decrease in 
vigorous perennial grass stands and an increase in 
shrubs, the fine fuels required to carry a natural 
fire are nonexistent over a large part of the 
Resource Area. 

Mountain Brush (Interior Chaparral) 

This type is regarded as a fire induced vegetation 
type (Shantz 1947). Plant species which make up 
this type survive fire as evidenced by numerous 
seedlings and resprouting which occurs after a fire. 
Their large amount of loosely arranged small 
material and high volatile oil content make them 
very flammable. The dominant species which are 



found on this type include mountain mahogany, 
Ceanothus greggii, Gartya wrightii, Quercus spp and 
Rhus spp. Shrub cover generally recovers rapidly 
after a fire. About 76 percent of the preburn cover 
is reached within 6 years (Wright and Bailey 1982). 
During the years that the shrub community is 
recovering from the fire, dramatic increases in 
grasses and forbs occur in the newly created 
openings. Grass and forb production decreases as 
shrub production increases. This cycle will begin 
again after the next fire. 

Woodland 

The woodland type which occurs within the 
Mimbres Resource Area is comprised of 
pinyon/juniper and various oaks. This type is not 
extensive and is most common on portions of the 
mountain ranges which are scattered throughout 
the Resource Area. Historically, fire has been the 
dominant force controlling the distribution of 
pinyon-juniper, particularly juniper (Wright and 
Bailey 1982). Fire occurring about every 10-30 
years kept the junipers restricted to shallow, rocky 
soils and rough topography. For the last 70 years, 
FIRE SUPPRESSION ACTIVITIES, DROUGHTS, 
LIVESTOCK GRAZING, AND SEVERAL 
PERIODS OF ABOVE AVERAGE 
PRECIPITATION HAVE PROVIDED 
CONDITIONS WHICH HAVE ALLOWED pinyon- 
juniper to invade adjacent communities. After a 
pinyon-juniper area has burned, a perennial grass- 
forb community develops followed by a grass-forb- 
shrub community and after 10 to 30 years pinyon- 
juniper is again the dominant type (Barney 1974). 

Recent Fire History 

Recent fire history (1977 to 1989) on public land 
within the Mimbres Resource Area is shown on 
Table 3-8. 

Prescribed Fire History 

Prescribed fires have not been a factor in resource 
management in the Mimbres Resource Area. A 
prescribed fire program is in the beginning stages 
and so far two burns have been completed. One in 
1989 for wildlife habitat improvement (300 acres) 
and one in 1990 for a rangeland improvement (70 

0- 



3-12 



TABLE 3-8 

FIRE HISTORY 

1977-1989 



YEAR 


NATURAL CAUSED 
(ACRES) 


VEG. TYPES' 


MAN CAUSED^' 
(ACRES) 


VEG. TYPE*' 


1977 


< 100 

< 100 

< 100 


MS 
MS 
DGS 


< 100 

< 100 

< 100 


DGS 
DGS 
DGS 



100 
100 
100 
100 
100 
100 



DGS 

DGS 

DGS 

MS 

DGS 

DGS 



1979 



< 100 

> 100 

< 100 

> 100 



DGS 

MS 
MS 
DGS 



< 100 

< 100 



MS 
MS 



< 100 

< 100 



MS 
DGS 



100 
100 



DGS 
DGS 



< 100 

< 100 

< 100 

< 100 

< 100 

< 100 

< 100 



MS 

MS 

MS 

MS 

MS 

DGS 

DGS 



< 100 

< 100 

< 100 

< 100 



MS 
MS 
MS 
DGS 



< 100 

< 100 

< 100 



DGS 

MS 

DGS 



1984 
1985 



< 100 

< 100 

< 100 



MS 

DGS 

MS 



< 100 

< 100 



MS 
W 



NO FIRES ON PUBLIC LAND IN 1986 



1987 



< 100 

< 100 



DGS 
DGS 



100 
100 



w 

MS 



100 
100 



MS 
DGS 



< 100 

< 100 

> 100 

> 100 

< 100 

> 100 

> 100 

> 100 

> 100 



MS 

DGS 

DGS 

MS 

DGS 

MS 

DGS 

MS 

MS 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Notes: a/ Vegetation type; MS is Mountain Shrub, DGS is Desert Grass-Shrub, W is Woodland. Acreage is given as less than or greater than 
100 acres. 
b/ Man caused fires do not include prescribed fires. 



3-13 



WILDLIFE 

Wildlife habitat and wildlife species have been 
identified and inventoried utilizing the BLM's 
Integrated Habitat Inventory and Classification 
System (IHICS). Sixteen distinct Standard Habitat 
Sites (SHSs) have been mapped within the 
Mimbres Resource Area based on landforms and 
vegetation. This information is available in the 
Mimbres Resource Area Office. 

Big Game 

There are a variety of big game species found 
throughout the Resource Area. These species 
include mule deer, Coues' whitetail deer, javelina, 
pronghorn, ibex, desert bighorn sheep, mountain 
lion and elk. 

Mule deer are widespread throughout the 
Resource Area and are most abundant in or near 
the various mountain ranges. The most recent 
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 
(NMDGF) population estimates show the mule 
deer population at approximately 15,000 animals 
within the Resource Area. See Map 3-5. 

Coues' whitetail deer occupy a limited range in the 
Resource Area. These deer are primarily found in 
the Peloncillo Mountains in western Hidalgo 
County. The most recent NMDGF population 
estimates show the whitetail population at 
approximately 2,500 animals within the Resource 
Area. See Map 3-5. 

Mule deer are found in several SHSs, with the 
major use in the Grass, Mixed Shrub, Arroyo 
Riparian, and Riparian SHSs. Coues' whitetail deer 
prefer the Grass, Mixed Shrub, and Conifer 
Mountain SHSs which are undisturbed or are in or 
near the potential climax community (Anthony and 
Smith 1977). 

The results of previous fecal analyses (BLM Files 
1990) show diets for mule deer and whitetails to be 
high in several browse species: silktassel, mountain 
mahogany, oak, and sumac. A number of forbs also 
show up in significant amounts, including 
globemallow and bladderpod. 

Javelina are commonly found as far east as the 
Florida Mountains and north past the Gila River. 
Their main concentrations are in southern Hidalgo 
County. The most recent NMDGF population 



estimates show the javelina population at 
approximately 1,000 animals on public land. 

Javelina commonly use the Arroyo Riparian, Grass 
Mountain and Pinyon-juniper Grass Mountain 
SHSs (Donaldson 1965). Important food species 
for javelina include: prickly pear, agave, ocotillo, 
sotol, beargrass, and mast of juniper, oak, and 
pinyon. Forbs such as filaree, hog potato, and wild 
onion are also important food plants. A study in 
Texas showed evidence that mesquite pods are also 
an important food source (Everitt, et al 1981). 

Several small pronghorn antelope herds are found 
in the Resource Area. These herds are found 
primarily in Luna and Grant Counties on land 
which contains private, State and Federal holdings. 
See Map 3-5. The most recent NMDGF 
population estimate for pronghorn antelope is 
approximately 500 animals. Food habit studies 
(Yokum 1980) have concluded that pronghorn diet 
consists primarily of shrubs, 71 percent, 22 percent 
forbs, and the remainder grass. However, in years 
of high forb production, pronghorn will eat more 
forbs than the studies indicate (Yokum 1980). 

A herd of Iranian ibex, an exotic species, occupies 
the Florida Mountains. Beginning in 1970, seven 
ibex releases totaling 73 animals were made in the 
range. Today the population ranges between 400 
and 500 animals (BLM and NMDGF Files 1990). 
A carrying capacity of 400 animals (post hunt) was 
set in 1988. The ibex in the Floridas are mainly 
browsers with a majority of their diet consisting of 
mountain mahogany, silktassel, and oak. 

Prior to setting the carrying capacity, the ibex 
population periodically reached levels of 600 
animals or more. When this occurred, the ibex 
would move into less rugged terrain resulting in 
competition with mule deer for available feed. 

Desert bighorn sheep, a State-listed endangered 
species, occur in four mountain ranges located in 
Hidalgo County. These ranges are: Big Hatchets, 
Little Hatchets, Alamo Huecos, and the Peloncillo 
Mountains. The desert bighorn population is 
APPROXIMATELY 120 animals and has been 
fluctuating between 75 and 120 animals for the 
past several years (BLM Files 1990). See Map 3-6. 

Competition for feed with deer and cattle is a 
major concern in the occupied mountain ranges. 
Fecal samples (BLM Files 1990) collected for 



I 



3-14 



C-..T. ' 




Legend 

Historic and Potential 
Historic and Present 



sheep from the Big Hatchet MOUNTAINS show 
important food items for sheep consist of: 
mountain mahogany, cactus, winterfat, and oak. 
Forbs and grasses are also present in significant 
quantities. High use of the same shrubs and forbs 
is evident in deer studies while the same shrubs, 
forbs, and grasses make up a high proportion of 
SEASONAL cattle diets. Along with dietary 
competition with deer and livestock, WHICH 
HAVE HAD DETRIMENTAL AFFECTS ON 
SHEEP ARE DISEASE AND PREDATION which 
MAY affect the size and health of desert bighorn 
sheep herds in the Resource Area. 

Mountain lions occur in all of the mountain ranges 
throughout the Resource Area. The mountain lion 
is the largest predator found in the Resource Area 
and feeds primarily on mule deer, javelina, and 
small mammals. 

Elk occur in the Resource Area but are limited to 
the small, scattered parcels of public land which 
are near the National forest in Grant County. 
Population estimates for elk on public land are not 
available. 



Mearn's quail are uncommon in the Resource 
Area and known populations are limited to the 
Peloncillo Mountains and the higher terrain north 
of the Gila River up to the Gila National Forest 
boundary. At one time, Mearn's quail were more 
abundant but livestock grazing has altered their 
preferred habitat (Ligon 1961). Mearn's quail 
prefer and are found primarily in the Oak Draw, 
Pinyon-Juniper/Grass Mountain, and Conifer 
Mountain SHSs. 

Mourning dove are migratory birds which occur 
throughout the Resource Area. These birds feed 
largely on dried seeds, and they require water 
which they use regularly throughout the day. 
During the winter, most of the mourning dove will 
leave the State, but there are some birds which will 
remain in the area. 

White winged doves occur throughout the 
Resource Area but are most common in the 
mountain ranges of Hidalgo County and the Gila 
River Valley. A permanent source of water is a 
summer range requirement. Most of these doves 
leave the State during the winter. 



Small Game 

Small game species found in the Resource Area 
consist of scaled quail, Gambel's quail, Mearn's 
quail, mourning dove, white wing dove, band-tailed 
pigeon, and sandhill crane. 

Scaled quail are the most abundant and widespread 
of the quail found in the Resource Area. They can 
be found in any of the SHSs with the possible 
exceptions of Pinyon-Juniper/Grass Mountain, Oak 
Draw, and Conifer Mountain SHSs. These birds 
prefer dense shrub stands for cover and will feed 
near or in these stands if adequate food sources 
exist. Population estimates are seldom given 
because population levels fluctuate and are greatly 
affected by weather conditions. 

Gambel's quail are also abundant throughout the 
Resource Area. The habitat requirements for 
Gambel's are similar to and overlap with the scaled 
quail but they are primarily found nearer to water 
and are more common in or near the Arroyo 
Habitat and Riparian SHSs. Gambel's quail 
populations fluctuate under the same conditions as 
scaled quail. 



The band-tailed pigeon occurs, but is uncommon, 
in the Resource Area. Primary SHSs for these 
pigeons are: Pinyon-Juniper/Grass Mountain, Oak 
Draw, and Conifer Mountain. Depending on the 
availability of their preferred food, pinyon nuts and 
acorns, the pigeons may not be seen in the 
Resource Area in years when feed is not abundant. 

Sandhill cranes may occur on public land near 
areas bordering farmlands and river valleys. In the 
Resource Area, cranes are commonly seen in and 
around farmlands near Lordsburg, Animas, 
Deming, and Hatch with cranes also using the 
Lower Gila Box as a fly way between feeding and 
roosting grounds on the Gila River. 

Various species of waterfowl are found throughout 
the Resource Area. They are usually found during 
the winter months and occur primarily near 
agricultural areas where plentiful feed is available, 
water impoundments (stock ponds) and rivers. 

Non-Game 

There are 489 species of wildlife (excluding 
invertebrates) found in the Resource Area. Of this 
number, 451 species are considered non-game 



3-15 



species. Avian species account for 62 percent 
(278) of the total non-game species which occur in 
the Resource Area. This high number can be 
attributed to the varied topography and climate 
occurring within the area as well as the Resource 
Area's proximity to ecologically diverse areas found 
nearby in Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and northern 
New Mexico. 

There are 79 species of non-game mammals, 82 
species of reptiles and amphibians, and 37 species 
of fish which occur in the Resource Area. 

Fish 

There are 37 species of fish which occur in the 
Resource Area. The only significant fishery 
habitats are the Gila River and the Rio Grande 
along with their perennial tributaries. Sport fish 
species include channel catfish, flathead catfish, 
bluegill, crappie, and largemouth bass. 

CULTURAL AND 

PALEONTOLOGICAL 

RESOURCES 



approximately AD 1400. Within this time period, 
several distinct changes occur and are characterized 
as the Early Pithouse Period, the Late Pithousc 
Period, and the Pueblo Period. Agriculture was a 
basic element in all of the Mogollon periods, but 
was probably supplemented by hunting and 
gathering. Archeological sites from all three of the 
above stated Mogollon periods are known to occur 
within the study region. In addition, the Apache 
are known to have occupied southern New Mexico 
from approximately AD 1650 to 1890. 
Archeological evidence for this occupation is rare, 
but Apache period sites could occur within the 
study area, as well as post-contact historic period 
sites (LeBlanc and Whalen 1980). 

Archeological surveys have documented sites and 
isolated occurrences representative of all the 
cultural periods described above. Several areas 
within the Mimbres Resource Area are considered 
to contain high densities of archeological sites. 
These high density areas include the East and West 
Mesas and the terraces of the Rio Grande, 
tributaries of the Rio Grande, the terraces of the 
Mimbres River, all permanent spring localities, and 
all large intermittent washes. 



Brief Culture History 

Several distinct cultural groups are known to have 
inhabited the region under consideration during 
the prehistoric period. The earliest human 
occupation occurred from about 9,500 BC to 
approximately 4,000 BC. This culture is known as 
the Paleoindian period and is divided into three 
traditions; Clovis, Folsom, and Piano. Isolated 
projectile points have been found within the study 
region which have been assigned to these 
Paleoindian cultures. The second major 
prehistoric cultural tradition in the region has been 
referred to as the "Archaic" or "Desert Archaic." 
The various Archaic cultures are believed to have 
occupied the study area from 7,000 BC to about 
AD 100. The Archaic cultures are believed to 
have been nonsedentary, pre-pottery hunters and 
gatherers. Archaic period "lithic scatter" sites are 
known to occur within the study region, and are 
primarily identified through various projectile 
point styles. The third major southwestern cultural 
group has been identified as the Mogollon. The 
Mogollon culture group has been divided into the 
western Mogollon and eastern or Jornada branch 
of the Mogollon. The Mogollon period starts at 
approximately AD 200 and extends to 



The Paleoindian period is represented primarily by 
isolated projectile point discoveries throughout the 
Mimbres Resource Area. No single component 
Paleoindian site is currently known within the 
Mimbres Resource Area but these sites are often 
deeply buried. Many other Paleoindian sites have 
been destroyed by thousands of years of cut and fill 
erosion. Numerous sites of the Archaic period 
have been documented throughout the Mimbres 
Resource Area. These sites are most often 
characterized as small campsites, lithic 
procurement localities, and specialized activity 
areas. La Cueva in the Organ Mountains is known 
to contain deeply stratified Archaic midden 
deposits. 

Many sites representative of the Mogollon period 
are known within the Mimbres Resource Area. 
The Old Town Site on the Mimbres River is a 
good example of a Classic Mimbres village. Most 
large Mimbres phase village sites within the 
Resource Area have been extensively damaged by 
pothunters. In many cases, pothunters have 
destroyed these types of sites with mechanized 
heavy equipment. Jornada Mogollon sites are 
fairly common and sites such as Los Tules, a 
pithouse village, and La Cueva contain Jornada 
Mogollon components. Also, many of the 



3-16 



prehistoric rock art sites are believed to date to 
the Mogollon period. 

Post-contact aboriginal sites such as Apachean 
sites are known to occur but are often hard to 
identify due to their ephemeral nature and the fact 
that the artifacts often resemble those from earlier 
periods. A wide variety of historic period sites are 
known to occur within the Resource Area. Some 
of these sites are located along two significant 
historic trails which pass through the Resource 
Area, the Camino Real and the Butterfield Trail. 
Historic sites include mining camps, military forts 
such as Fort Cummings, homesteads, and unique 
sites such as the historic Dripping Springs Natural 
Area Resort. 

Additional Class II and III archeological surveys 
will result in a more complete picture of 
archeological site types, subsistence, and settlement 
patterns within the Mimbres Resource Area. 

IN 1990, THE RESEARCH, ORIENTATION, 
PROTECTION, AND EVALUATION STUDY 
(ROPES) REVIEW WAS WRITTEN BY THE 
CENTER FOR ANTHROPOLOGICAL 
RESEARCH (CAR), NEW MEXICO STATE 
UNIVERSITY AS A CHALLENGE COST SHARE 
PROJECT WITH THE BLM (HART AND 
ACKERLY 1990). THE ROPES REVIEW 
FOCUSED ON THE STATUS OF 
ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH WITHIN THE 
MIMBRES RESOURCE AREA AND 
RECOMMENDED CULTURAL RESOURCE 
NONPROJECT FUNDING PRIORITIES FOR 
THE 1990's. 

PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES OCCUR 
THROUGHOUT THE MIMBRES RESOURCE 
AREA. VERTEBRATE FOSSILS AND TRACE- 
FOSSILS ARE FOUND IN MOST OF THE 
SEDIMENTARY ROCK FORMATIONS IN THE 
AREA REPRESENTING THE PALEOZOIC, 
CRETACEOUS, AND EARLY TERTIARY AGE, 
AND YOUNGER SEDIMENTS OF PLIOCENE 
AND QUATERNARY AGE. VERTEBRATE 
FOSSIL FAUNAS REPRESENT THOSE OF 
PERMIAN AMPHIBIANS AND EARLY 
REPTILES (280 TO 240 MILLION YEARS), 
CRETACEOUS DINOSAURS (80 TO 65 
MILLION YEARS), PRIMITD7E MAMMALS 
FROM THE PLIOCENE SANTA FE GROUP (15 
TO 3 MILLION YEARS), AND PLEISTOCENE 
MAMMALS (3 MILLION TO 12 THOUSAND 



YEARS) MUCH LIKE THE ANIMALS WE 
KNOW TODAY. 

MANY CAVES IN THE AREA HAVE PRODUCED 
THE BONES OF ANIMALS THAT BECAME 
FATALLY TRAPPED IN THEM THOUSANDS OF 
YEARS AGO. THE ADEN LAVA FLOW AND U- 
BAR-CAVE ARE EXAMPLES. A WELL- 
PRESERVED SKELETON OF A GROUND 
SLOTH WAS FOUND IN A LAVA TUBE IN THE 
1920'S AND MANY LATE QUATERNARY 
MAMMALS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED FROM 
OTHER CAVES IN THE AREA. THESE ADD 
IMPORTANT SPECIMENS AND DATA TO THE 
LIST OF EXTINCT FAUNA OF NEW MEXICO. 
REMAINS OF MAMMOTH, CAMEL, HORSE, 
AND GROUND SLOTH ARE COMMONLY 
FOUND IN THESE DEPOSITS BUT WHOLE 
SPECIMENS ARE EXTREMELY RARE. 

RECREATION 

The Mimbres Resource Area provides many 
diverse opportunities for recreation, both 
developed and dispersed. Developed recreation is 
dependent on developed recreation sites, such as 
campgrounds or picnic areas, while dispersed 
recreation occurs over large areas encompassing 
most of the land in the Resource Area, 
independent of developed facilities. Public land 
provides 47, 39, 12, and 34 percent of dispersed 
recreation opportunities, respectively in Dona Ana, 
Luna, Grant, and Hidalgo Counties (New Mexico 
Natural Resource Department 1986). 

Developed recreation on public land in the 
Resource Area is limited to the Organ Mountains, 
where camping is available at the 57-unit Aguirre 
Spring Recreation Area. Picnicking is available at 
the Aguirre Spring Recreation Area, the 14-unit 
La Cueva Picnic Area, and the 4-unit Dripping 
Springs Natural Area. Developed hiking trails in 
the Organs include the 6-mile Baylor Pass Trail, 
the 4-mile Pine Tree Trail, the Uj-mile Dripping 
Springs Natural Area Trail, the 1-mile La Cueva 
Trail, and the 2-mile Crawford Trail. The Aguirre 
Spring Recreation Area and Dripping Springs 
Natural Area receive approximately 51,400 visitors 
per year each for a total of 102,800 visitors at 
developed recreation sites in the Organ Mountains. 
The effect on visitor use of a recently implemented 
day use fee has not yet been evaluated. These sites 
are used mainly by people from the metropolitan 
area, Las Cruces (population 128,000), El Paso 



3-17 



(population 479,899), and Alamogordo (population 
24,024). Visitors from all over the United States 
and several foreign countries (particularly Mexico, 
West Germany, and Canada) use the area 
regularly. Accuracy of visitor use data is 
continually improving and should show an annual 
total for the Organ Mountains of nearly 200,000 
visits through 1990. 

The Resource Area issues approximately eight 
Special Recreation Permits annually. 
Approximately half of these permits are for 
hunting guides while the rest go to annual events 
including the Baylor Pass Trail Run, the Bataan 
Memorial Competitive March, the Great Overland 
Windsail Races, the Renegade Horse Endurance 
Ride, and the Coyote Classic Mountain Bike Race. 
The demand for Special Recreation Permits has 
been increasing steadily over the last several years, 
and it is likely that additional mountain bike races 
and motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle races will 
become regular events on public land in the 
Resource Area. These Special Recreation Permits 
depend on unique recreation resources including 
the Baylor Pass Trail, primitive roads in the Organ 
Mountains, and the Lordsburg Playa. 

Dispersed recreation occurs throughout the 
Resource Area, and public land provides the 
majority of outdoor recreation opportunities in 
Doha Ana, Luna, and Hidalgo Counties. 

Dispersed recreation in the Resource Area 
includes hunting, hiking, camping, picnicking, 
rockhounding, fishing, birdwatching, and vehicle 
recreation. Table 3-9 summarizes recreation visits 
by special recreation management area (SRMA) 
and activity. Hunting is the most widespread 
dispersed recreation use in the Resource Area, 
with hunting seasons for game birds, small game, 
or big game species open year-round. Big game 
hunts start on April 1 when the license year starts 
and run through March 31 when the license year 
ends. These license figures probably do not 
accurately reflect the number of hunters on public 
land in the Resource Area because many hunters 
(particularly deer, elk, bear, and turkey hunters) 
are more likely to use Forest Service land than 
public land, while many quail hunters and ibex 
hunters come to the Resource Area from all over 
the State and other states. 

Hiking is one of the major recreation uses of 
developed facilities in the Resource Area, with an 
estimated 40 percent of recreationists at Aguirre 



Spring Recreation Area engaging in hiking, and 
approximately 90 percent of recreationists at the 
Dripping Springs Natural Area. These estimates 
combined with the visitor estimate suggest that 
nearly 21,000 hikers use the Baylor Pass or Pine 
Tree Trails and over 46,000 hikers will use the 
Dripping Springs Natural Area annually. 

The New Mexico Statewide Comprehensive 
Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)(NM Natural 
Resources Department 1986) analyzed outdoor 
recreation activities statewide and found that 
approximately 34 percent of New Mexicans engage 
in nature viewing, 25 percent in sightseeing, 24 
percent in picnicking, 20 percent in pleasure 
driving (cruising), 17 percent in hiking, and 15 
percent in shore fishing. Other recreation uses 
involving public land include backpacking (4 
percent of New Mexicans), bicycling (6 percent), 
primitive camping (7 percent), developed camping 
(7 percent), horseback riding (2 percent), hunting 
(4 percent, NMDGF data indicate approximately 
10 percent of New Mexicans hunt), and Whitewater 
boating (1 percent). The SCORP further 
identified outdoor recreation needs by county for 
the State. The USDI Heritage Conservation and 
Recreation Service compiled a Natural Rivers 
Inventory, Natural and Free-flowing Phase in April 
of 1980. The report described the Gila River in 
Arizona and New Mexico as being natural and 
free-flowing, and qualifying for further study for 
wild, scenic or recreational river potential. In May 
of 1982, the USDI National Park Service 
completed an inventory of outstandingly 
remarkable values of the free-flowing rivers and 
determined that the Gila River in the Mimbres 
Resource Area contains five of the seven values 
which can qualify a river for further study. The 
Gila River between the Burro Mountains and 
Virden will be studied for wild, scenic or 
recreational status as part of the RMP. The RMP 
team will serve as the study team for the river in 
accordance with the BLM policy (see Gila River 
Study Report, Appendix J). 

The National Scenic Trails Act of 1968 required 
the Secretary of Agriculture to complete a 
Comprehensive Plan for the Continental Divide 
National Scenic Trail and for the Departments of 
Agriculture and Interior to prepare environmental 
assessments of the trail. The Comprehensive Plan 
was completed in 1985 and directed the BLM to 
analyze potential routes for the Continental Divide 
National Scenic Trail in RMPs. 



3-18 



TABLE 3-9 

ESTIMATED RECREATION VISITS BY 

SPECIAL RECREATION MANAGEMENT AREA (SRMA) AND ACTIVITY 



ACTIVITY 


ORGAN MOUNTAINS 


LOWER GILA BOX 


MIMBRES EXTENSIVE 


ORV 


1,000 


100 


10,000 


CAMPING 


10,000 


500 


3,000 


PICNICKING 


80,000 


500 


3,000 


HUNTING 


10,000 


100 


100,000 


HIKING 


40,000 


500 


10,000 


SIGHT SEEING 


20,000 





20,000 


ROCK CLIMBING 


1,000 





500 


BICYCLE 


5.000 





5.000 


TOTAL 


187,000 


1,700 


151,500 



Source: BLM, 1991, 



VISUAL RESOURCES 

The visual resources of the Resource Area have 
been inventoried and classified into Visual 
Resource Management (VRM) classes through the 
Las Cruces/Lordsburg MFP Amendment/EIS. 
VRM classes are management zones wherein 
management actions and controls on proposed 
actions vary in relation to scenic values. (See 
Appendix G.) Management objectives for VRM 
Classes are: 

Class I. Preserve the existing character of the 
landscape. Natural ecological changes and very 
limited management activities are allowed. Any 
change to the characteristic landscape must not 
attract attention. 

Class II. Retain the existing character of the 
landscape. The level of change to the character of 
the landscape should be low. Management 
activities may be seen, but should not attract the 
attention of the casual observer. Any changes 
must repeat the basic elements of form, line, color, 
and texture found in the predominant natural 
features of the characteristic landscape. 

Class III. Partially retain the existing character 
of the landscape. The level of change to the 
characteristic landscape can be moderate. 



Management activities may attract attention but 
should not dominate the view of the casual 
observer. Changes should repeat the basic 
elements found in the predominant natural 
features of the characteristic landscape. 

Class IV. Provide for management activities 
which require major modification of the existing 
landscape. The level of change to the 
characteristic landscape can be high. These 
management activities can dominate the landscape 
and be the major focus of viewer attention; 
however, every attempt should be made to 
minimize the impact of these activities through 
careful location, minimal disturbance, and 
repeating the basic elements. 

An 8,947-acre portion of the Organ Mountains is 
designated as a Scenic Area of Critical 
Environmental Concern (ACEC) and is managed 
as a VRM Class I area. VRM Class II areas 
include the wilderness study areas (WSAs), the 
Organ and Franklin Mountains, and most 
mountain ranges and hills in the Resource Area, 
especially along highways. Class III areas are 
mainly the flatlands, uplands, and basin areas along 
highways. Class IV areas comprise the nonhilly 
areas that are not visible from highways. See Map 
3-7. 



3-19 



WILDERNESS 

The Mimbrcs Resource Area contains 14 WSAs 
DESIGNATED IN 1980, totalling 382,909 acres. 
The BLM completed the New Mexico Statewide 
Wilderness Study Environmental Impact Statement 
and Wilderness Analysis Reports in January of 
1988. Portions of seven of these WSAs (totalling 
239,018 acres) are recommended as suitable for 
wilderness designation by the New Mexico State 
Director. These areas are the Aden Lava Flow 
WSA, the Big Hatchet Mountains WSA, the 
Cowboy Spring WSA, the Gila Lower Box WSA, 
the Organ Mountains WSA, and the West Potrillo 
Mountains and Mount Riley WSAs. The Alamo 
Hueco Mountains WSA, Blue Creek WSA, Cedar 
Mountains WSA, Cooke's Range WSA, Florida 
Mountains WSA, Robledo Mountains WSA, and 
Las Uvas Mountains WSA are recommended as 
nonsuitable for wilderness designation. 

FOUR other areas within the planning area 
boundary have been studied for wilderness 
suitability. All three areas are managed either 
jointly or completely by the San Simon Resource 
Area of the Safford District in Arizona. The 
Peloncillo Mountains WSA contains 12,317 acres 
of which 4,061 acres are within New Mexico. It 
has been recommended as suitable for wilderness 
designation. The 4,146-acre Guadalupe Canyon 
Instant Study Area was studied for wilderness 
suitability in the Coronado National Forest Plan, 
and was recommended as nonsuitable for 
wilderness designation. The 932-acre Apache Box 
AND THE 2,791-ACRE HOVERROCKER WSA 
were studied for wilderness suitability in the 
Arizona Mohave Wilderness EIS and 
recommended as nonsuitable for wilderness 
designation. 

All areas studied for wilderness suitability are 
currently being managed under the Interim 
Management Policy and Guidelines for Lands 
Under Wilderness Review , and will continue to be 
managed as WSAs until Congress either designates 
the areas as wilderness or releases them from the 
wilderness review process through legislation. 

Public land has been consolidated in four areas 
through acquisition of State trust or private lands, 
necessitating wilderness inventories on these areas. 
The four areas are the southern Pefia Blanca 
Inventory Unit in the Organ Mountains from Barr 
Canyon to Pefia Blanca; the Organ Needles 



Inventory Unit in the Organ Mountains from the 
southern boundary of the Organ Mountains WSA 
south to Squaw Peak; the Gray Peak Inventory 
Unit in the Peloncillo Mountains from Gray Peak 
south to Post Office Canyon; and the Apache Box 
Inventory Unit from Apache Box south to 
Crookson Peak. These four areas all meet the 
wilderness criteria for size, solitude, opportunities 
for primitive and unconfined types of recreation, 
and supplemental values (see Appendix I, for 
Wilderness Inventory Reports). The Pefia Blanca, 
Organ Needles, and Gray Peak Inventory Units all 
appear to be very natural. The Apache Box 
Inventory Unit has substantial human impacts to 
naturalness. 

SPECIAL STATUS SPECIES 

Under the authority of the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, the BLM is mandated to conserve, 
protect and recover special status species (T&E), 
THEIR ESSENTIAL HABITATS, AND 
DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT. Species 
proposed for FEDERAL listing as special status 
species and PROPOSED critical habitat shall be 
managed with the same level of protection as listed 
species. With candidate species, the BLM shall 
carry out management, consistent with the 
principles of multiple use for the conservation of 
candidate species and their habitats. The BLM 
shall carry out management for the conservation of 
State-listed species. State laws protecting these 
species apply to all BLM programs and actions to 
the extent that they are consistent with the Federal 
Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and 
other Federal laws. 

Plants 

THERE ARE 88 SPECIAL STATUS PLANT 
SPECIES WHICH OCCUR IN THE MIMBRES 
RESOURCE AREA. THESE PLANT SPECIES 
AND THEIR FEDERAL/STATE STATUS ARE 
LISTED IN APPENDIX L-l. 

Animals 

There are 56 special status animal species which 
occur within the Mimbres Resource Area. Of the 
56 species, 5 are listed as Federally endangered 
(FE), 3 are Federally threatened (FT), 19 are 
category 2 candidate species (FC2), 6 are State 
endangered 1 (SE1), and 23 are State endangered 



I 



3-20 



2 (SE2). SEE APPENDIX L-2 for the names and 
status of the special status species. 

RIPARIAN AND ARROYO 
HABITATS 

Riparian 

Riparian areas are lands directly influenced by 
permanent water. THEY HAVE visible vegetation 
or physical characteristics reflective of permanent 
water influence. Lake shores and stream banks are 
typical riparian areas. Also considered as riparian 
areas are springs, seeps, and drainages which have 
a water table CLOSE TO THE SURFACE with 
vegetation which is indicative of riparian areas. 

Riparian areas are unique and among the most 
productive and important ecosystems. 
Characteristically, riparian areas display a greater 
diversity of plants and wildlife than adjoining 
ecosystems. Healthy riparian systems filter and 
purify water as it moves through the riparian zone, 
reduce sediment loads, and enhance soil stability, 
and contribute to groundwater recharge and base 
flows. 

Within the Mimbres Resource Area are 16 
designated riparian areas. These areas are: 

Dofia Ana County--Sotol Creek, Indian Hollow 
Creek, Filmore Canyon, Ice Canyon, Adams 
Riparian area. 

Grant County-Apache Box, Bear Creek, Gila 
Middle Box, Ash Creek, Blue Creek. 

Hidalgo-Guadalupe Canyon, Gila Lower Box, San 
Simon Cienega, Emory Canyon, Thompson Canyon 
(BIG HATCHET MOUNTAINS). 

Luna County-Spring Canyon. 

These riparian areas contain diverse riparian 
vegetation types. Types of vegetation found 
include: 

Trees-Arizona sycamore, Fremont cottonwood, 
netleaf hackberry, Arizona walnut, box-elder, velvet 



ash, Gooding willow, western soapberry, desert 
willow, various oaks and junipers. 

Shrubs-Apache plume, screwbean mesquite, 
seepwillow, rabbitbrush, chokecherry, honey 
mesquite, sumac. 

Arroyo 

Arroyo habitats are an important component of 
wildlife habitat and watershed within the Resource 
Area. These areas are directly influenced by runoff 
from seasonal storms (usually summer, winter) and 
provide cover and feeding areas for wildlife in 
relation to adjoining lands. Arroyo habitats are 
usually found in grassland/shrubland vegetation 
types, extending out from canyons which drain 
desert mountain ranges. 

Common vegetation found in these habitats 
include: 

Trees-desert willow, netleaf hackberry, western 
soapberry, juniper. 

Shrubs- Apache plume, rabbitbrush, sumac, honey 
mesquite, fourwing saltbush, algerita. 

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC 
CONDITIONS 

The following profile on social and economic 
conditions was prepared for the four counties 
within the Mimbres Resource Area. A separate 
supplement for the City of El Paso and El Paso 
County has also been prepared but, due to space 
limitations, was not included in this document. 
Copies of that document are available at the 
Mimbres Resource Area Office. To briefly 
summarize, there is a close social and economic 
relationship between the City of El Paso, El Paso 
County and public land in the Mimbres Resource 
Area, particularly in southern Dofla Ana County. 
Since most land in Texas is privately-owned, many 
Texans rely on the public land in New Mexico for 
recreational opportunities. Economic and 
population growth in the "Rio Grande Corridor," 
between Las Cruces and El Paso, is also closely 
related. 



3-21 



Population 



Housing Trends 



The population of the Mimbres Resource Area 
increased from 144,178 in 1980 to 179,200 in 1988 
(see Table 3-10). Ninety percent of this increase 
(31,660) occurred in Dofla Ana County. While the 
population of Luna County increased by 2,515 and 
the population of Grant County increased by 996, 
the population of Hidalgo county decreased by 
149. The population increase in Dofia Ana County 
was concentrated in the Rio Grande Valley from 
Leasburg to the Texas State Line. This area, 
known as the "Rio Grande Corridor," has also 
been the scene of rapid economic development. 
The population changes in the Mimbres Resource 
Area are the result of migration to areas of 
economic growth and emigration from areas of 
economic decline, and are closely related to the 
changes in reported wages adjusted for inflation. 
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research 
has predicted similar trends in population growth 
until the year 2010. According to these 
predictions, the population of Dofia Ana County 
will increase by 117.2 percent to 211,100, the 
population of Grant County will increase by 35 
percent to 33,800, the population of Hidalgo 
County will increase by 42.9 percent to 8,655, and 
the population of Luna County will increase by 
54.5 percent to 24,100. These predictions are 
consistent with National population trends toward 
slow growth or decline in rural areas and 
concentration of population in mid-sized cities and 
suburban areas. 



According to the 1980 Bureau of the Census 
report, there were 52,191 housing units in the 
Mimbres Resource Area. Dofia Ana County had 
33,944 permanent housing units and 5,456 mobile 
homes, Grant County had 9,631 housing units and 
1,754 mobile homes, Hidalgo County had 2,326 
housing units and 359 mobile homes, and Luna 
County had 6,290 housing units and 1,286 mobile 
homes. From 1980 until 1985, the State of New 
Mexico maintained building inspection offices in 
Las Cruces, to serve Dofla Ana County, in Deming 
to serve Grant and Luna Counties, and in 
Lordsburg, to serve Hidalgo County. In 1985 these 
offices were consolidated into the Las Cruces 
Building Inspection Office which serves the entire 
Resource Area. As a result, it is not possible to 
quantify the number of housing units built in each 
county. However, since 90 percent of the 
population growth in the Mimbres Resource Area 
occurred in Dofia Ana County form 1980 to 1988, 
and 94 percent of new jobs created in the 
Resource Area during this time were in Dofla Ana 
County; it would be reasonable to assume that 
over 90 percent of the new housing built in the 
Mimbres Resource Area from 1980 to 1987 was 
built in Dofla Ana County. The housing industry 
is very sensitive to fluctuations in the business 
cycle and particularly to interest rate fluctuations. 
The number of building permits issued in the 
Mimbres Resource Area reached its peak in 1984, 
with 1,761 housing units authorized. Since that 
time, the number of permits issued for the 
Resource Area has fluctuated between 700 and 
1,000. 









TABLE 3-10 










POPULATION CHANGE 1980 TO 1988 














MIMBRES 


YEAR 


DONA ANA 


LUNA 


GRANT 


HIDALGO 


RESOURCE AREA 


1980 


96,340 


15,585 f 


26,204 


6,049 


144,178 


1988 


128,000 


18,100 


27,200 


5,900 


179,200 


CHANGE 


31,660 


2,515 


996 


(149) 


35,022 


% CHANGE 


32.86% 


6.14% 


3.805 


2.465 


4.295 



Source: Bureau of Business and Economic Research, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 1988. 



3-22 



Employment Trends 

In 1979, there were 41,381 jobs in the Mimbres 
Resource Area, and in 1987 there were 51,915 for 
a net increase of 10,534. 

Dofia Ana gained 9,962 new jobs or 95 percent of 
the jobs created in the Mimbres Resource Area. 
Grant County lost 31 jobs, while Luna County 
gained 332 new jobs and Hidalgo County gained 
274 new jobs. This amounts to an increase of 
almost 25 percent for the Mimbres Resource Area. 
Dofla Ana County had the greatest percentage 
increase in jobs of almost 34 percent. 
Employment in Hidalgo County increased by 20 
percent, and in Luna County by almost 8 percent. 
Grant County lost less than 1 percent of 1979 
employment. The private sector gained 7,817 new 
jobs in the Mimbres Resource Area; while 
government employment increased by 2,717. The 
retail trade sector accounted for an increase of 
3,068 new jobs for a gain of 43 percent, the service 
sector gained 2,007 new jobs for a gain of 54 
percent, 1,208 new jobs were created in agriculture 
for a gain of 49 percent, and manufacturing gained 
1,113 new jobs for a gain of 29 percent. 
Employment in the mining industry declined by 
1,021 or 39 percent, and the construction industry 
lost 250 jobs, or an 8 percent decrease. From 1979 
until 1987, government employment increased by 
2,717, for an increase of 20 percent. Employment 
by local governments added 2,573 new jobs for a 
29 percent increase, employment by State 
government increased by 812 or 22 percent, and 
Federal employment increased by 332 or 7 percent. 

Trends in Per Capita Income 

When corrected for inflation, per capita income in 
the Mimbres Resource Area has increased by less 
than 1 percent from 1979 to 1987. Dofia Ana 
County is the only county to experience an 
increase in per capita income after inflation. From 
1979 to 1985, the average per capita incomes of 
Luna, Grant, and Hidalgo Counties declined in 
relation to the State average while per capita 
income in Dofia Ana increased in relation to the 
State average. Per capita income is less than the 
State average in all the counties in the Mimbres 
Resource Area. Dofia Ana County has the highest 
per capita income ($8,532), followed by Grant 
County ($7,860), Hidalgo County ($7,539), and 
Luna County ($6,944). The average per capita 
income for the State of New Mexico was $8,881 in 



1985. The reduction of per capita income for 
Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna Counties is the result of 
unemployment in the metal mining, smelting, and 
construction industries. Most of the new jobs 
created in these counties have been from the lower 
paying service, retail trade, and government 
sectors. Another measure of aggregate purchasing 
power is reported wages from the Covered 
Employment and Wages Quarterly Report by the 
New Mexico Employment Security Department. 
This report summarizes the total reportable wages 
in each employment sector for the counties of the 
State. The result of this shift in employment is 
even more striking when 1987 wages (corrected for 
inflation) are compared to 1979 wages. Wages in 
the mining sector decreased by 42 percent from 
1979 to 1987, wages in the construction sector 
decreased by 7 percent, and wages in the Federal 
Government Sector decreased by 8 percent. 
During the same period, wages in the service 
sector increased by 63 percent, in local government 
by 38 percent and in finance insurance and real 
estate by 35 percent. These changes have resulted 
from macro-economic trends which have affected 
many regions of the nation in similar ways. 

Summary 

From 1979 until 1987, a social and economic 
transformation has been occurring in the Mimbres 
Resource Area. There has been remarkable 
economic and population growth in Dofla Ana 
County, and slow or negative economic and 
population growth in the remaining counties. This 
has resulted in a concentration of population and 
income in Dofla Ana County, principally in the 
area from Las Cruces to El Paso, Texas known as 
"The Rio Grande Corridor." It is likely that this 
trend will continue, and that the Counties of 
Grant, Luna, and Hidalgo will continue to grow 
more slowly in relation to Dofla Ana County. 

Attitudes 

Public opinion and attitude research has shown 
that most of the general public is not informed 
about many areas of government policy and is, 
therefore, not concerned. Another large group 
consists of people who have knowledge of policy 
issues, but do not generally have strong opinions 
because they do not feel as if they arc directly 
affected, or they do not feel that they are well 
informed. The vast majority of the public who do 
not volunteer their opinions belong to these two 



3-23 



groups. Persons who are concerned enough to be 
informed and volunteer their opinions are 
generally motivated by their value system or 
economic concerns and termed an "issue public." 
These persons are more likely to participate in 
civic and governmental affairs and are likely to 
volunteer their opinions in an effort to influence 
policy decisions. They are a small but important 
segment of the population who tend to be "opinion 
leaders" (Oskamp 1977). 

There are two broad categories of issue public 
which have provided comments for the RMP/EIS 
process. One group is primarily motivated by 
economic values; they have an economic interest in 
the development of natural resources, and a strong 
belief in the ability of the free market system to 
provide economically based solutions to resource 



The second "issue public" that provided comments 
for the RMP/EIS process are motivated by 
environmental concerns. Research has shown that 
the numbers of persons expressing these concerns 
have increased dramatically since the 1960's. This 
increase is related to media coverage of 
environmental disasters such as oil spills, as well as 
to direct observations of pollution and 
environmental problems (Oskamp 1977). These 
persons are motivated by concerns of 
environmental deterioration and perceive private 
economic interests as contributors to the problem. 

The most controversial issues are those which are 
concerned with the conflict over land use for 
economic purposes versus ecological benefit. These 
issues include grazing, wilderness, ACEC, access to 
public land, and land ownership adjustments. 
Noncontroversial issues involve land uses that are 
seen to be destructive by both issue publics, such 
as unrestricted off-road vehicle use or clearly 
defined areas of resource protection such as 
cultural resources and mining reclamation. Vehicle 
management, minerals, cultural and paleontological 
resources, right-of-way corridors, and recreation 
are relatively noncontroversial issues at this time. 
There are two "issue publics" with fundamentally 
conflicting philosophies over resource issues. On 
one hand is the ranching community, on the other, 
the environmentally motivated public. Their 
positions are strongly held because they are based 
on fundamental values. The economically 
motivated ranching community views public land as 
a source of livelihood for their communities. They 



view the value of the land in terms of it's capacity 
for production, and are opposed to perceived 
restrictions to the economic use of the land. The 
environmentally concerned public perceive the land 
as habitat for man and the native complement of 
species. They place high value on biodiversity, 
aesthetics, and the land as a source of pure air and 
water; and as refuge from urban life where it is 
possible to find solitude. These may not be 
mutually exclusive conditions; it is the goal of the 
planning process to balance economic use of the 
land with a healthy and productive ecosystem. 

Social Conditions 

The population of the Mimbres Resource Area has 
a long and varied history. The earliest inhabitants 
were Amerindians who first occupied the area as 
early as 12,000 B.C. The first inhabitants of the 
area were hunters who subsisted on now-extinct 
animals such as giant bison and mammoth. These 
hunters disappeared by 6,000 B.C. and were 
replaced by a hunting and gathering society. By 
3,000 B.C. the first agriculture was introduced into 
this area from Mexico. The importance of 
agriculture increased until AD 1,200 when there 
were extensive pueblo villages along the Rio 
Grande, Mimbres, and Gila valleys. Two distinct 
cultural groups, the Jornada Mogollon and the 
Mimbres survived by farming and hunting. The 
fate of these people is unknown, but the remains 
of their villages are still found in the valleys, and 
their pottery has become world famous. Sometime 
after the departure of these farming peoples, the 
area was occupied by nomadic hunting groups. 
The most famous of these, the Apache, were 
inhabiting this area when Don Juan de Onate led 
the first Europeans through this area in 1598. The 
initial settlement of this area proceeded slowly. 
Refugees from the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 settled 
at Ysleta, Texas. Some of their descendants now 
occupy the village of Tortugas in Doha Ana 
County. The Camino Real, a trade route from 
Chihuahua to Santa Fe, was established in the 
1700's and passed through Dofla Ana County. The 
villages of Mesilla, Las Cruces, Doha Ana, and 
Robledo were stations on the Camino Real. 
Control of New Mexico passed from Spain to 
Mexico with the Treaty of Cordova on August 24, 
1821. The area was a remote northern province of 
Mexico until the Mexican War of 1848 and the 
Gadsden Purchase of 1853. The first Anglo 
settlers arrived in the 1860's (Jenkins 1973). As a 
result of the history, the Mimbres Resource Area 



3-24 



has a blend of Anglo and Hispanic culture which 
gives it a distinctive quality. 

The present population of the area is almost 
evenly divided between Hispanic and Anglo (U.S. 
Bureau of the Census 1980). The greatest 
concentration of Hispanics is in the Mesilla Valley, 
where many of the small towns have a distinctive 
"New Mexican" atmosphere. The present 
population is influx because of an extensive 
amount of immigration into Dofla Ana County. In 
1980, only about 50 percent of the residents of the 
Mimbres Resource Area had been born in the 
State of New Mexico. After rapid growth in the 
1970's, the rate of growth has slowed. This is due 
to several demographic factors; the baby bust, less 
migration as the population gets older, a general 
lowering of fertility rate, and the fact that 
international migrants tend not to stay in New 
Mexico. The population will continue to age until 
2010 and beyond. In 1980, 27 percent of the 
population of the Mimbres Resource Area were 14 
or younger, 65 percent were from 15 to 64 years of 
age, and 9 percent were 65 years of age or older. 
In 1990, 25 percent of the population is 14 or 
younger, 64 percent of the population was 15 to 64 
years of age, and 11 percent were older than 65. 
The 65+ age group will become an increasing 
proportion of the population, particularly in Luna 
and Hidalgo Counties; Dofla Ana County and 
Grant County will also follow this trend, but will 
have a lower proportion of the 65+ age group 
(UNM 1988). The educational level of the 
population will increase particularly in Dofla Ana 
County where approximately 20 percent of the 
residents are enrolled in post-secondary education. 
Another trend which is apparent is the return of 
professionals to graduate school or other training 
programs to keep pace with the rapid technological 
pace of the late twentieth century. The Mimbres 
Resource Area's future population will be older, 
more educated and will be more likely to be 
employed in the service sector or in government 
than the present population. The cultural mixture 
of the population will remain approximately 50 
percent Hispanic and 50 percent Anglo with a 
small number of Native Americans and other 
ethnic groups. The population will be more urban 
and less rural, although agriculture will remain an 
important part of the social environment. The 
concerns and attitudes of the population will be 
affected by these long-term demographic trends. 



Economic Relationships 



MINERAL 
HOUSING 



PRODUCTION AND 



From 1985 until 1989, 1,916,640 cubic yards of 
sand and gravel, 80,756 tons of building stone, 
53,066 cubic yards of cinders, and 853,538 cubic 
yards of other materials were produced from BLM 
sources in the Mimbres Resource Area. These 
products had an on-site value of $762,201. These 
products were essential to the construction 
industry which produced approximately $50 million 
in wages during 1989. From 1980 until 1989, an 
average of 1,021 houses were constructed annually 
in the Mimbres Resource Area. This requires an 
annual production of 50,650 cubic yards for 
housing purposes, assuming a requirement of 50 
cubic yards of aggregate per housing unit. The 
remainder of the materials produced from BLM 
sources were used for commercial construction, 
road construction, and road maintenance. 

Source Location 

Sand, gravel, and building stone are required 
materials for building and road construction. These 
products have a low unit cost at the mine site. The 
critical components of cost for these resources is 
the cost of transportation to the site of use 
(Peterson et al. 1984). Optimally, the sites of 
production should be as close as possible to the 
sites of use. However, this is not always desirable 
because the environmental costs of production, 
such as air pollution and reduction in visual quality 
are not compatible with the sites of use, such as 
residential development. The direct costs of 
transportation should be balanced with the indirect 
costs of production to the community. The cost of 
transporting aggregate is $0.20 per yard/mile (Las 
Cruces Transit Mix 1991). An increase in the haul 
distance of 30 miles would result in an increase of 
80 percent in the cost of aggregate for the concrete 
producer, an increase of 12 percent for 3,000 
pounds concrete delivered to the site, and an 
increase of 6 percent for a typical 2,000 square feet 
house footing and slab. Assuming that the costs of 
production are equivalent at any site and that 
scarcity of certain types of aggregate is not a 
factor, the relocation of aggregate pits to site 30 
miles more distant would add about $500 to the 
cost of an $85,000 frame house (Cal Pacific 
Estimators). The effect of an increased cost of 



3-25 



aggregate on the costs of road construction and 
maintenance are dependent on the location of the 
road in relation to the source of aggregate. 

RECREATION 

There is a substantial demand for recreational 
activities on public land in the Mimbres Resource 
Area, with an estimated 360,000 visitor use days 
for outdoor recreation annually. At the present 
time, picnicking accounts for about 30 percent of 
the visitor use days in the Resource Area, this is 
followed by hunting, hiking, sightseeing, camping, 
bicycling, and rock climbing. Recent surveys of 
recreation use indicate a high demand for multi- 
use areas within 1 hour travel time of urban 
centers (US Fish and Wildlife Service 1980). 
Recreational activities that have gained in 
popularity from 1960 until 1980 include bicycling, 
running or jogging, day hiking, camping, and 
backpacking. Hunting, and sightseeing have 
remained stable during this time period. 
"Nonconsumptive" uses of wildlife such as bird 
watching and photography have experienced a slow 
but steady growth from 1960 until 1980. 



during 1980 (USDI Fish and Wildlife Service 
Analyses of the 1980 Survey of Fishing, Hunting, 
and Wildlife Associated Recreation). Sixty percent 
of this was spent for travel, meals and lodging, 39 
percent was spent for equipment, and roughly 2 
percent was spent for access fees. Using these 
estimates, the 110,000 hunter days (New Mexico 
Department of Game and Fish 1990) in the 
Mimbres Resource Area generated over $14 
million in revenues. The expenditures for other 
forms of outdoor recreation are more difficult to 
assess because there is very little data. 
Expenditures for recreation are proportional to the 
distance traveled, the equipment required and the 
entry fees paid. Since there were an estimated 
360,000 visitor days for recreational purposes on 
land in the Mimbres Resource Area; recreation is 
making a large contribution to the local economy. 
The greatest economic contribution is made by 
those forms of recreation which draw visitors from 
outside of the Resource Area, and which require 
large expenditures for equipment or attract visitors 
frequently. 

VEGETATION 



The economic benefits of recreational activities are 
difficult to assess because in many cases market 
pricing for outdoor recreation does not exist, and 
some benefits attributable to outdoor recreational 
activities are external to the existing pricing 
mechanisms (Ward 1980). Two methods have 
been used to determine economic benefits derived 
from outdoor recreation; the travel-cost method 
and surveys of "willingness to pay" for recreational 
experiences. The travel-cost method is based on 
the fact that travel is generally the single greatest 
expense incurred in the recreational experience. 
Both methods have inherent weaknesses in that the 
"willingness to pay" method relies on the 
perceptions of recreational users which may be 
biased by the context of the survey, and on the 
other hand, the travel-cost method is not based on 
the actual site prices (entry fees). The economic 
effect of recreation on local economies is best 
estimated from the expenditures of recreationists 
(Flather, C. H. and Hoekstra, T. W. 1989). The 
expenditures of hunters have been increasing at a 
rate of 12 percent per year on a constant dollar 
basis (Joyce 1989). In Texas and New Mexico, the 
average big game hunter spent $277 per day, the 
average small game hunter spent $91 per day, the 
average waterfowl hunter spent $79 per day, and 
other hunters spent an average of $51 per day 



Sales of native vegetation in the Mimbres 
Resource Area are a small but significant portion 
of resource production. In recent years, the 
popularity of "desert landscaping" has increased 
because of its low maintenance and water 
requirements. This trend can be expected to 
continue as Dofla Ana County becomes more 
urbanized and residential development moves from 
the irrigated Rio Grande Valley to the drier sites 
on the East and West Mesas. If water is the 
limiting factor to population growth in the 
Southwest, then desert landscaping will be essential 
to conserve water supplies. Recommended plants 
for desert landscaping in the Mimbres Resource 
Area include: desert olive (Forestiera neomexicana), 
desert willow, (Chilopsis linearis), mesquite 
(Prosopsis pubescens), Apache plume (Fallugia 
paradoxa), broom dalea (Dalea scoparia), chamisa 
(Chrysothamnus naseosus), cliffrose (Cowania 
neomexicana), creosotebush (Larrea tridentata), 
four-wing saltbrush (Atriplex canescens), littleleaf 
sumac (Rhus microphylla), mariola (Parthenium 
incanum), Yucca spp., beargrass (Nolina 
microcarpa), ocotillo (Fourquieria splendens), Agave 
spp., and prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.) 
(Phillips 1987). At the present time, 200 to 500 
native plants are sold annually in the Mimbres 
Resource Area. The retail value of these plants 



3-26 



ranges from $10 to $25 for prickly pear cactus to in the Resource Area, but it could be developed to 

over $65 for Spanish dagger yucca (Budagher's a greater extent if other sources of native plants, 

Nursery 1990). The economic contribution of the such as West Texas, decline. If population and 

vegetation sales program is from $6,000 to $21,000 housing trends continue, the use of drought 

per year and benefits small local business. This tolerant native vegetation for landscaping will 

represents a small portion of the native plant trade increase. 



3-27 



CHAPTER 4 



CHAPTER 4 ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES 



INTRODUCTION 



This chapter analyzes the impacts which would 
result from implementing THE PROPOSED 
PLAN. THE PROPOSED RMP IS 

ALTERNATIVE D (THE PREFERRED 
ALTERNATIVE IN THE DRAFT) MODIFIED AS 
A RESULT OF PUBLIC INPUT. 

This chapter also analyzes the cumulative impacts 
resulting from Continuing Management Guidance 
and Actions which are common to all alternatives, 
as the impacts are likely to occur no matter which 
alternative is ultimately selected. This chapter 
further analyzes the anticipated impacts of the four 
issues and nine management concerns as they 
relate to THE PROPOSED PLAN. Cumulative 
impacts are summarized at the end of this chapter. 

The cause of an impact is tied to a component of 
the PROPOSED PLAN as identified in Chapter 2. 
The effect of the impact is tied to a component of 
the environment described in Chapter 3. The 
impacts discussed in this chapter were assessed on 
the basis of the description of the PROPOSED 
PLAN presented in Chapter 2. This assessment 
took into account the mitigation measures and 
standard stipulations described in Chapter 2, 
Continuing Management Guidance. Because of 
those design features included to minimize 
environmental impacts, the impacts assessed in this 
chapter are considered to be unavoidable. If 
impacts are not discussed, the analysis determined 
that impacts would not occur or would be 
insignificant. The following elements of the 
environment were analyzed but are not addressed 
since no impacts were identified: climate, 
topography, fire, prime or unique farmlands, 
floodplains, hazardous waste, and wetlands. A 



summary of the impacts by alternative is presented 
in Table S-2. 

The "long-term" for purposes of the analysis in this 
document is 20 years and the "short-term" is 5 
years. The analysis of unavoidable adverse impacts, 
short-term versus long-term productivity, and 
irreversible and irretrievable impacts is discussed in 
the impact analysis for each resource rather than 
under a separate heading. If irreversible and 
irretrievable impacts or short versus long-term 
productivity are not discussed in a given section, 
there are none. 

Following selection of an RMP, activity plans with 
environmental analyses will be developed where 
needed to implement the RMP and to provide 
specific guidance for management of affected areas. 
Specific land-use decisions, however, will be made 
for areas to be designated as Areas of Critical 
Environmental Concern (ACECs) and for off-road 
vehicle designations. The emphasis of this chapter 
is the general resource allocation issues, rather 
than site-specific impacts. Site-specific 
environmental analyses will be conducted for 
specific projects and proposals prior to 
implementation. THE ANALYSES WILL BE 
CONDUCTED BY AN INTERDISCIPLINARY 
TEAM OF BLM RESOURCE SPECIALISTS. 
CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION WITH 
APPROPRIATE AGENCIES, ORGANIZATIONS, 
AND INDD7IDUALS WILL BE AN INTEGRAL 
PART OF THE PROCESS. ENVIRONMENTAL 
ASSESSMENTS (EAs) WILL BE COMPLETED 
BEFORE STARTING ANY PROJECT. ALL EAs 
WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC REVIEW. 



4-1 



THIS PAGE IS LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK 



4-2 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 
AND ACTIONS 



This section analyzes the cumulative impacts 
resulting from Continuing Management Guidance. 
These impacts are common to all alternatives and 
would likely occur no matter which alternative is 
ultimately selected. The estimated surface area 
disturbed per year over a 20-year period under 
Continuing Management Guidance is summarized 
in Table 4-1 (acreages calculated from figures in 
Table 2-1). 

TABLE 4-1 
ESTIMATED SURFACE AREA DISTURBED PER YEAR 





TOTAL AREA 


TYPE OF 


DISTURBED 


ACTION 


(ACRES) 


Oil & Gas Exploration Wells 


0.6 


Oi I & Gas Access Roads 


0.9 


Geothermal Exploration Wei Is 


0.3 


Geothermal Access Roads 


0.9 


Mining Notices 


30 


Mining Plans of Operation 


0.9 


Mineral Material Sales 


83 


Fencing 


2.4 


Pipelines 


20 


Troughs 


0.4 


Storage Tanks 


0.1 


Wells 


1 


Prescribed Burning 


2 


Leases-2920 


5 


Permits-2920 


10 


R&PPs 


80 


Linear ROWs 


600 


Site ROWs 


50 


Vegetative Products Removal 


0.05 


Water Spreaders 


0.025 


Wire Checks 


0.2 


Wildfires 


125 


Spring Developments 


0.1 


Umbrella Catchments 


0.1 


Exclosures 


0.25 


TOTAL (Rounded) 


1,020 



Source: BLM Files 1991 

MINERALS 

About 3,250 acres of land in the southern portion 
of the West Potrillo Mountains have high potential 
for volcanic cinders. About 3,160 acres in the 
Organ Mountains Wilderness Study Area (WSA), 
1,800 acres in the Florida Mountains WSA, and 



500 acres in the Cooke's Range WSA have high 
potential for the occurrence of locatable minerals. 
The restrictions on mining imposed by the Interim 
Management Policy for WSAs would preclude 
exploration, development, and production of 
mineral resources in these areas. The Baylor 
Recreation Area, a withdrawal made under the 
Classification and Multiple Use Act, contains 
about 200 acres that have high potential for the 
occurrence of locatable minerals. This area will 
continue to be closed and unavailable for 
exploration and development under the mining 
laws. 

The public land in the West Potrillos represents a 
major regional source of volcanic cinders. 
Producers may have to consider mining on State 
trust land in the West Potrillos. There would not 
be any immediate or short-term impacts caused by 
the Interim Management Policy restrictions on 
mining in the Organs, Floridas, or Cooke's Range. 
However, there could be long-term, adverse, 
cumulative impacts if areas like these are 
unavailable for mineral production. The United 
States could be deprived of potential sources of 
base and precious metals. 

(See Appendix A for the Mineral Resources Policy 
and Mineral Leasing Proposals.) 

LANDS 

Exchanges and sales can be complicated by 
valuable commodities of sand and gravel that occur 
in the Mimbres Resource Area, especially in the 
rapidly growing community around Las Cruces in 
Dona Ana County. The costs of these 
commodities, when considered in the appraisal 
price, WOULD raise the fair market value of the 
lands. Excavation, to remove sand and gravel, 
could AFFECT future use of lands for commercial 
and industrial purposes. 

DEVELOPMENT OF vehicular access in the 
Mimbres Resource Area could enhance the 
issuance of linear and site rights-of-way by opening 
new routes into public land. Some rangcland 



4-3 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



improvements could block access to right-of-way 
sites unless special mitigation measures are 
developed. 

Some withdrawals and land classifications prohibit 
the BLM from administering specific public land 
laws within the Mimbres Resource Area, thus 
creating management conflicts. 

Cultural and paleontological resources, WSAs, 
ACECs, visual resource management (VRM), and 
special status species (plants and animals) can 
restrict the issuance of land authorizations 
(rights-of-way, exchanges, sales, recreation and 
public purposes) and require special mitigation 
stipulations. Appendix B contains the lands 
related policy and regulations. 

IN SUMMARY, EXTRACTION OF VALUABLE 
DEPOSITS OF SAND AND GRAVEL could 
impact the exchange program. Withdrawals and 
classifications which prohibit BLM from 
administering specific public land laws could create 
management conflicts. DEVELOPMENT OF 
vehicular access could enhance right-of-way 
issuance by opening up new routes into public 
land. Cultural and paleontological resources, 
WSAs, ACECs, VRM and special status species 
(plants and animals) can restrict land 
authorizations by requiring special mitigation 
stipulations. 

ACCESS 

As mineral exploration and development occur, 
access routes will likely be created which will 
improve vehicular access to and across existing 
blocks of public land, particularly where mineral 
potential is high. Mining notices and plans of 
operation could provide approximately 22 access 
routes annually, while oil and gas or geothermal 
exploration and access roads could produce 
approximately two access routes per year. 

Access to public land will improve with the 
acquisition (THROUGH SALE OR EXCHANGE 
FROM WILLING SELLERS) of isolated tracts of 
private and State trust lands throughout the 
Resource Area, particularly where small parcels 
control access TO PUBLIC LAND. 



Acquisition of lands or easements will generally 
improve legal and vehicular access while disposal 
of lands will generally hinder legal access 
opportunities or potential vehicular access 
development. Legal access to public land can also 
be improved by actions of outside agencies, such as 
easement acquisition by the State Highway 
Department, or the construction of new county 
roads. 

Linear rights-of-way often provide excellent access 
routes to or across public land provided the 
right-of-way access roads are left open to the 
public. The majority of linear rights-of-way in the 
Resource Area are for short developments near 
towns, but occasional linear projects traverse the 
entire Resource Area or large portions of it, and 
these projects can create excellent access routes to 
vast acreages of public land. Of the 40 projected 
annual linear rights-of-way, only two to four are 
likely to produce major access routes that will 
significantly impact the public. Site rights-of-way 
often require access roads that can also provide 
excellent access for the public. 

Livestock developments can improve or restrict 
access depending on the method of construction 
and type of development. Pipeline developments 
generally improve access as new vehicle routes are 
created for pipeline construction or maintenance. 
Fence construction can impede access if provisions 
are not made to ensure that existing vehicle routes 
are not blocked. Access can be maintained where 
such construction is on public land, but not on 
private or State trust lands. Livestock 
developments should provide approximately nine 
access routes per year. Installation of massive fence 
arrays characteristic of high-intensity 
short-duration grazing systems will significantly 
impede access routes unless special mitigation is 
included in the implementation of the project, such 
as provision of alternate access routes. 

IN SUMMARY, access to and across public land in 
the Mimbres Resource Area would improve as a 
result of most minerals actions, land acquisition, 
right-of-way development, and some livestock 
developments. Access to and across public land 
would suffer from certain livestock developments 
and from loss of access routes through road 
closures. 



4-4 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



LIVESTOCK GRAZING 

Oil and gas and geothermal exploration and 
development and the access roads built in 
conjunction with these actions would initially cause 
some interruption in livestock patterns. The 
animals would adapt after a short period. Mining 
notices and plans of operation are active programs 
in the Resource Area. The potential for disrupting 
livestock patterns in the area is more likely with a 
longer ADAPTATION period depending on the 
amount of activity INVOLVED. Under this 
alternative, approximately 123 acres would be 
disturbed on a yearly basis, so impacts would be 
highly localized. Mineral material sales (salable 
minerals) are usually NOT concentrated in an 
easily accessible area for the public. If these areas 
are located within an allotment, the areas and 
access to these areas could become hazardous to 
livestock when used frequently. Livestock will 
normally cease using these areas as the vegetation 
disappears. 

Lands actions include exchanges, sales and 
acquisition ON predetermined areas. If the 
ACQUIRED land becomes part of a grazing 
allotment, and is determined suitable for grazing 
by domestic livestock, the number of livestock 
could be increased on the allotment. By the same 
token, if land is sold and as a result fenced out of 
a grazing allotment, the number of livestock 
grazing that allotment would be reduced. LEASE 
AGREEMENTS COULD BE NEGOTIATED 
BETWEEN LANDOWNERS FOR CONTROL OF 
THE PROPERTY. FENCING WOULD ALTER 
LIVESTOCK MOVEMENT AND PATTERNS. 
Exchanges usually do not change the status quo of 
the allotment as the lands are either acquired by 
the Bureau or another agency and remain within 
the allotment. The percent PUBLIC LAND USE or 
the amount of revenue paid the Federal 
government would change with all these actions. 

R&PP actions, depending on their purpose, can 
exclude livestock use. Most of these are small areas 
of 20 acres or less. These would have little effect 
on a livestock operation as a whole unless they 
were located in a key area such as adjacent to a 
water. Many R&PPs are compatible with livestock 
use. Linear and site rights-of-way would cause an 
initial disruption of livestock use patterns while 
the right-of-way is being constructed. Upon 



completion of the line or site, normal grazing 
patterns would resume. The 2920 permits and 
leases, would cause an initial disruption in 
livestock patterns for the period of time they were 
given. Most of these are temporary, and upon 
removal normal patterns would resume. 

New access routes could alter livestock patterns by 
allowing livestock to move into areas which 
previously had not been ACCESSIBLE for 
livestock use. Access also allows increased human 
use which could increase the potential for 
vandalism and animal harassment. 

Livestock grazing would continue in the Resource 
Area. New activity plans will be developed each 
year with the completion of the monitoring studies 
on the I category allotments. This usually includes 
some type of DEFERRED GRAZING 
MANAGEMENT. This type of MANAGEMENT 
will allow rest during critical plant growth periods. 
GRAZING MANAGEMENT plans would provide 
for increased ground cover, improved plant vigor, 
and a steadily improving ecological condition class 
rating. Range improvements needed to accomplish 
range management goals set in the activity plans 
described above include fence construction, water 
developments, and vegetation manipulation 
through the use of herbicides or prescribed 
burning. These improvements would disperse 
livestock and improve use patterns in the 
long-term. In the short-term, during the 
construction stage, livestock patterns could be 
disrupted. An orientation period will be needed to 
"introduce" the animals to the new developments. 
For a more detailed description of the impacts of 
livestock grazing, see the Southern Rio Grande 
Grazing Environmental Impact Statement (BLM 
1982) and the Las Cruces/Lordsburg Management 
Framework Plan Amendment/Environmental 
Impact Statement (MFPA/EISH BLM 1984). 

Vegetation sales of native plants in the Resource 
Area could affect livestock movement with the off- 
road vehicle use associated with these sales. Yucca 
PODS, from the yucca sale area, are a favorite 
livestock supplement but are not considered a KEY 
forage plant. 

Watershed activities, using water spreaders and 
wire checks, should improve ground cover and 
lessen soil loss and as a result improve forage for 



4-5 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



livestock and other uses. With improved livestock 
distribution, other areas would receive less impact 
from livestock grazing. 

Wildfires would initially remove all current plant 
growth and force livestock to use other areas. As 
the plants respond to the burn, livestock will 
readily move back into the burned area because of 
all the new lush green growth. Livestock grazing 
will need to be deferred and then GRAZING 
MANAGEMENT implemented to give the new 
growth a chance to reestablish and reproduce. A 
minimum of 4 inches of new growth is needed IN 
TOBOSA AND SACATON AREAS to ensure plant 
survival. IN OTHER BURNED AREAS, livestock 
may need to be kept off an area for a few months 
to several years depending on the vegetation 
response to the burn. 

Animal damage control actions are usually a 
benefit to livestock as predators are kept within 
limits. A few young calves are usually lost to 
coyotes and other predator species each year. The 
removal of jackrabbits has been shown to have a 
larger effect on forage production and utilization 
in many cases than the use made by livestock. 
This is especially true in a drought year. 

Habitat management plans (HMPs) are 
interdisciplinary and identify wildlife needs in 
relation to other uses. CONFLICTS BETWEEN 
WILDLIFE AND LIVESTOCK ARE USUALLY 
RESOLVED THROUGH HMPS, OR IN SOME 
CASES DURING PREPARATION OF GRAZING 
ACTIVITY PLANS SUCH AS AMPS. IN MOST 
CASES, THERE ARE NO CONFLICTS 
BETWEEN PROPERLY MANAGED LrVESTOCK 
GRAZING AND WILDLIFE. PARTICULAR 
ATTENTION MUST BE GD7EN TO MEETING 
THE NEEDS OF WILDLIFE IN CRITICAL 
HABITAT AREAS, SUCH AS LAMBING AREAS 
FOR DESERT BIGHORN SHEEP. THIS IS 
ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH THE USE OF 
GRAZING SYSTEMS IN COOPERATION WITH 
THE PERMITTEE THAT PROVIDE FOR BOTH 
LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE NEEDS. IN SOME 
CASES, THIS MAY MEAN CHANGES IN 
LIVESTOCK USE PATTERNS OR SEASON OF 
USE WHERE THERE ARE IDENTIFIED 
PROBLEMS OR CONFLICTS. MORE 

INTENSIVE MONITORING IS ALSO USUALLY 
REQUIRED IN THESE AREAS TO MAKE SURE 



THAT MUTUAL OBJECTIVES ARE BEING 
ACCOMPLISHED. Separate waterings may also 
need to be developed as diseases may be spread 
from one species to the other. The continued 
development of livestock waters has allowed 
wildlife to stay in more remote areas without 
having to travel as far for water. Spring 
developments and umbrella catchments may need 
to be placed in areas inaccessible to livestock or 
fenced to prevent livestock from using them. The 
exclosures are usually small and should not change 
livestock use patterns. IF LrVESTOCK ARE 
WATERING IN THESE SPRING AREAS, WATER 
WILL BE PROVIDED FOR CATTLE. 

Areas of significant cultural and historical 
resources (i.e. forts and Indian ruins) with the 
potential for livestock damage from trampling or 
rubbing may be excluded from livestock use. 
Increased human use in and out of these areas also 
MAY disrupt livestock movements. 

High use developed recreation areas are fenced or 
will be fenced from livestock use. Because these 
areas are small, livestock numbers should remain 
intact. Facilities needed to work and graze 
livestock, such as corrals and waters will be placed 
outside these areas to lessen the potential conflict 
between humans and livestock. CONFLICTS 
WILL CONTINUE BETWEEN RECREATIONAL 
HUNTING AND LIVESTOCK GRAZING with 
livestock movements being disrupted from off-road 
vehicle use, camping, parking next to livestock 
facilities, the discharge of firearms, and reports of 
livestock being shot. Vandalism usually increases 
during this period, with bullet holes in water tanks, 
troughs and windmills and fences being cut and 
gates left open. WSAs , at the present time, limit 
off-road vehicle use which can cause problems for 
a RANCHER IN THEIR DAY-TO-DAY operation. 
The designation makes range improvement 
development and maintenance more difficult and 
time consuming. Monitoring livestock movements, 
salting and supplementing, will also be more 
difficult. Limiting vehicles to existing roads and 
trails will limit livestock and human interaction. 

Riparian and arroyo habitats are fragile areas 
which attract livestock especially when water is 
present. The livestock cause THE MOST 
DAMAGE IN RIPARIAN AREAS FROM 
TRAMPLING OR RESTING THAN FROM 



4-6 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



GRAZING BECAUSE THE AREAS ARE 
USUALLY SMALL. Because of the nature of 
these areas, especially riparian zones, the potential 
for improvement is greatest with the removal or at 
least the rotation AND MANAGEMENT of 
livestock. Livestock can be used as a tool to clear 
out old growth, change stand structure and open 
up densely vegetated areas naturally. Fencing, 
salting and providing additional water outside 
these areas may be necessary to implement a 
DEFERRED grazing MANAGEMENT system. 

IN SUMMARY, the overall short-term impacts to 
livestock grazing would be a result of oil, gas, 
geothermal, mining actions, R&PPs, rights-of-way, 
2920s and vegetation sales through the disruption 
of livestock patterns. In the long-term, patterns 
would return to normal. Salable minerals, 
improved access, bighorn sheep HMPs, cultural 
and historical areas, developed recreation sites, 
hunting, WSAs, and riparian and arroyo zones will 
have short- and long-term impacts to livestock 
grazing. THESE IMPACTS COULD CAUSE A 
SMALL PERMANENT LOSS OF GRAZING IN 
CERTAIN AREAS. Livestock activity plans, 
watershed activities, wildfire, animal damage 
control ACTIONS and most HMPs could impact 
livestock grazing by mitigating the impacts to and 
from grazing in the long-term. THERE could be 
short-term impacts from the disruption of grazing 
patterns. 

VEGETATION 

Oil and gas activities will cause less than 10 acres 
of vegetation removal in 5 years. Over the long- 
term, approximately 30 acres of vegetation will be 
temporarily lost. All of these acres would be 
recontoured and reseeded. Successful reclamation 
measures are highly dependent upon the amount, 
timeliness and frequency of rainfall. Geothermal 
permits will cause about 6 acres of vegetation 
disturbance in the short-term (5 years). Upon 
development, the long-term temporary vegetation 
loss is approximately 46 acres. The same 
revegetation AND RECLAMATION stipulations 
would apply. Mining activities, a more active 
program in the Resource Area, would remove 
vegetation on 37.5 acres each year. Long-term 
notices and plans of operation will clear 110.95 
acres of native vegetation. The revegetation and 



recontour stipulations would apply. Mineral 
material sales (salables), usually require the 
removal of vegetation on a much larger scale in 
one area. Sale areas can be open for years. 

Depending on what is removed, the chance of 
native species returning is somewhat limited. 
Plants do not reestablish themselves well on rock 
or the B or C soil horizons. Top soil, in many 
cases, is stockpiled to be used later in the 
rehabilitation process. Whenever possible, plants 
are removed from these areas and made available 
to the public. 

Lands actions, sales, acquisitions and exchanges 
could have a major impact on vegetation resources. 
The BLM is required to manage and protect lands 
under the multiple-use mandate. Land sales and 
exchanges, in most cases, would remove these lands 
from this mandate. Community expansion, which 
entails land development is the primary result of 
these actions when close to a city. Development 
activities usually involve clearing, leveling, road 
and residential development. Many exchanges 
have resulted in land acquisition by the Bureau 
which brings these lands and all other acquired 
lands under the multiple-use and protection 
mandate. 

R&PPs, depending on the actions, can enhance 
vegetation values when applied to parks or other 
natural uses of the area. When issued for 
cemeteries and schools, vegetation is usually 
removed on a permanent long-term basis from 
small parcels of land. An average of 20 acres per 
year is permitted in this manner. Linear rights-of- 
way, especially transmission lines, will require a 
short-term vegetation disturbance when the line is 
under construction. Upon completion, only the 
maintenance road will cause continued vegetation 
damage. Pipelines on the other hand, usually 
require extensive clearing along the route. Roads 
constitute permanent vegetation removal when 
used continually. Even after a road has been 
abandoned, the scar remains indefinitely. Linear 
rights-of-way disturb and denude about 600 acres 
per year. Site rights-of-way, mostly communication 
sites, disturb and remove vegetation on 50 acres 
per year. Most of these sites are at the higher 
elevations where little soil is present. Vegetation 
reestablishment is very slow. The 2920 permits 



4-7 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



and leases are usually done for a specific period of 
time and in the case of apiaries and movie sets 
cause minimal vegetation removal. 

Increased access will cause loss of vegetation along 
the length of the access (road). If the access is not 
bladed consistently, vegetation will grow between 
the tire tracks and vegetation loss will be minimal. 

Livestock grazing, when not managed properly, can 
have a long-term effect on vegetation. The 
implementation of five new activity plans per year, 
which will incorporate the principles of GRAZING 
rotation management will allow the vegetation rest 
during key growth periods. As the grazing 
permittees AND LESSEES WITHIN THE 
RESOURCE AREA IMPLEMENT these plans, the 
vegetation resource and ecological RANGE 
condition should improve. Range improvements 
needed to make these grazing systems work are 
fences, pipelines, troughs and storage tanks. Initial 
vegetation removal will be less than 25 acres per 
year. Long-term effects should be improved plant 
vigor, increased ground cover and a long-term 
improvement in ecological RANGE condition. All 
new watering areas will have a small sacrifice area 
where livestock will congregate and cause soil 
compaction AND LOSS OF VEGETATION. 
Prescribed fires will rejuvenate the grass species 
burned and set invading shrub species back to an 
earlier successional stage. For further discussion 
on the impacts of livestock grazing, see the 
SOUTHERN RIO GRANDE GRAZING EIS (BLM 
1981) AND THE LAS CRUCES/LORDSBURG 
MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK PLAN 
AMENDMENT/EIS (BLM 1984). 

Vegetation sales of native plants usually entails 
about 500 plants being removed each year for 
landscaping purposes, generally with good survival 
rates. The areas the plants are legally removed 
from are either land disposal areas or areas where 
resource damage would be minimal. Illegal 
removal of native plants is an increasing problem 
in the Resource Area. 

Watershed activities would have a beneficial 
impact on vegetation and vegetation management 
by providing ways to stabilize soils until the 
vegetation has had a chance to reestablish. This 
could be accomplished through the use of wire 
checks, water spreaders and grazing management. 



Wildfire, in the short-term, would remove all old 
and new growth on the plant. Fire is a natural 
stimulator and plants usually respond immediately 
even without precipitation. Fires, in the long-term, 
are usually a benefit to the native vegetation 
(Wright and Bailey 1982). They remove old 
decadent growth which can inhibit plant growth 
and provide needed nutrients for plant 
reproduction. 

HMPs are developed for wildlife. They identify 
key vegetation types for a particular wildlife 
species and outline ways to improve these types. 
HMPs will balance the wildlife use with other uses 
to improve these vegetation types. Spring 
developments and umbrella catchments will cause 
minimal vegetation loss. Exclosures will protect 
the vegetation within from other grazing uses. 
Developed recreational use areas are usually high 
visitor use areas. Vegetation removal for parking 
lots, trails, and picnic areas is permanent and 
would impact less than 100 acres. Developed sites 
channel visitor use into "hardened" areas to 
prevent damage to adjacent areas. Developed sites 
through displays and signs, expose and educate the 
public on the importance of the environment. The 
current management and implementation of the 
Organ Mountain Coordinated Resource 
Management Plan would cause some short- and 
long-term vegetation loss as areas are developed 
for more intensive recreation use. These intensive 
use areas in the long-term would lessen the 
impacts on the surrounding areas. Limiting people 
to existing "roads and trails" would minimize the 
damage to the vegetation resource. WSA 
designations provide an extra measure of 
protection by limiting vehicle use. The 
maintenance of the vegetation in its NATURAL 
state is one of the objectives in wilderness 
management. 

Riparian and arroyo habitats are critical vegetation 
zones. Because all the elements needed to 
improve the status quo are present (water, soil, 
and sunshine), these zones will improve quickly 
when managed properly. Grazing use should only 
be allowed during part of the year or excluded 
altogether until the vegetation goals are met. 

IN SUMMARY, livestock grazing if not managed 
properly would have the largest short- and long- 
term impacts to the vegetation resources 



4-8 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



CAUSING VEGETATION DAMAGE AND LOSS. 

Livestock activity plans, watershed plans, and 
proper management of riparian and arroyo habitats 
will benefit the vegetation resources through 
management and protection in the long-term. 
There could be short-term impacts from some of 
the above actions due to vegetation removal to 
implement new plans and systems. 

SOIL/AIR/WATER 

Soil 

Exploration and development of mineral resources 
by activities such as trenching, drilling, levelling, 
site clearing, and construction of access roads 
would cause soil disturbance on 123 acres per year. 

Lands identified for disposal would be subject to 
soil surface disturbance from activities such as 
clearing, levelling, and construction. The lands 
would be the responsibility of State and local 
governments. Any soil loss from accelerated 
erosion would be irretrievable. Types of activities 
on acquired lands would be limited and managed 
to protect the soil resource. 

The impacts on soil from livestock grazing as 
analyzed in the Southern Rio Grande EIS (BLM 
1981) and Las Cruces/Lordsburg MFPA (BLM 
1984) were long-term increased ground cover, 
decreased rangeland in poor ecological condition, 
increased production of desirable forage species, 
reduced sediment yield, and reduced wind erosion. 

Existing rights-of-way could be subject to surface 
and shallow subsurface soil disturbance from any 
new construction and maintenance activities, and 
increased activity within the rights-of-way by 
vehicle use. 

Developing new vehicle access into unaccessible 
areas could involve surface disturbing activities 
such as road construction. New road construction 
could increase the soil susceptibility to wind and 
water erosion at least during construction 
activities. 

Vegetation treatments such as chemical brush 
control and prescribed burning expose the top soil 
to short-term erosion hazards from water and 
wind. The erosion potential exists until the sites 



are revegetated (usually 1-3 years depending on the 
site and precipitation). 

Sale of vegetation allows for digging at five specific 
locations and some off road travel on small parcels 
of land. Approximately 500 plants will be removed 
disturbing approximately .05 acres per year. 

Continued implementation of existing HMPs, 
generally limits or restricts surface disturbing 
activities within these areas. Habitat improvement 
projects will disturb approximately Jj acre per year. 

Existing recreation areas at Dripping Springs 
Natural Area and Aguirre Spring Recreation Area 
have designated and maintained campgrounds, 
picnic grounds and hiking trails. These designated 
areas limit impacts to the soil resource. The 
remainder of the Resource Area is subject to 
unrestricted recreation uses, and the soil resource 
may be affected by hiking, camping and other 
activities on unmaintained sites where use is 
concentrated (such as hunting camps). However, 
these activities tend to be of short duration 
(several days per year). 

IN SUMMARY, the soil resource would benefit 
from acquisition of lands continued 
implementation of existing HMPs, recreation 
planning, vegetation treatments, and areas excluded 
from grazing. Activities OCCURRING ON 
DISPOSAL LAND SUCH AS vehicle access, right- 
of-way corridor use, mineral activity, and 
vegetation sale areas would cause soil surface 
disturbance. 

Air 

Exploration and development of mineral resources 
would result in surface disturbances such as 
trenching, drilling, and in some cases construction 
of access roads on 123 acres per year. THIS would 
reduce air quality from dust on these areas while 
these activities are being conducted. If fluid 
mineral development occurs, air quality reduction 
from escaping fumes associated with these 
activities would occur near the activity. 

Lands identified for disposal would not be 
managed by the BLM. Restrictions on activities 
would be the responsibility of State and local 
governments. Activities such as clearing, levelling, 



4-9 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



and construction may affect air quality by the 
increase of dust in the air. Improved 
manageability of acquired lands would restrict 
activities which may contribute to a reduction of 
air quality. 

Construction and use of vehicle access would 
increase dust levels in the air where such activity 
occurs. 

Vegetation treatments would have short-term 
impacts on air quality. Brush control and 
prescribed burns expose surface soil to wind 
erosion which causes dust, while smoke from 
prescribed fires would reduce localized air quality 
until dispersed. 

IN SUMMARY, disposal of lands, increased vehicle 
access, MINERAL EXPLORATION AND 

DEVELOPMENT, and vegetation treatments would 
affect air quality in localized areas by the increase 
of dust in the air. With the exception of fluid 
mineral development activities, the other air 
quality reductions would be short-term, either 
during activity or in the case of vegetation 
treatments 1 to 3 years until regrowth occurs. 

Water 

Under continuing management, watershed 
management would largely be accomplished 
through coordination with other programs and as 
a part of all surface disturbing actions. The only 
existing site-specific activity plan dealing with soil 
and water resources is the Gila River Coordinated 
Resource Management Plan. Provisions of this 
plan would continue to be implemented. This plan 
benefits the watershed by protecting the surface 
vegetation which reduces erosion and maintains or 
improves water quality by reducing the silt load of 
the river. Other projects which would occur 
throughout the remainder of the Resource Area 
will be considered for watershed sensitivity in the 
affected areas on a site-specific basis. All surface 
disturbing actions will require appropriate 
reclamation measures. 

Vegetation treatments consisting of prescribed 
burns and chemical brush control projects will 
enhance vegetation ground cover which will reduce 
erosion and allow greater percolation of water into 
the soil. 



Elimination of grazing on 7,826 acres, including 
the Gila Lower Box, Red Rock Game Farm, 
Central Peloncillo Mountains (SCIIOLES AND 
OWL CANYON), and the Organ Mountains will 
enhance and protect vegetation ground cover, 
reduce erosion, and increase percolation of water 
into the ground. 

IN SUMMARY, watersheds within the Gila River 
Coordinated Resource Management Plan, 
vegetation treatment areas, and areas excluded 
from grazing would not be subjected to surface 
vegetation loss, increased soil erosion or excessive 
surface runoff. Surface vegetation would increase 
which would hold the soil and increase percolation 
of water into the ground. 

WILDLIFE 

Exploration and development of mineral resources 
could displace wildlife and reduce wildlife habitat 
on 123 acres per year. In areas where habitat is 
limited, surface disturbance activities would 
decrease the amount of available habitat and 
disturb wildlife during critical times such as 
breeding, fawning and lambing, or interfere with 
travel routes and feeding areas. 

Land disposal near urban areas would result in a 
loss of wildlife habitat from surface disturbances 
and developments. On small scattered parcels 
located away from urban centers, isolated areas of 
island habitats may be altered or disturbed from 
activities occurring on that land. The acquisition 
and consolidation of lands would add additional 
diverse habitats to the public land. These 
acquisitions can then be managed to protect or 
enhance the wildlife resource. 

The impacts on wildlife from livestock grazing as 
analyzed in the Southern Rio Grande EIS (BLM 
1981) and Las Cruces/Lordsburg MFPA/EIS (BLM 
1984) were increased habitat and wildlife diversity 
and increased forage for big game. 

Vegetation treatments such as prescribed burning 
and chemical brush control would alter wildlife 
habitat by creating increased vegetation diversity, 
and reduced erosion on wildlife habitat (Wright 
1982). After a vegetation treatment there will be 
short-term loss of wildlife feed and cover, and 



4-10 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



temporary (several hours to days) displacement of 
animals. These impacts will diminish over time as 
vegetation regrowth and re-establishment occurs. 
The continued implementation of existing HMPs 
will allow for restrictions on types and quantity of 
activities which could occur on areas which have 
sensitive species and their habitats. Continued 
implementation of HMPs will protect and enhance 
wildlife habitat. 

IN SUMMARY, disposal of lands and exploration 
and development of mineral resources would affect 
wildlife habitat through habitat disturbances. Land 
disposal would affect wildlife habitats over fairly 
large areas, while mineral development activities 
would affect only small, localized areas. 
Implementation of existing HMPs and vegetation 
treatments would enhance or alter wildlife habitat 
over large areas. 

CULTURAL AND 

PALEONTOLOGICAL 

RESOURCES 

Ground disturbance related to mining activity that 
can affect cultural AND PALEONTOLOGICAL 
resources includes but is not limited to, blasting, 
construction of new access roads, creation of 
staging areas, core drilling, and trenching with 
heavy machinery. Any degradation of cultural 
AND PALEONTOLOGICAL resources would 
result in irreversible and irretrievable losses of 
information. 

ACTIVITIES ASSOCIATED WITH SALABLE 
MINERALS MAY CAUSE DIRECT IMPACTS TO 
VERTEBRATE FOSSILS. PLIOCENE AND 
PLEISTOCENE FOSSILS ARE COMMONLY 
FOUND IN THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY-FILL 
AND TERRACE DEPOSITS WHICH ARE USED 
FOR SAND AND GRAVEL OPERATIONS. 
OTHER GEOLOGIC FORMATIONS, 
EXPLOITED FOR BUILDING STONE AND 
AGGREGATES, ALSO CONTAIN IMPORTANT 
FOSSIL DEPOSITS SUCH AS THE RECENTLY 
DISCOVERED PALEOZOIC TRACKWAY SITE 
IN THE ROBLEDO MOUNTAINS. WITH A 
MODERATE TO HIGH POTENTIAL FOR 
SALABLE MINERALS ON 266,700 ACRES OF 
FEDERAL MINERAL ESTATE, THERE IS 



GREAT POTENTIAL FOR IMPACTS TO 
PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES IN THESE 
PORTIONS OF THE MIMBRES RESOURCE 
AREA WHICH WOULD RESULT IN 
IRREVERSIBLE AND IRRETRIEVABLE LOSS 
OF INFORMATION. 

Acquisition or disposal of land can cause varied 
impacts to cultural AND PALEONTOLOGICAL 
resources. For example, acquisition of a significant 
Apachean site or Paleoindian camp or kill site 
would enhance the diversity of sites within the 
Mimbres Resource Area since few sites of this type 
are currently documented. 

Impacts to cultural resources eligible for the 
National Register located within lands identified 
for disposal are mitigated through excavation and 
other methods. These mitigative efforts result in 
determinations of "no adverse effect through data 
recovery." However, these data recovery methods 
treat only portions of sites and some data is lost. 
Modern excavation techniques MAY be considered 
primitive by future researchers. IN ADDITION, 
PROTECTION OF POTENTIALLY IMPORTANT 
PALEONTOLOGICAL SITES WOULD NOT BE 
GUARANTEED, AND SCIENTIFIC SPECIMENS 
AND DATA COULD BE LOST. 

The effects of vegetation use through livestock 
grazing are generally low, except where conditions 
combine to concentrate cattle. Proximity to water, 
certain types of forage, natural barriers, or fences 
can result in channeling cattle to result in intensive 
trampling of FOSSILS, artifacts and archeological 
features, as well as increased site erosion. 

There are currently four Holistic Range 
Management (HRM) systems in the Mimbres 
Resource Area. One HRM objective is to increase 
cattle hoof action for soil aeration and reseeding. 
It is suspected that hoof action is damaging to 
cultural artifacts and features. Hoof action can 
break AND DISPLACE ARTIFACTS AND 
FOSSILS, disturb cultural features AND FOSSIL 
SITES, and cause additional impacts of this nature. 
Archaeological studies of HRM systems are 
planned in consultation with the New Mexico State 
Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO). The 5-year 
studies will monitor the effects of trampling on 
cultural resources within the HRM systems. 



4-1 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



Protection of riparian areas in many cases reduces 
erosion of archeological sites. Riparian areas 
typically have high concentrations of historic and 
prehistoric sites which can be damaged by erosion. 

IN SUMMARY, acquisition of significant cultural 
sites enhances the diversity of sites within the 
Mimbres Resource Area. Disposal of significant 
sites reduces site diversity on the Mimbres 
Resource Area and can result in the loss of 
important site data. Effects of livestock grazing are 
generally low level except where livestock are 
concentrated and trampling impacts occur to 
artifacts and features. Protection of riparian areas 
can reduce erosion at associated cultural sites. 

RECREATION 

Lands actions will enhance recreation quality for 
urbanites when parks are created on lands disposed 
of for community expansion including R&PP 
parcels. Some school facilities on R&PP lands will 
also provide expanded recreation facilities such as 
soccer fields, basketball courts, and playgrounds. 
Disposal of lands near cities will make many 
recreation opportunities more accessible, with 
houses adjacent to public land having backyard 
opportunities for walking, bike or horse riding, and 
numerous other activities. Acquisition of lands by 
the BLM will enhance recreation opportunities and 
management on the public land by reducing 
boundaries between public and non-public lands 
and subsequent potential conflicts between 
recreationists and other landowners. Public 
acquisition of key parcels in special recreation 
management areas such as the Gila Lower Box and 
Fort Cummings will not only reduce potential 
conflicts but will provide more alternatives for 
recreation facility development. 

Recreation users will benefit from improved access 
as a result of new construction of access roads 
associated with mineral exploration and 
development, livestock developments, and right- 
of-way access roads. With improved access, 
opportunities for dispersed recreation such as 
hunting, hiking, driving, and camping will increase 
annually. The quality of many recreational 
activities will also improve, both because of 
dispersal of recreationists over more public land 
and because new areas will be opened up, some of 
which will have higher quality of recreation 



resources than existing areas. For example, new 
sites may become accessible for rockhounding that 
provide specimens that are unavailable or that are 
better than similar rocks available elsewhere. 

Livestock grazing can have both beneficial and 
detrimental effects on recreation. Most vehicle 
access routes to or across public land involve ranch 
roads, and many recreationists such as hikers and 
hunters use windmills or other livestock facilities 
for orientation when they are in the field. Cattle 
trails are often good starting points for 
recreationists, especially in thorny brush or 
mountainous terrain. Livestock grazing can benefit 
wildlife-based recreation by dispersing water 
sources and allowing for increased habitat diversity, 
particularly where rotational grazing systems are 
used. Some recreationists prefer to not have cattle 
disturb their solitude, and consider cattle to hinder 
their appreciation of the natural world while other 
recreationists may enjoy the sight of cattle in the 
outdoors. Once again, rotational grazing systems 
maintain both types of opportunity on a grazing 
allotment at all times. 

Vegetation treatments will have long-term impacts 
to wildlife-based recreation opportunities by 
increasing ecotonal habitats and diversity of habitat 
types, and improving production of forage and 
wildlife. 

Watershed management will improve soil stability, 
impacting vehicle recreation by reducing damage to 
roads and trails. Soil stabilization and subsequent 
vegetation recovery will allow increased 
opportunities for certain recreational pursuits such 
as pronghorn hunting, which are dependant on 
maintenance of stable, good condition grasslands. 
Rockhounding quality may decrease as vegetation 
cover rebounds on treated watersheds. 

The quality of hunting and non-consumptive 
wildlife recreation such as bird watching and 
wildlife photography will improve as wildlife 
habitat is improved by prescribed burning, spring 
developments, water catchments, and enclosures. 
Wildfires will also improve the quality of hunting 
and other wildlife-based recreation by increasing 
habitat diversity and rejuvenating vegetation. 
Cumulatively, these developments will gradually 
improve wildlife habitat diversity and subsequent 
wildlife recreation quality throughout the Resource 
Area. 



4-12 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



Recreation resources will benefit from ongoing 
cultural and paleontological resource management, 
particularly the development and interpretation of 
the Dripping Springs Natural Area, La Cueva, Fort 
Cummings, and the Paleozoic Trackways Site. New 
public recreation opportunities will continue to 
arise, and existing opportunities will improve in 
quality as these and other sites are developed. 
Protection of the majority of sites will maintain the 
potential for recreational enjoyment of these 
resources into the future. 

Riparian habitat management would produce 
excellent benefits to recreation opportunities, both 
by allowing reestablishment of riparian 
communities that support the highest wildlife 
species diversity, and by improving the quality of 
riparian habitat-related recreation. Bird watching 
and other forms of non-consumptive wildlife 
recreation as well as hunting and fishing will 
improve in riparian areas as stream banks are 
stabilized, and vegetation species and structural 
diversity increase. Riparian habitat recovery will 
benefit hunting on lands near riparian areas as 
well, since numerous wildlife species use riparian 
areas as a portion of their habitat. 

IN SUMMARY, recreation opportunities will 
change on disposed lands from undeveloped 
recreation such as hunting and mountain biking to 
developed recreation including city park-related 
recreation such as sports and playground play plus 
other forms of urban recreation like road biking. 
Acquisition of lands and access plus right-of-way 
development will benefit both dispersed and 
developed recreation on public land by making 
more land available for both types of recreation on 
public land. Watershed management, fire 
management, wildlife habitat management, and 
riparian habitat management will improve the 
availability and quality of backpacking, camping, 
sightseeing, hunting, picnicking, wildlife 
photography, bird watching, and other forms of 
dispersed recreation. Fire management, wildlife 
habitat management, wilderness management, and 
riparian management can all detract from 
rockhounding quality over time. 

VISUAL RESOURCES 

Visual resources will be degraded by minerals 
actions including leasable, locatable, and salable 



mineral exploration and development. Leasable 
and salable mineral exploration and development 
activities are most likely to occur in intermountain 
basins where VRM classes are generally III or IV. 
Class III areas allow moderate changes in the basic 
visual elements, while Class IV areas allow changes 
in the basic visual elements to dominate the 
natural landscape; so leasable and salable activities 
over most of the Resource Area will not conflict 
with VRM Classes. Furthermore, most of the hills 
and mountains in the Resource Area, which 
reclassified as VRM Class II, are closed to leasing 
and have low potential for oil and gas development 
because of the thick layers of rock above any 
potential oil-bearing deposits. Areas within a few 
miles of the Mesilla Valley that are in VRM Class 
II have high potential for geothermal resource 
development, which would have impacts on scenic 
panoramas of the public land from Las Cruces. 
Locatable mineral exploration and development 
are much more likely to conflict with VRM 
guidelines and cause detrimental impacts to visual 
resources, by altering landforms, creating contrasts 
in colors of scenic viewpoints, and altering vegetal 
texture and color. First, locatable minerals are 
most likely to occur in quantity along 
limestone/igneous interfaces, commonly in hills, 
which are generally VRM Class II areas where 
changes in the basic visual elements should not be 
evident. Second, locatable mineral exploration and 
development under the 1872 mining law require 
only a notice to conduct mineral exploration, and 
CAN OCCUR EVEN IF THE ACTION CAUSES 
DISTURBANCE TO VISUAL RESOURCES. 
Third, very little of the Resource Area is closed to 
locatable mineral entry. 

Lands actions will have both detrimental and 
beneficial effects on visual resources. Disposal of 
lands will end the BLM's ability to manage those 
lands for visual resources, but most of the disposal 
lands in the Resource Area are VRM Class III or 
IV. Acquisition of lands will conversely allow the 
BLM to manage larger blocks of land under VRM 
guidelines, particularly scenic hilly areas where 
isolated parcels of currently non-Federal land may 
be developed in ways that detract from the scenic 
quality of large acreages of adjacent public land. 
Rights-of-way will be planned so as to minimize 
and mitigate effects on visual resources by avoiding 
or circumventing sensitive scenic areas, or by 



4-13 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



including rehabilitation and reclamation in project 
planning. 

Development of access routes to or across public 
land will not have significant adverse impacts on 
visual resources because any planned access routes 
can be designed to avoid and mitigate disturbance 
of the basic visual elements in the landscape. 
Additionally, the majority of projected 
developments that will include access routes will 
occur in VRM Class III or IV areas, as VRM, 
Class I or II lands will be ROW exclusion or 
avoidance areas. 

Livestock grazing can have profound influences on 
both color and texture of visual resources. 
Removal of vegetation by livestock can change the 
color of the landscape from that of the dominant 
vegetation to that of the soil. The landscape 
texture can be altered as livestock grazing changes 
vegetation types from grassland to bare ground, 
dunes, or shrublands. Different grazing levels can 
lead to fenceline contrasts BY causing CHANGES 
TO colors and textures in the landscape. 

Vegetation treatments can return ground cover to 
barren areas and allow replacement of shrubs with 
grasses. Although vegetation treatments will be 
planned and can create short-term visual contrasts 
by killing brush, vegetation treatments will allow 
improvement in vegetal cover and resultant scenic 
quality. Vegetation treatments will be planned and 
conducted to minimize sharp lines that would 
delineate treatment boundaries. 

Watershed management plans will provide 
direction for recovery of vegetation resources that 
will result in more natural appearances of visual 
resources in the Resource Area, particularly on 
hills where key viewing areas are large. Mountain 
ranges such as the Cooke's Range which have large 
areas with soil erosion problems will appear more 
natural, and visual resources will be greatly 
enhanced. 

Wildfires and prescribed burning can cause 
alterations in visual resources over short periods of 
time, particularly while fires are burning and 
shortly thereafter. After fires burn, the native 
vegetation will return in a more vigorous state 
than the pre-burn condition, and the landscape will 
benefit over the long-term. 



Recreation developments can have slight adverse 
impacts on visual resources, but will be planned to 
blend closely with existing landscapes and avoid 
any changes in the form, line, texture, and color of 
the landscape. The locations, forms, color, and 
texture of any recreation developments will be 
planned to conform closely with the natural 
appearances of the public land. 

Wildlife habitat management, wilderness 
management, special status species management, 
and riparian habitat management will all improve 
the natural appearance of the landscapes on public 
land. 

IN SUMMARY, any surface or vegetation 
disturbing action, in hills areas, could degrade 
visual resources and will require careful project 
planning to conform with VRM Class II guidelines. 
However, many actions can occur over most of the 
Resource Area within the existing VRM Class III 
and IV guidelines. 

WILDERNESS 

Mineral development could occur in WSAs and 
wilderness areas on unpatented mining claims 
subject to the mining laws. Such mining would 
degrade wilderness quality by disrupting the 
naturalness, solitude, and opportunities for 
primitive and unconfined types of recreation. 
Recontouring after any mining operations could be 
required to protect the landscape, and reclamation 
bonds could be required to ensure that necessary 
reclamation work is completed. Mineral leasing in 
WSAs and wilderness areas would not likely be 
authorized. Mineral leasing would also disrupt the 
naturalness, solitude, and opportunities for 
primitive and unconfined types of recreation. 
Mineral SALES for common variety minerals 
would not be allowed in a WSA or wilderness area. 

Land acquisition would have beneficial effects on 
wilderness resources and management by enabling 
the BLM to consolidate Federal ownership in 
wilderness areas. Acquisition would ensure that 
any uses of those lands would be compatible with 
the maintenance of the wilderness resource. 
Wilderness lands would not be disposed. 

Increased access opportunities to wilderness areas 
could increase human impacts on these areas, and 



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CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



will have to be carefully monitored to ensure that 
Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) thresholds are 
not surpassed. Improved access will enable more 
recreationists to use wilderness areas, and 
increased access routes can be used to disperse 
users more evenly around wilderness areas, 
enhancing opportunities for solitude among 
wilderness users. 

Livestock grazing can detract from wilderness 
qualities. Livestock facilities are often highly visible 
from large viewsheds, and the presence of facilities, 
cattle, or evidence of grazing use can reduce the 
appearance of naturalness within a portion of a 
wilderness area. Cattle can also affect the solitude 
of wilderness users. Although livestock grazing is 
allowed to occur within WSAs and wilderness 
areas, cattle are exotic components of the 
ecosystem and support facilities are human 
imprints in natural areas. Careful management of 
grazing practices can minimize adverse effects on 
the natural environment. In some cases, livestock 
management practices can be used to improve the 
natural conditions of an area. In already modified 
environments, better livestock distribution, seasons 
of use, fencing and land treatments can be used to 
bring about improvement over existing unnatural 
conditions. 

Fire management can beneficially impact 
wilderness resources by renewing plant growth and 
leading to increases in natural biological diversity 
as vegetation composition and structure are 
altered. Most wildfires in natural areas will require 
only limited suppression efforts, as grasses make 
up the major fuel types, and most wilderness areas 
within the Resource Area will be surrounded by 
shrublands that do not have sufficient fuel loads to 
carry fires. Prescribed burning could be used in 
wilderness areas to enhance or maintain fire 
dependant ecosystems. 

Wildlife habitat management will only be allowed 
in wilderness areas if it enhances wilderness values. 
Although some management efforts such as water 
developments may be noticeable from small areas 
within a wilderness, design and location of such 
developments can be planned to mitigate any 
impacts to wilderness resources, while the 
far-reaching effects of such developments will 
enhance wilderness values such as wildlife and 
endangered species over large areas. Enhancement 



of wildlife habitat within wilderness areas will 
provide long-term benefits to natural values and 
result in recreation opportunities. 

Recreation management will enhance wilderness 
resources by ensuring that vehicles stay on 
designated routes, and providing parking areas and 
access routes outside of wilderness areas so that 
recreationists can enjoy the wilderness without 
causing degradation of wilderness values. 
Recreation management will be the main tool for 
ensuring that non-consumptive uses of wilderness 
conform to wilderness management policy and 
guidelines and do not degrade wilderness values. 

IN SUMMARY, mineral development in wilderness 
areas could degrade wilderness values by disturbing 
natural systems and scenic quality, but such actions 
should be mitigated because of the existing 
wilderness management policy. Lands actions 
would benefit wilderness values by consolidating 
ownership and management. Livestock grazing 
management could enhance or detract from 
wilderness values on a case by case basis, and 
possibly have both effects simultaneously on 
disparate portions of a wilderness area. Access 
development and fire, wildlife habitat, and 
recreation management would be the primary tools 
for enhancing natural qualities of wilderness areas 

SPECIAL STATUS SPECIES 

(T&E) 

MOST MINERAL EXPLORATION ACTrVTTIES 
OCCUR UNDER A MINING NOTICE (SURFACE 
DISTURBANCE OF 5 ACRES OR LESS). 
ALTHOUGH THE BLM HAS NO 
DISCRETIONARY AUTHORITY TO APPROVE 
OR DISAPPROVE NOTICE LEVEL ACTDTITIES, 
CLAIMANTS AND OPERATORS ARE LEGALLY 
OBLIGATED TO ABIDE BY THE ENDANGERED 
SPECIES ACT WHILE CONDUCTING 
ACTDTITIES ON FEDERAL CLAIMS. THEY 
MUST ENSURE ALL OPERATIONS ARE 
CONDUCTED TO PREVENT UNNECESSARY 
AND UNDUE DEGRADATION OF THE 
FEDERAL LANDS, AND SHALL COMPLY WITH 
ALL PERTINENT FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS. 
DURING THE COURSE OF OPERATIONS, THE 
BLM HAS REGULATORY AUTHORITY TO 
PREVENT ADVERSE IMPACTS TO 
THREATENED OR ENDANGERED SPECIES 



4-15 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



AND THEIR HABITATS WHICH MAY BE 
AFFECTED UNDER A NOTICE (43 CFR 3809.2- 
2(d)). MINING ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED ON 
MORE THAN 5 ACRES REQUIRE A PLAN OF 
OPERATIONS FOR WHICH NEPA REQUIRES 
ANALYSIS BY AN ENVIRONMENTAL 
ASSESSMENT. ANY POTENTIAL AFFECTS TO 
THREATENED OR ENDANGERED SPECIES 
WILL BE MITIGATED THROUGH THIS 
PROCESS. 

Acquisition of lands would improve manageability 
by blocking up land and may provide additional 
special status species habitat as well as provide a 
buffer area near sensitive habitat types. 

Livestock grazing on habitats for special status 
animal species (such as bighorn sheep) could result 
in habitat disturbance. Livestock grazing on 
habitats for special status plant species could also 
result in habitat disturbance (from grazing or 
trampling). Most listed plant species are not 
preferred livestock forage (many are cacti). 
Properly managed grazing should have little or no 
detrimental effect on special status species. In 
areas where conflicts between special status species 
and livestock grazing are identified through 
monitoring, actions would be taken to reduce or 
eliminate adverse impacts to those species. 

The continued implementation of existing HMPs 
would limit the scope and extent of activities which 
occur in areas with special status species. 

IN SUMMARY, acquisition of lands and 
management of existing HMPs could enhance 
special status species and their habitats. Mineral 
development activities may have detrimental effects 
on special status species and their habitats. 

RIPARIAN AND ARROYO 
HABITATS 

Even though these areas would be avoided, 
exploration and development of mineral resources 
could cause surface disturbing activities in small 
localized areas. Construction, levelling, trenching, 
and mining or drilling would result in removal of 
vegetation, affect streamside stability, and 
potentially reduce water quality. 



Improved manageability of acquired lands would 
protect and enhance riparian resources by 
restricting the type and amount of activity which 
may occur. 

Vegetation treatments limited to prescribed 
burning will stimulate growth resulting in a 
healthier, vegetationally diverse riparian and arroyo 
habitat areas (Wright 1982). 

The continuing implementation of existing habitat 
management plans which have riparian areas will 
limit the type and quantity of activities which occur 
near riparian areas within HMP boundaries. 

The development and implementation of 
recreation plans could result in recreational 
activities being limited in scope and extent to 
designated areas near riparian areas. 

Elimination or management of livestock grazing in 
riparian and arroyo habitat areas would result in 
increased vegetation growth and diversity, 
improved water quality, streambank stability, and 
decreased soil erosion. 

IN SUMMARY, acquisition of lands, recreation 
planning, management of existing HMPs, and 
vegetation treatments would benefit riparian and 
arroyo habitat areas. Mineral activities and grazing 
activities may disturb or degrade riparian and 
arroyo habitat areas. 

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC 
CONDITIONS 

Mineral exploration will continue to be a 
significant activity in the Mimbres Resource Area. 
Surface disturbance from these activities could 
impact other resource uses and reduce the value of 
the lands impacted. Lands may be withdrawn from 
mineral lease and exploration in order to protect 
other resource values; the resulting closures to 
mineral exploration and leasing may have negative 
impacts on the economic base. 

Although the activity of the minerals industry has 
been reduced by economic factors, the contribution 
of this industry is still significant, and will continue 
to provide income and employment in the 
Mimbres Resource Area. 



4-16 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



The BLM will continue its policy of acquiring and 
disposing of public land in order to enhance 
administration and to provide land for private 
ownership where this is desirable. The continuing 
policy direction is to offer public land in the Las 
Cruces area for exchange or sale in order to 
accommodate urban growth. This will have positive 
economic effects by increasing the property tax 
base in Dona Ana County, and by reducing 
development pressure on agricultural land. The 
availability of this land will create new 
opportunities for economic growth and 
development. Some possible negative effects are 
the eventual loss of grazing on the land as it is 
developed and conflicts between urban 
development and mineral materials. The value of 
the land for development will greatly exceed 
grazing and mineral values, so these losses are 
considered to be insignificant. Land acquisitions 
are primarily accomplished thorough exchange with 
private owners or the State Land Office for the 
purposes of obtaining access to isolated public 
land, or for protecting significant resource values. 
These actions can be beneficial to the economy by 
allowing recreational or permittee entry to 
previously inaccessible lands and by permitting 
more efficient management of resources. 

Land withdrawals from multiple-use are another 
significant activity. Withdrawals may be made for 
the purpose of protecting significant resources and 
for public health and safety. There may be some 
negative economic impacts which result from the 
loss of mineral development opportunities or 
grazing leases or permits; however, the social 
benefit that results from the withdrawals can be 
significant (see Table 2-8). 

The BLM will continue the policy of granting 
rights-of-way on public land for qualified 
applicants. The use of rights-of-way for utilities 
and other purposes has a large, but diffuse impact 
on the local economy. Some land VALUES 
COULD be increased BY THEIR value through 
proximity to power and other rights-of-way. In 
certain cases, some negative effects may be caused 
through construction or use of rights-of-way. 
These could include soil erosion, reduction in 
visual quality, and reduction in adjacent property 
values. Other types of rights-of-way or permits are 
for facilities such as communications sites, hot mix 



bituminous plants, and agricultural uses, such as 
apiaries. These uses may cause negative effects to 
the extent that they interfere with other resource 
uses; however, there are significant economic 
benefits. 

The requirements for access to public land are 
determined through the planning process. Access 
to public land will increase recreation and use of 
resources and provide benefits to the economy. 
Access is acquired through land exchange or 
purchase of easements. Significant costs may be 
incurred by the government during the acquisition 
of easements. Some landowners will benefit from 
these expenditures. 

There are 347 livestock grazing PERMITS OR 
leases in the Mimbres Resource Area. At the 
present time, 385,282 animal unit months (AUMs) 
OF ACTD7E GRAZING USE ARE LICENSED ON 
PUBLIC land in the Mimbres Resource Area, and 
an additional 4,595 AUMs are in the inactive or 
suspensed NONUSE CATEGORY. Approximately 
45 percent of the range beef produced in the 
Mimbres Resource Area is produced on public 
land, for an average value of $11 million per year. 
The economic importance of livestock grazing is 
concentrated in the smaller communities of the 
Resource Area, where it may constitute a 
significant portion of the total economy. The range 
livestock industry is a traditional activity in the 
non-irrigated portions of the Mimbres Resource 
Area, and has remained a significant part of the 
culture in the entire region. 

Livestock use adjustments will be made as required 
to prevent resource damage or to utilize forage 
more efficiently. These adjustments are not 
expected to have major effects on livestock 
production or on agricultural income in the 
Resource Area. Rangeland monitoring studies will 
continue to be the basis for designing 
improvements and making livestock use 
adjustments. 

Vegetation sales will continue in the Mimbres 
Resource Area. The social value of plants for 
"desert landscaping" is important for local 
ambiance and water conservation. The economic 
effects of vegetation sales are insignificant to the 
total economy. 



4-17 



CONTINUING MANAGEMKNT GUIDANCE 



The majority of the activities which protect soils, 
air, and water involve control and rehabilitation of 
surface disturbing activities in mining, construction, 
and rangeland improvement projects. This may 
involve higher costs to the permittees, although 
these costs are not generally high in relation to the 
value of the project. Watershed management may 
require modifications in grazing practices and 
reductions in livestock production. 

The BLM will continue current policies of fire 
management. This is beneficial to the extent that 
resources and improvements are protected. A small 
amount of employment is generated through fire 
prevention and suppression activities. 

Wildlife habitat protection is significant to the 
social and economic conditions in the Mimbres 
Resource Area. Hunting and wildlife appreciation 
make a significant contribution to the local 
economy. The presence of wildlife contributes an 
intangible benefit to the ecology and character of 
the area. 

Six HMPs will be maintained as part of the 
continuing management in the Resource Area. 
Implementation of HMP goals may cause conflicts 
with other resource uses, such as livestock grazing 
and mining; however, the economic consequences 
of these conflicts are slight compared to the value 
of preserving habitat and populations of sensitive 
species. 

The goals of BLM policy are to manage cultural 
and paleontological resources in a manner that 
protects and provides for their proper use. The 
great value of these resources is for education and 
research. They represent a store of knowledge that 
can never be reclaimed once it is lost. A growing 
number of tourists and visitors are attracted to 
cultural sites. Some sites in the Resource Area 
have great interpretive potential. Tourism 
associated with these sites would be an economic 
benefit to local communities. There may also be 
conflicts with other resource uses which cause 
negative economic impacts. These are generally not 
significant in comparison to the cultural and 
economic values which protection and 
interpretation of sites provide. 

The major cultural and paleontological resource 
activities in the Resource Area are inventory, 
evaluation, and protection of cultural and 



paleontological resources, and resource 
stabilization. These are accomplished through 
cultural resource management plans. Employment 
generated from these activities produces direct 
economic benefits, and there are long-term social 
benefits from the preservation of scientific and 
historic knowledge. 

The BLM provides recreational opportunity to a 
growing population in the Mimbres Resource 
Area. Developed sites will continue to be operated 
in the Organ Mountains. Dispersed recreation is 
available throughout the Resource Area. The New 
Mexico State Planning Office has identified 
multi-purpose and day-use recreation areas within 
1-hour's travel time of urban areas as the greatest 
need for the recreation future. The demands for 
recreation are quite significant and will continue to 
grow as the population of the Resource Area 
becomes concentrated in the urban and suburban 
areas of the Rio Grande Corridor. A wider 
population, including El Paso, Texas and Juarez, 
Mexico, will continue to seek a broad spectrum of 
recreation opportunity in the Resource Area. The 
increased demand for recreation will cause 
conflicts with other resource users and demands 
for access to public land. The result of these 
conflicts may be economic losses to some resource 
uses while recreation based activities provide 
economic benefits to other segments of the 
economy. 

The social and economic benefit of the visual 
resource is real, but difficult to quantify. The 
cultural images of our society are strongly 
influenced by the visual character of the landscape, 
and property values can be influenced by the 
quality of visual resources. Management goals for 
visual resources are to protect the most 
outstanding visual resources and to restrict 
activities which have undue adverse effects in other 
areas. This can cause some conflicts with certain 
resource uses and may restrict activities in certain 
areas. 

BLM policy is to protect habitat for sensitive, rare, 
and endangered species. This is done by evaluating 
the impact of all proposed actions on these species 
and by implementing appropriate management to 
protect habitat. The benefit of maintaining 
biological diversity, and the native complement of 
species in the Resource Area is difficult to assess. 
Some negative economic effects may be caused by 



■18 



CONTINUING MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE 



eliminating activities at increased cost to 
permittees or other users. 

Riparian areas are extremely limited in size and 
extent in the Resource Area, yet they are 
significant for wildlife, the maintenance of water 
quality and stream flow, and forage production. 
The BLM goals are to preserve these values 
thorough management. This may cause negative 
economic impacts on some resource uses thorough 
limitations of activities in riparian habitats. 

IN SUMMARY, the BLM will continue to provide 
opportunities for minerals exploration and leasing, 
livestock grazing, vegetation sales, rights-of-way, 
and other leases through the provisions of 
legislation and Department of Interior regulations. 
There will be continuing land ownership 



adjustments to improve the efficiency of public 
land management, to provide land needed for 
public use, and to meet the growing requirements 
for private ownership. Wildlife, including sensitive 
species and critical habitat areas will continue to 
receive the protection required by Federal statutes 
and regulations. There will be continuing wildland 
fire management, and protection of the watershed, 
soil and air resources as required by Federal 
statutes and regulations. Recreation activities will 
be provided to the public, and there will be 
continuing efforts to protect cultural and 
paleontological resources. Visual quality 
management will be a high priority in the 
Resource Area. WSAs will be protected in their 
present state until Congress makes a determination 
of their status. 



4-19 



PROPOSED PLAN 



MINERALS 

Fluid Leasable Minerals 

OIL AND GAS 

The land identified for disposal has low potential 
for the occurrence and development of oil and gas 
so the loss of these fluid minerals from public 
ownership would be insignificant. 

Land identified for the acquisition of vehicular 
access and land adjacent to these areas has low 
potential for the occurrence and development of 
oil and gas. Consequently, new opportunities for 
exploration on this land would be insignificant. 



About 10,000 acres of land in the San Diego 
Mountain, Dofia Ana, Robledo Mountain, and 
Organ/Franklin Mountain ACECs that have 
geothermal potential would be closed to leasing. 
This could result in significant impacts. These 
areas have moderate to high potential for the 
development of low-temperature, direct-use 
geothermal applications. The Las Cruces vicinity 
offers a Nationally significant geothermal resource 
that has prime potential for this type of 
development. If these areas are not available for 
leasing, there could be less incentive for aqua- 
culture and greenhouse industries to locate here. 
Table 4-3 lists the acreage of public land that 
would be available for geothermal development 
compared to the potential for geothermal 
resources. 



ABOUT 29,000 ACRES OF LAND HAVING 
MODERATE OIL AND GAS POTENTIAL 
WOULD BE UNAVAILABLE FOR LEASING AND 
DEVELOPMENT IN THE BIG HATCHET 
MOUNTAINS ACEC. 

Table 4-2 lists the acreage of public land that 
would be available under THE PROPOSED PLAN 
for oil and gas development in comparison to the 
oil and gas potential. 

GEOTHERMAL 

Land identified for disposal in the vicinity of Las 
Cruces contains 14,000 acres of high geothermal 
potential and 19,000 acres of moderate geothermal 
potential. Respectively, this represents about 24 
percent of the total high potential lands and 7 
percent of the moderate potential lands. The 
transfer of these lands out of Federal ownership 
would preclude the opportunity for public leasing 
and development of these geothermal resources. 
Retaining the mineral estate in Federal ownership 
could lead to potential split-estate conflicts if the 
surface owner does not concur with geothermal 
development. However,low-temperature,direct-use 
geothermal applications such as space heating and 
domestic hot water heating can be compatible with 
surface uses. 



Nonenergy Leasable Minerals 

About 3,300 acres of land having moderate sodium 
potential in the Lordsburg Playa RNA would be 
unavailable for leasing and development. This 
would not be expected to result in any significant 
impacts. Unlike base and precious metals, there 
are vast quantities of sodium resources elsewhere 
in the United States. 

Table 4-4 lists the acreage of public land that 
would be available for non-energy leasable mineral 
development compared to the potential for these 
resources. 

Locatable Minerals 

Most of the land identified for disposal has low 
potential for the occurrence of locatable minerals. 
There are 1,000 acres of high potential land in the 
Silver City area and 2,600 acres west of the 
southern San Andres Mountains that are identified 
for disposal. However, legal access to the areas 
near Silver City is limited, so the loss of the 
public's opportunities for mining would not be 
significant. The loss of the area near the San 
Andres Mountains would be more significant 
because the public currently has good legal access. 
If the mineral estate is reserved to the United 



4-20 



TABLE 4-2 

AVAILABILITY OF LAND FOR OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT RELATIVE TO POTENTIAL 

(ACRES OF FEDERAL MINERAL ESTATE)* 

PROPOSED PLAN 



POTENTIAL FOR OCCURRENCE 





LOW 


MODERATE 


Open/Standard Lease 
Terms and Conditions 


1,936,600 


1,595,700 


Open/ St i pu I at i ons 


152,000 


122,000 


Open/No Surface 
Occupancy 


55,600 


9,400 


Not Open to Leasing 


181,300 


85,700 


Nondiscretionary 
Closure (withdrawals) 


168,500 


408,900 


Total 


2,494,000 


2,221,700 






3,532,300 





274,000 





65,000 





267,000 





577,400 





4,715,700 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Note: *Does not include U.S. Forest Service. 



TABLE 4-3 

AVAILABILITY OF LAND FOR GEOTHERMAL DEVELOPMENT RELATIVE TO POTENTIAL 

(ACRES OF FEDERAL MINERAL ESTATE)* 

PROPOSED PLAN 









POTENTIAL FOR OCCURRENCE 










LOW 


MODERATE 


HIGH 


TOTAL 


Open/Standard Lease 


3 


,236,600 


206,200 


56,700 


3,499,500 


Terms and Conditions 












Open/St i pul at i ons 




239,000 


35,000 





274,000 


Open/No Surface 




64,200 


800 





65,000 


Occupancy 












Not Open to Leasing 




255,600 


11,400 





267,000 


Nondiscretionary 




574,700 





2,700 


577,400 


Closure (withdrawals) 












Total 


4 


,370,100 


253,400 


59,400 


4,682,900 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Note: *Does not include U.S. Forest Service. 



4-21 



PROPOSED PIAN 



TABLE 4-4 

AVAILABILITY OF LAND FOR NONENERGY LEASABLE MINERAL DEVELOPMENT RELATIVE TO POTENTIAL 

(ACRES OF FEDERAL MINERAL ESTATE)* 

PROPOSED PLAN 







POTENTIAL FOR OCCURRENCE 








LOW 


MODERATE 


HIGH 


TOTAL 


Open/ Standard Lease 
Terms and Conditions 


3,487,500 


12,000 





3,499,500 


Open/Stipulations 


274,000 








274,000 


Open/No Surface 


64,500 


500 





65,000 


Occupancy 










Not Open to Leasing 


263,600 


3,400 





267,000 


Nondiscretionary 
Closure (withdrawals) 


577,400 








577,400 


Total 


4,667,000 


15,900 





4,682,900 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Note: *Does not include U.S. Forest Service. 



States, there could be conflicts between the 
surfaceowner and the mining claimants concerning 
surface damages. 

Land identified for the acquisition of vehicular 
access and land adjacent to these areas have low 
POTENTIAL FOR LOCATABLE MINERALS. 
CONSEQUENTLY, THE NEW OPPORTUNITIES 
FOR MINERAL EXPLORATION ON THIS LAND 
WOULD BE INSIGNIFICANT. 

About 3,800 acres of high potential land in the 
Organ/Franklin Mountain ACEC and 1,500 acres 
of moderate potential land in the Apache Box 
ACEC would be unavailable for exploration and 
development. Respectively, this represents about 
7 percent of the total high-potential lands and less 
than 1 percent of the moderate-potential lands. 
This would not result in any immediate or short- 
term impacts. However, there could be long-term, 
adverse, cumulative impacts if areas like these are 
removed from public ownership. It is then 
possible that exploration, development, and 
production may not occur thus depriving the 
United States of potential sources of base and 
precious metals. 

Table 4-5 lists the acreage of public land that 
would be available for locatable mineral 



development in comparison to locatable mineral 
potential. 

Salable Minerals 

About 18,000 acres of land proposed for disposal 
are located on the Las Cruces East Mesa and have 
high potential for the development of sand and 
gravel. This represents about 38 percent of the 
total high potential sand and gravel between Las 
Cruces and Anthony. Disposal of these lands 
would preclude the extraction of these mineral 
resources. Retaining the minerals in Federal 
ownership would not resolve this problem. 
Potential conflicts that would arise from the split 
ownership of the surface estate and the mineral 
estate in any area of city expansion would most 
likely prevent the extraction of salable minerals. 

About 4,000 acres (or 8 percent of the high 
potential sand and gravel between Las Cruces and 
Anthony) having high potential for sand and gravel 
resources would be closed to material sales in the 
Organ/Franklin Mountains ACEC. These areas 
along the east side of the Rio Grande Valley 
southeast of Las Cruces, could provide sources of 
sand and gravel as Dofia Ana County continues to 
grow. 



4-22 



PROPOSED PLAN 



If these lands arc unavailable for development of 
the sand and gravel resources, there could be 
significant impacts on the local economy. Sand 
and gravel are essential in the construction 
industries associated with the continued growth of 
an area. 

Table 4-6 lists the acreage of public land that 
would be available for salable mineral development 
in comparison to salable mineral potential. 

IN SUMMARY, land identified for disposal has low 
potential for the occurrence and development of 
oil and gas, so the loss of this mineral resource 
from public ownership would be insignificant. 

The Lordsburg Playa RNA would be closed to 
leasing and therefore unavailable for potential 
exploration and development of sodium resources. 

The Organ/Franklin Mountains ACEC has high 
potential for the occurrence of locatable minerals. 
Closing this area to mining would preclude 
exploration and development. 

Land identified for disposal near Las Cruces has 
moderate to high potential for geothermal 
resources. The loss of this mineral resource from 
public ownership would preclude the opportunity 
for leasing and development. If the geothermal 
estate is retained in Federal ownership, 
development of the geothermal resources could 
lead to conflicts between the surface owner and 
geothermal lessee. However, geothermal 
development can be compatible with surface uses. 

Disposal of land near Las Cruces that has high 
potential for the development of sand and gravel 
would preclude the development of this mineral 
resource. Retaining the salable minerals in Federal 
ownership would lead to potential split estate 
conflicts because mining of mineral materials is not 
compatible with surface use. 

LANDS 

The 156,460 acres of public land identified for 
disposal under THE PROPOSED PLAN consists of 
isolated parcels and small tracts located in Luna, 
Hidalgo and Grant counties, and lands located in 
Dofla Ana County as identified for disposal in the 
Southern Rio Grande Plan Amendment and new 



parcels identified for disposal near La Union, New 
Mexico. THE PROPOSED PLAN would allow 
BLM to dispose of difficult to manage public land 
in Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna counties that could 
provide numerous opportunities for the public and 
provide high valued land in Dofla Ana County, 
mostly near the City of Las Cruces, for the 
potential growth of the community. 

Approximately 93,1 10 acres of State trust land and 
56,214 acres of private land would be acquired 
FROM A WILLING SELLER. These acquisition 
areas would be inholdings within existing and 
proposed ACECs AND OTHER SPECIAL 
MANAGEMENT AREAS. Consolidation of the 
public land would significantly improve 
management efficiency, effectiveness, and costs. 

RETAINING management of approximately 
2,895,360 acres of public land would allow BLM to 
carry out multiple-use management on these lands. 

Legal vehicular access to certain public land would 
enable some applicants to locate site rights-of-way 
easier and coordinate with only one landowner. 
Administrative or legal access across private land 
to public land creates better management 
conditions for BLM. 

Approximately 264,870 acres of exclusion area 
would be created which would prohibit the 
issuance of new right-of-way grants, except where 
existing right-of-way corridors occur. 
Approximately 783,400 acres would be identified as 
avoidance areas which would restrict construction 
and maintenance activities as well as the size and 
type of actions to be authorized. These 
designations could make right-of-way construction 
more difficult and expensive for utility companies. 
Utility routes may deviate more and therefore 
require longer rights-of-way, thus increasing the 
amount of surface disturbance. However, areas 
open for right-of-way development would be easier 
to identify. 

IN SUMMARY, land ownership adjustments would 
occur on approximately 5 percent of the public 
land within the Resource Area. Approximately 
149,324 acres of State trust and private inholdings 
within ACECs AND SMAs would be acquired to 
improve manageability. Approximately 1,895,360 
acres of public land would be managed for 



4-23 



PROPOSED PLAN 



TABLE 4-5 

AVAILABILITY OF LAND FOR LOCATABLE MINERAL DEVELOPMENT RELATIVE TO POTENTIAL 

(ACRES OF FEDERAL MINERAL ESTATE)* 

THE PROPOSED PLAN 



LOW 



POTENTIAL FOR OCCURRENCE 
MODERATE HIGH 



TOTAL 



Open 

Closed 

Nondiscretionary 
Closure (withdrawals) 

Total 



3,662,900 

55,300 

599,000 

4,317,200 



278,500 
4,900 
30,200 

313,600 



3,800 
3,500 

52,100 



3,986,200 

64,000 

632,700 

4,682,900 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Note: *Does not include U.S. Forest Service. 



TABLE 4-6 

AVAILABILITY OF LAND FOR SALABLE MINERAL DEVELOPMENT RELATIVE TO POTENTIAL 

(ACRES OF FEDERAL MINERAL ESTATE)* 

PROPOSED PLAN 



POTENTIAL FOR OCCURRENCE 
LOW MODERATE HIGH 



TOTAL 



Open 

Closed 

Nondiscretionary 
Closure (withdrawals) 

Total 



3,271,500 
308,100 
836,600 

4,416,200 



184,600 

19,200 



203,800 



55,600 
4,700 
2,600 



3,511,700 
332,000 
839,200 

4,682,900 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 

Note: *Does not include U.S. Forest Service. 



multiple-use under BLM administration and open 
to all applicable public land laws which would 
provide opportunities for public use. Right-of-way 
placement would be excluded from 264,870 acres of 
public land, except in existing right-of-way 
corridors, and would be restricted on an additional 



783,400 acres. Right-of-way exclusion and 
avoidance areas could present longer routes and 
more expense for right-of-way applicants. However, 
areas open for right-of-way development would be 
easier to identify. 



4-24 



PROPOSED PLAN 



ACCESS 

UNDER THE PROPOSED PLAN, ACCESS 
COULD BE LOST TO 156,460 ACRES OF 
PUBLIC LAND IN DONA ANA, LUNA, GRANT, 
AND HIDALGO COUNTIES THROUGH 
DISPOSAL. Some of these lands are in small, 
isolated parcels that have no existing legal access. 
Other lands identified for disposal are adjacent to 
the City of Las Cruces on both the East and West 
Mesas, and some are adjacent to the Organ and 
Franklin Mountains. Disposal of land in these 
areas without specific easement reservation could 
restrict access to the proposed Organ Mountains 
National Conservation Area. Reservation of 
easements would be necessary to maintain existing 
access across any disposed lands that provide or 
could provide access routes to other public land or 
to Forest Service, State trust, or private lands. 

Acquisition of State trust and private lands would 
allow BLM to improve access to and across public 
land in 21 ACECs and other SMAs including areas 
for wilderness study, the Continental Divide 
National Scenic Trail, and wild and scenic river 
inventory units. Accessibility of public land would 
be improved by improving land ownership patterns 
in the public land, and reducing land ownership 
boundaries in those areas that receive the highest 
levels of public use including most of the mountain 
ranges from the Organ Mountains to the Arizona 
border and the Gila Lower Box. 

Vehicle closures would curtail vehicular access on 
89,180 acres of land along the INTERNATIONAL 
BOUNDARY. An additional 37,180 acres in SMAs 
would be designated as closed to all vehicle use, 
necessitating any uses of these areas that require 
vehicular access to either stop or be relocated 
outside of the closed areas. Foot access would not 
be impeded in these closed areas, so any uses in 
these areas that do not require vehicle use would 
be unaffected. Another 539,640 acres would be 
designated as limited to designated roads and 
trails, restricting vehicular access within these areas 
to existing roads except those roads that may be 
causing degradation of the resources for which 
those SMAs are designated, which could be closed 
or rerouted. Access within two new open areas 
totalling 16,190 acres would be unrestricted, 
enhancing vehicular access to lands within and 
adjacent to the Aden Hills and the Lordsburg 



South Playa. Access on the remaining 2,371,630 
acres within the Resource Area would be limited 
to existing roads and trails, maintaining the current 
level and routes of access to and across 78 percent 
of the public land in the Resource Area. 

Proposal of four new areas for wilderness study 
would not significantly hinder access to and across 
public land. 

Development of new foot and vehicle access routes 
would be PURSUED road construction across 
public land and easement acquisition across State 
trust and private lands. Legal vehicular and foot 
access would be significantly improved to the 
Alamo Hueco, Big Hatchet, Burro, Cedar, Cooke's, 
Florida, Goodsight, Little Hatchet, Organ, 
Peloncillo, Pyramid, Robledo, Tres Hermanas, 
Sierra Rica, and West Potrillo Mountains plus 
Apache Box, the Apache Hills, Bear Creek, the 
Coyote Hills, Blue Creek, Community Pit #1, the 
Gila Lower and Middle Boxes, the Sleeping Lady 
and Rough and Ready Hills, and the San Simon 
Cienega. Access route development and acquisition 
would improve the existing network of public land 
access routes to provide the public with BETTER 
opportunities to enjoy the full spectrum of public 
land uses. 

Vehicular access would benefit from designation of 
areas as open to rights-of-way, fluid mineral 
leasing, locatable mineral entry, and salable 
mineral development although fewer opportunities 
for development of access as a result of these 
activities would be available under THE 
PROPOSED PLAN THAN EXIST NOW. Roads 
developed for mineral activities could provide new 
access routes for other users of the public land. 
Right-of-way exclusion areas would not benefit 
access with new road construction. 

IN SUMMARY, disposal of isolated parcels of 
public land would not significantly deter access to 
and across public land, while disposal of larger 
blocks of public land may detract from existing 
access opportunities if easements aren't reserved 
on disposed lands, particularly around the Organ 
and Franklin Mountains. Acquisition of 
non-Federal inholdings would enhance legal 
vehicular and foot access to and across ACECs and 
other SMAs throughout the Resource Area. 
Vehicle closures and limitations would limit 



4-25 



PROPOSED PLAN 



vehicular access to designated roads and trails 
within 21 ACECs AND OTHER SMAs, and some 
access routes within these areas would likely be 
closed to protect sensitive resources. Vehicle 
closure would end vehicular access south of the 
Anapra Road and State Road near the Mexican 
border in Doha Ana and Luna Counties. Vehicle 
limitations would limit vehicular access to existing 
roads and trails over most of the Resource Area, 
but development of access routes including 
easement acquisition and road construction would 
enhance opportunities to access most blocked 
public land areas. 

LIVESTOCK GRAZING 

The disposal of land through sale or exchange 
could have a long-term impact on grazing if these 
lands were eventually developed and fenced out of 
an allotment. Most affected allotments (Section 15 
leases) only contain small isolated parcels of public 
land. If disposed of, many of THE PRESENT 
GRAZING allotments would no longer contain any 
public land SO THEY WOULD NO LONGER BE 
BLM GRAZING ALLOTMENTS. UNDER THE 
PROPOSED PLAN, THERE COULD BE 113 
ALLOTMENTS AFFECTED (SEE TABLE 4-7). 
IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT MOST LAND 
OWNERSHIP ADJUSTMENTS WOULD BE 
MADE THROUGH EXCHANGE. THEREFORE, 
AS LANDS ARE DISPOSED IN ALLOTMENTS 
CONTAINING SCATTERED, ISOLATED 
PARCELS, LANDS WILL BE ACQUIRED IN 
OTHER AREAS. THESE AREAS WILL BE 
ADDED TO ALLOTMENTS IN THOSE AREAS 
RESULTING IN A NET LOSS OF 435 AUs. The 
owner of any permanent range improvements 
would be compensated for the adjusted value of 
their interest in these range improvements. Setting 
priority disposal areas on the East Mesa will make 
grazing management MORE reasonable and 
possible AS LANDS WILL BE DISPOSED OF ON 
AREAS ON THE EDGES OF THE ALLOTMENTS 
FIRST. If these lands were sold or exchanged to 
the permittee, grazing would remain the same, but 
if the land was sold to another interest, grazing use 
could be lost or grazing patterns substantially 
changed. There is always an opportunity for a lease 
agreement between the grazing permittee and 
NEW landowner granting control of the property 
TO THE PERMITTEE and livestock. Grazing AUs 
could be reduced if no agreement was reached and 



the percent Federal LAND would change 
accordingly. The multiple-use management of 
2,895,360 acres of public land would allow 
continued livestock grazing on the public land. The 
acquisition of State trust and private lands would 
block up the public land. Developing and 
managing grazing activity plans would be easier. 

Designation of ACECs could have an impact on 
livestock grazing in those areas if grazing patterns 
were altered or livestock excluded. Most of these 
areas have significant biological or other resource 
values. Parts of the ACECs could be fenced to 
protect these values from grazing use. Livestock 
grazing would be eliminated or excluded on 8,026 
acres within these ACECs. Grazing patterns would 
change. AUs for the most part would remain the 
same AS THE AREAS WHERE LD7ESTOCK 
WOULD BE EXCLUDED ARE SMALL. These 
areas are the Central Peloncillo Mountains, Bear 
Creek, Redrock Game Farm, and part of the 
Organ Mountains. ACECs ARE USUALLY PART 
OF A LARGER ALLOTMENT SO GRAZING 
activity plans would be developed to minimize 
conflicts between recreational activities and 
livestock use ON THE REST OF THE 
ALLOTMENT. These plans would benefit grazing 
in the long-term by improving distribution patterns 
and allowing rest for forage species. 

Vehicle use would be limited to designated roads 
and trails which could have a negative impact on 
grazing practices. Human and livestock interactions 
would be limited. 

The designation of four new areas for wilderness 
study would carry all the standard stipulations. 
These four new study areas are included in 14 
allotments. Range improvement maintenance and 
development would be more costly, difficult and 
time consuming. The monitoring of livestock 
movements, salting and supplementing could also 
be more difficult. 

Intensive vehicle use would be expanded to 16,190 
acres in two new areas. The allotments which 
contain these new areas could have more problems 
with vandalism and livestock harassment. The 
allotments are Walters (No. 01068); Lunt (No. 
01034); Aden Hills (No. 03001); and Corralitos 
(No. 03013). Having specific areas for intensive 
vehicle use, should limit the problems in the rest 



4-26 



PROPOSED PLAN 



TABLE 4-7 

ALLOTMENTS POTENTIALLY IMPACTED BY LAND DISPOSAL ACTION 

PROPOSED PLAN 



Allotment Number 



Total Preference 



01077 
01518 
01550 
01553 
02001 
02031 
02051 
02501 
02502 
02503 
02504 
02505 
02506 
02508 
02509 
02511 
02512 
02513 
02514 
02515 
02516 
02517 
02518 
02519 
02520 
02521 
02522 
02523 
02524 
02525 
02526 
02527 
02528 
02529 
02530 
02532 
02533 
02534 
02535 
02536 
02537 
02539 
02540 
02541 
02542 
03008 
03027 
03031 
03044 
03058 
03061 
04501 
04502 
04503 
04504 
04505 
04506 
04507 
04508 
04509 
04510 



Brockman Homestead 
McCants Lease 
Hughes Lease 
Stuart Trust 
Edwin and Joyce Allen 
Akela North 
Steeple A 

Edwin and Joyce Allen 
Benedict Lease 
Red Mountain Ranch 
Cerro Mesa Ranch 
Black Mountain Ranch 
Hatcher East Lease 
Hurt Lease 
Hatcher John Lease 
Hervol Lease 
Irwin Lease 
Sweetwater Past 
Jones Lease 
Kretek Corp. Lease 
Jesse Mauer 
McCauley J. L. Lease 
Nunn Joe Bill Lease 
Simpson Lease 
Seventy Six Draw 
Richardson Lease 
Salopek Lease 
Smyer Frank Lease 
Speir Lease 
Cerro Mesa Ranch 
Chi no Lease 
Black Mountain West 
Butterf ield 
POL Lease 
Butterf ield Trai I 
Cienega Ranch 
T Bar Ranch 
Foster Lease 
Burdick Hills West 
Koenig Lease 
Phi I lips Lease 
May Lease 
Flat Ranch Lease 
Acosta Lease 
Southwest Lease 
Picacho Peak 
Bignell Arroyo 
Las Uvas Ranch 
Western Oil Company 
Palma Park 
Garfield 
Keith Lease 
McCauley F. L. Lease 
Pine Canyon Lease 
Onda Lease 
Hatcher West Lease 
Hoi limon Lease 
Brown Lease 
Faywood Lease 
96 Creek Lease 
Crumbley Lease 



348 

36 

120 

36 

156 

420 

2,628 

108 

144 

240 

1,056 

420 

12 

708 

60 

12 

24 

84 

24 

24 

96 

288 

144 

528 

528 

12 

48 

60 

612 

120 

336 

300 

180 

12 

324 

432 

24 

12 

24 

36 

136 

252 

36 

24 

132 

985 

444 

3,089 

408 

1,584 

444 

204 

984 

1,140 

504 

48 

1,332 

12 

12 

48 

12 



4-27 



PROPOSED PIAN 



TABLE 4-7 (Concluded) 

ALLOTMENTS POTENTIALLY IMPACTED BY LAND DISPOSAL ACTION 

PROPOSED PLAM 



Allotment Number 



A I lotment Name 



Total Preference 



04511 
04512 
04513 
04514 
04515 
04516 
04517 
04518 
04519 
04520 
04521 
04522 
04523 
04524 
04525 
04526 
04527 
04528 
04529 
04530 
04531 
04532 
04533 
04534 
04535 
04536 
04537 
04538 
04539 
04540 
04541 
04542 
04543 
04544 
04545 
04546 
04547 
04548 
04549 
04550 
04551 
04552 
04553 
04554 
04555 
04556 
04557 
04559 
04598 
15002 
15004 
15007 
15008 
15009 
15010 
15012 



De La Lease 
Delancey Lease 
Upton Mountain Lease 
Delk Lease 
Upton Lease 
Dickerson Lease 
2C Ranch Lease 
McDonald Lease 
Whiskey Creek 
Foster Lease 
Foy Partnership Lease 
Franks Ranch Lease 
White Rock Canyon 
Glenn Lease 
Genevieve Gunter 
Harrington Ranch 
Hinton Lease 
Hooker Joe Lease 
Pitchfork Ranch 
Casas Grandes Lease 
Hayes Lease 
McCauley Harry Lease 
McCauley Marie Lease 
McCauley J. A. Lease 
Ogilvie Ranch Lease 
Niblett Lease 
Greenwood Ranch 
Three Sisters Lease 
Rice and Son Lease 
Richardson Lease 
Spires Cattle Lease 
Strain Lease 
Pugmire Lease 
Boston Hill Lease 
Brockman Lease 
Wesley Brown Lease 
Eby Ranch Lease 
Norn's Lease 
Moore Nadine Lease 
Hooker Lease 
Johnson Clint Lease 
Moon Ranch 
Gunter Lease 
Capulin Cattle Lease 
Jarrell Ranch Lease 
Reich Ranch Lease 
Fierro Lease 
Tioga-Marion 
7XV Ranch Lease 
Dripping Springs 
Anthony Gap 
Jeff Isaacks 
R. L. Isaacks 
Bishop's Cap 
Tex-Line 
Organ 



60 
60 

348 

888 

60 

1,020 

1,068 

168 

120 
60 

132 
1,500 

708 

48 

1,620 

120 

180 

780 
1,104 

499 
24 
48 

720 
36 

120 

72 

1,008 

12 

156 
12 

648 
12 

132 
12 
24 

156 
1,224 

528 

960 
12 
12 
24 
12 

432 
1,136 
24 
24 
12 
60 
1,759 

492 
1,905 

396 
1,593 

180 

168 



TOTAL NO. OF ALLOTMENTS 113 



TOTAL PREFERENCE 



Source: BLM Files, 1990. 



4-28 



PROPOSED PLAN 



of the Resource Area. Limiting vehicle use to 
designated or existing roads and trails, limits 
livestock and human interaction. Because most 
roads or trails lead to developed improvements, 
vandalism except during the hunting season 
remains about the same. The closed vehicle use 
designation could create problems in range 
improvement maintenance, development, AND 
BLM LrVESTOCK GRAZING MANAGEMENT 
PROGRAMS. Monitoring of livestock movement 
and other activities associated with livestock 
maintenance especially along the 
MEXICAN/AMERICAN border would be more 
DIFFICULT AND LESS EFFICIENT BY THIS 
PROPOSED CLOSURE. 

New access routes would alter livestock patterns as 
they are developed. Depending on where the new 
access were developed additional fencing may be 
needed which would alter livestock patterns. These 
routes could allow livestock to move into areas not 
previously available. New access could increase the 
human livestock interaction factor which could 
lead to increased vandalism and animal 
harassment. 

Designation of right-of-way exclusion areas would 
prevent the disruption of grazing patterns 
associated with right-of-way development. 
Designation of right-of-way avoidance areas would 
keep livestock disruption to a minimum. Where 
rights-of-way were granted, there could be a initial 
disruption in livestock grazing patterns during the 
construction phase. Patterns would return to 
normal upon completion of the line or site. 

ELIMINATION OF MINING ACITVITIES BY 
WITHDRAWING THE LANDS FROM MINERAL 
ENTRY would eliminate even the short-term 
impacts to livestock grazing. The rest of the 
Resource Area would be subject to the standard 
stipulations. Some disruption in grazing patterns 
could occur over the short-term. Mineral material 
sales would continue to cause problems in the 
allotments they were located in. Grazing use would 
decrease as the vegetation was removed. Long-term 
impacts to livestock grazing would be minimal as 
the animals adapt to the new activity. 

Two additional SRMAs (DONA ANA 
MOUNTAINS AND FORT CUMMINGS) would be 
designated in the Resource Area. These would 



require recreation or grazing activity plans to 
mitigate the potential conflict between livestock 
and recreational users on two allotments. The 
possibility of livestock and visitor interaction 
would increase especially in areas more heavily 
used by livestock as camping and grazing use do 
not readily coexist. 

The development of six new HMPs would benefit 
livestock and wildlife by identifying conflicts and 
proposing appropriate measures to remedy these 
problem areas. All of the new plans would involve 
species which can coexist with livestock. Additional 
range improvements may be needed to implement 
rotational grazing plans. Grazing patterns may 
need to be changed to provide forage during key 
periods for both livestock and wildlife. Livestock 
AUs could be reduced if THE additional forage 
needed to meet wildlife population goals could not 
be derived from chemical treatments or prescribed 
burns. 

Watershed activity plans on eight critical watershed 
areas, upon implementation, would improve 
ground cover and lessen soil loss. Forage would 
improve for a variety of uses including livestock. 
Distribution of livestock would improve which 
would improve use patterns. Grazing patterns 
could be altered and in small areas grazing 
eliminated as part of these plans. 

Vegetation sales of native plants and the new sale 
area between Deming and Lordsburg would have 
a small impact on grazing use, most of this 
associated with increased human activity and some 
off-road vehicle use. The removal of some yucca 
plants would have a minimal impact as livestock 
prefer the PODS in the spring. 

The desired plant community under THE 
PROPOSED PLAN, would involve a significant 
amount of brush treatment by chemical herbicides. 
(For additional information on chemical brush 
control see the SRG EIS, Las Cruces/Lordsburg 
MFPA/EIS AND THE FINAL EIS VEGETATION 
TREATMENT ON BLM LANDS IN THE 
THIRTEEN WESTERN STATES, 1991.) Most of 
the brush dominated areas would not show a 
change unless treated with a chemical designed to 
kill that specific shrub species (such as Spike 20P). 
Most brush treated areas would change to a 
grass/forb dominated area in the short-term with 



4-29 



PROPOSED PLAN 



shrubs moving back in over time. With proper 
grazing management, the effects of a brush control, 
such as increased plant diversity and production, 
improved ground cover and soil stabilization could 
last for the long-term. All chemical treated areas 
are rested from livestock grazing for at least the 
second and third growing season after treatment. 
TOBOSA AND SACATON burn areas are normally 
rested until regrowth has attained a height of 4 
inches on the forage species. OTHER AREAS 
THAT ARE BURNED WILL BE RESTED FOR 
TWO GROWING SEASONS. 

Livestock grazing would be eliminated on 8,026 
acres of public land. THREE OF THE FOUR 
AREAS ARE PRESENTLY EXCLUDED from 
grazing because of significant riparian, recreational 
or wildlife values. These areas are the Red Rock 
Game Farm and PORTIONS OF THE Central 
Peloncillo Mountains for bighorn sheep, Bear 
Creek for riparian values and part of the Organ 
Mountains for recreational use. THIS WOULD 
CAUSE A PERMANENT LOSS OF 90 AUs. 

Riparian and arroyo habitat would continue to 
attract livestock. The damage from trampling and 
grazing would be mitigated through a rotational 
grazing activity plan which takes into account the 
need of the vegetation, wildlife and livestock. In 
areas where livestock use is excluded by fencing, 
additional improvements would be needed to 
disperse livestock use. Grazing patterns would 
change. Most of these areas are small so the 
impacts to livestock would be minimal. 

Management for special status species plants is 
incorporated into the ACEC prescriptions. 
Livestock grazing may be changed or eliminated in 
certain areas to ensure a species continued 
existence. 

IN SUMMARY, multiple-use management and 
acquisition of land, vehicle use limited to existing 
or designated roads and trails, watershed 
management plans and desired plant community 
OBJECTIVES THROUGH CHEMICAL 
TREATMENT would have short- and long term 
beneficial impacts on livestock grazing by limiting 
the interaction between humans and livestock and 
improving forage conditions. CONTINUED 
ELIMINATION OF LD7ESTOCK GRAZING 



WOULD RESULT IN A PERMANENT LOSS OF 
90 AUs. LAND OWNERSHIP ADJUSTMENTS 
WOULD LIKELY NOT AFFECT ON-GOING 
GRAZING OPERATIONS BUT WOULD RESULT 
IN THE LOSS OF REVENUE TO THE 
GOVERNMENT FROM GRAZING FEES ON 435 
AUs. 

VEGETATION 

The disposal of 156,460 acres of public land could 
impact the vegetation resources in those areas. 
Lands under BLM jurisdiction are managed and 
protected under the multiple-use mandate. 
Disposal lands are usually identified for city 
expansion. Subsequent development usually 
requires leveling, clearing and other surface 
disturbing activities. Most of the identified land 
(APPROXIMATELY 70,000 ACRES) is on the East 
Mesa. Many parcels of land are one section or less 
in size and are scattered through out the Resource 
Area but mainly in Grant and Luna Counties. 
Acquired lands from the State and private sector 
would come under the multiple-use and protection 
mandate. Many of the acquired lands would 
possess rare or unusual plant communities. The 
retained lands would remain the same. 

The designation of ACECs AND SMAs would 
provide an extra measure of management and 
protection to the native vegetation. Many of the 
ACECs have been identified for biological reasons. 
All vehicular traffic would be limited to designated 
roads and trails in these ACECs unless the area is 
closed to vehicle use. Parking or camping areas 
have been proposed in some of the ACECs. The 
removal of vegetation under THE PROPOSED 
PLAN, would be approximately 23 acres. Livestock 
grazing, if permitted, would require a grazing 
activity plan TO BE DEVELOPED IN 
CONJUNCTION WITH THE LD7ESTOCK 
OPERATOR. Mineral entry opportunities would be 
severely limited; minimizing the loss of the 
vegetation resource. Interim Management Policy 
restrictions in four new areas for wilderness study 
would provide additional protection to the 
vegetation resources. Vehicle use would be limited 
to existing roads and trails or closed to vehicle use 
in designated wilderness areas. The maintenance of 
vegetation in its natural state is an objective of 
wilderness management. 



4-30 



PROPOSED PLAN 



There would be 16,190 acres of open off-road 
vehicle use. While vegetation in these areas could 
be lost or damaged, the surrounding areas should 
sustain less abuse from vehicle use. Limiting 
vehicle use to designated or existing roads and 
trails would protect the vegetation resource. 
Closed areas would prevent vegetation resource 
damage from vehicle use. 

Development of new access would cause vegetation 
loss along the length of the new route. AN 
AVERAGE OF 1 ACRE OF VEGETATION 
DISTURBANCE PER MILE OF NEW ACCESS 
WOULD OCCUR. If the road was not bladed, 
vegetation would remain between the tire tracks. 
Vegetation loss would be minimal. 

The designation of right-of-way exclusion areas and 
right-of-way avoidance areas would prevent or 
greatly limit vegetation disturbance in these areas. 
Impacts to vegetation species would be short-term. 
Reseeding and recontouring stipulations would 
mitigate long-term impacts. 

Disturbance to vegetation would be prevented in 
areas closed to mineral activities. In areas open to 
mineral entry, there would be some initial 
vegetation loss from exploration and development. 
These disturbances would be localized (< 123 acres 
per year). All disturbed areas would be 
recontoured and reseeded. Native plants THAT 
ARE DISPLACED BY MINING ACTIVITIES are 
made available to the public whenever possible 
THROUGH THE ADOPT-A-PLANT PROGRAM. 
Successful reclamation is dependent upon climatic 
conditions. 

The designation of two new SRMAs and the 
accompanying plans which would be developed on 
these new areas could cause some vegetation loss 
as recreation sites ARE developed in the 
short-term. Long-term benefits to the native 
vegetation resource could be realized through 
educational awareness. With visitor use 
concentrated in "high" impact areas, surrounding 
vegetation types would receive less human impact. 

Sue new HMPs would establish vegetation 
management objectives for wildlife and other uses 
and outline ways to achieve these objectives. These 
plans should balance use levels on key species used 



by wildlife and livestock. Key vegetation species 
should improve and increase. Project development 
could cause a loss of several acres of vegetation in 
the short-term. 

Watershed activity plans for eight critical 
watershed areas would impact the vegetation 
resource by providing for the stabilization of the 
soils and reestablishment of native vegetation 
species. Project development, in the short-term, 
could cause a loss of several acres of native 
vegetation. 

Vegetation sales of native plants in the existing 
areas and the establishment of a new sale area 
between Lordsburg and Deming would cause 
minimal damage to the vegetative resource. Yucca, 
ocotillo and desert willow are the species identified 
for the new area. Some off-road vehicle use is 
required. 

The desired plant community concept, under THE 
PROPOSED PLAN, would REQUIRE CHEMICAL 
TREATMENT OF brush dominated areas with 
herbicides. (For additional information see the 
SRG EIS, Las Cruces/Lordsburg MFPA/EIS AND 
FINAL EIS VEGETATION TREATMENT ON 
BLM LAND IN THIRTEEN WESTERN STATES, 
1991). Most of the brush dominated areas would 
not show a change unless treated with a prescribed 
herbicide such as Spike 20P. IT IS EXPECTED 
THAT BRUSH COULD BE TREATED ON 
APPROXIMATELY h MILLION ACRES AND 
would change to a grass and forb dominated area 
in the short-term with shrubs moving back in over 
time. Prescribed grazing management could 
prolong the effects of a brush control, such as 
increased plant diversity and production, improved 
ground cover and soil stabilization. Snakeweed, 
which responds more to climatic changes than 
chemical treatment would be burned and not 
chemically treated under THE PROPOSED PLAN. 
Prescribed and natural fire would be used to treat 
other areas. The areas which are expected to 
respond to a fire are mixed desert shrub greater 
than 10 percent slope, mountain brush areas, 
snakeweed types and grass bottomlands. Brush 
invasion in the grass bottomland would be retarded 
with prescribed fires. Areas presently dominated 
by brush species do not allow for much species 
diversity and in many cases contribute to soil loss. 



4-31 



PROPOSED PLAN 



Eliminating livestock grazing on 8,026 acres would 
protect forage species from livestock overuse and 
may permit improvement of vegetation conditions 
in some areas. The benefits which can be 
associated with proper grazing management such 
as old growth removal and plant stimulation would 
not be realized. 

Riparian and arroyo habitats under THE 
PROPOSED PLAN would require a grazing activity 
plan for each area. Most surface disturbing 
activities would occur outside these zones. All of 
the areas would be closed to vehicle use or limited 
to designated roads and trails. Visitor use would be 
directed away from most riparian areas. All of 
these measures would help in the short- and long- 
term reestablishment of riparian vegetation. 

IN SUMMARY, beneficial impacts to vegetation 
resources due to the BLM's mandate to manage 
public land or because areas have been withdrawn 
or have limited uses assigned to them would occur 
from multiple-use management and acquisition of 
lands, ACECs, vehicle use limited to designated or 
existing roads and trails, watershed management 
plans, desired plant community objectives, 40 
percent use on black grama, and the elimination of 
livestock grazing. As a result of meeting desired 
plant community objectives and land treatments, 
vegetation diversity and ground cover would be 
improved on approximately H MILLION ACRES. 
The disposal of public land, would have short- and 
long-term negative impacts from potential 
vegetation loss. 

SOIL/AIR/WATER 

Soil 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, lands identified 
for disposal would be the responsibility of State 
and local governments. More acres could be 
subject to soil disturbance. Lands near urban 
centers could be subjected to clearing, levelling, 
and construction activities. Any soil loss from 
accelerated erosion would be irretrievable. Lands 
away from urban centers could be subjected to 
unregulated surface activities such as grazing, 
mining, and recreation use. Most of the lands 
subject to these activities would be on the East and 
West Mesas near Las Cruces. Improved 
manageability through acquisition and blocking up 



of lands would protect the soil resource because 
activities on these lands would be regulated and 
limited in their scope and extent. 

MANAGEMENT PRESCRIPTIONS FOR 21 
ACECs AND 4 RNAs would close these areas to 
mineral material sales, fluid mineral leasing, and in 
some cases close locatable mineral entry, limit or 
exclude off-road vehicle use, exclude authorizations 
for rights-of-way, and develop or revise Area 
Management Plans. These prescriptions would 
prevent soil surface disturbance and vegetation 
loss. Approximately 28 acres would be subject to 
soil disturbance from fence construction, parking 
area and primitive campground development. 

Off-road vehicle closures would provide greater 
protection to the soil resource from soil 
disturbance and vegetation loss. Limiting off-road 
vehicle use to existing or designated roads and 
trails over most of the Resource Area, would 
provide greater protection to the soil resource 
because soil surface disturbance and vegetation loss 
would not extend beyond existing or designated 
roads and trails. Areas open to off-road vehicle 
use, would result in a greater area subjected to soil 
surface disturbance, compaction and vegetation 
loss. 

Developing new access into 19 areas could involve 
surface disturbing activities such as road 
construction. New road construction could increase 
the soil susceptibility to wind and water erosion at 
least during construction activities. 

Designation of right-of-way avoidance areas would 
impact the soil resource because if rights-of-way 
must be located in these areas they would be 
subject to special stipulations to minimize affects 
from construction activities. Designation of 
right-of-way exclusion areas would impact the soil 
resource because activities associated with the 
right-of-way would not occur in these areas. 
Designation of areas open to rights-of-way (subject 
to standard stipulations) would be affected by 
surface soil disturbance activities such as 
construction, maintenance and continued use of 
the right-of-way by vehicles. 

Exploration and development of fluid minerals on 
lands which are open to leasing (subject to 
standard stipulations) would affect the soil 



4-32 



PROPOSED PLAN 



resource by disturbing surface soil near exploration 
sites by activities such as construction of access, 
drilling, site clearing and in the case of 
development, installation of utilities, structures and 
additional access if needed. The soil resource on 
areas closed to fluid mineral leasing would not be 
impacted by activities associated with fluid mineral 
exploration and development. 

Activities on areas open to locatable mineral entry 
would result in site-specific soil disturbance from 
drilling, trenching, mining, construction of access 
roads, clearing of sites, and deposition of tailings 
from mines. Areas closed to locatable mineral 
entry would not be subjected to soil disturbance 
from locatable mineral activities. 



additional habitat management plans would 
provide protection to the soil resource in these 
areas because activities which may occur in these 
areas are generally limited in scope and extent by 
existing management guidelines. Impacts to the soil 
surface from habitat development projects would 
be limited and would not be permanent. 

Developing watershed plans on eight areas would 
improve, protect, and enhance the soil resource by 
improving vegetation ground cover, reducing 
erosion, and reducing runoff while increasing 
percolation of water into the ground. These results 
would be realized by improving grazing practices, 
restricting off-road vehicle USE, mining, and 
recreation activities on these areas. 



Areas open to salable mineral disposal (subject to 
standard stipulations) would result in the removal 
of the soil surface, construction of access roads, 
clearing and levelling of sites for equipment and 
salable material storage. Areas closed to salable 
mineral disposal would not be subjected to soil 
disturbance from salable material disposal 
activities. 

The two existing SRMAs, the Organ Mountains 
and Gila Lower Box, would continue. Two 
additional SRMAs (Doha Ana Mountains and Fort 
Cummings) would be designated, and the 
remainder of the Resource Area would be 
managed primarily for dispersed recreation 
opportunities. In the Organ Mountains SRMA, 
activities which may impact the soil resource 
(hiking and camping) by causing erosion and soil 
compaction, are limited to designated and 
maintained trails and campgrounds at Aguirre 
Spring Recreation Area and designated and 
maintained trails at Dripping Springs Natural Area 
and established but unmaintained trails throughout 
the remainder of the SRMA. The Gila Lower Box 
SRMA and the two additional SRMAs are subject 
to unrestricted hiking and camping. Soil erosion 
and compaction may occur where unmaintained 
trails and campsites are found. Since most of these 
activities are widely dispersed, impacts are most 
likely to occur where use is concentrated (such as 
hunting camps). However, these activities tend to 
be of short duration. 

Implementation of the existing six habitat 
management plans and development of six 



Soil surface disturbances in the five existing 
vegetation sale areas in Dofia Ana County and the 
addition of a vegetation sale area near Deming 
would be limited to specific sites where digging of 
individual plants occurs and where off-road 
vehicles are used within these sale areas. 

Vegetation treatments would include such methods 
as prescribed fire and chemical brush control in 
conjunction with proper grazing methods. 
Prescribed fires could cause short-term soil erosion 
because vegetation cover would be temporarily 
removed (regrowth would occur in 1 to 2 years). 
Hot spots in fires can alter physical soil surface 
properties by reducing organic matter, decreasing 
nitrogen content and reducing soil microbes 
(Wright and Bailey 1982). These alterations are 
not permanent and recovery occurs with 
revegetation of the area. Increased vegetation 
ground cover would result in long-term improved 
watershed conditions. Improved grazing 
management would benefit the soil resource 
through increased herbaceous ground cover, and 
reduced impacts from cattle trails and sacrifice 
areas near water. 

The exclusion of grazing would eliminate impacts 
associated with grazing such as trailing and 
trampling. Erosion may be reduced through 
increased ground cover, erosion and compaction 
from cattle trails to and from water would be 
eliminated, and sacrifice areas near water sources 
would not exist after a period of recovery. 



4-33 



PROPOSED PI.AN 



Secured instream Hows would benefit the soil 
resource because water levels within stream 
channels would be maintained allowing streamside 
vegetation to increase resulting in stable stream 
banks and dense ground cover to trap silt carried 
by flood waters. 

IN SUMMARY, under this alternative, impacts to 
the soil resource would be limited to site-specific 
activities. Acres withdrawn from some mineral, 
grazing, and off-road vehicle activities would be 
increased and a significant number of acres would 
be managed for recreation, wildlife, and watershed 
values which would improve watershed conditions 
and decrease erosion. 



over a greater area. Off-road vehicle activity 
degrades vegetation, and disturbs the soil surface 
which would increase wind erosion and dust 
content of the air. Areas limited to off-road vehicle 
use would help maintain air quality because off- 
road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads 
and trails. Areas without existing roads and trails 
would not be disturbed and air quality away from 
these roads and trails would not degrade. Under 
THE PROPOSED PLAN, there is a significant 
increase in lands with limited use. Areas open to 
off-road vehicle use, would result in a greater area 
subjected to vegetation degradation and soil 
disturbance. Wind erosion would continue to add 
dust to the air in these areas. 



Air 

Lands identified for disposal could be subjected to 
activities which could affect air quality, such as 
clearing, construction, and sand and gravel 
operations which could increase dust levels in and 
near the areas of activity during construction 
phases. These lands are primarily on the East and 
West Mesas near Las Cruces and acreages are 
significantly greater than EXISTS NOW. Lands 
identified for disposal would not be managed by 
the BLM. Restrictions on activities would be the 
responsibility of State and local governments. 
Acquisition and consolidation of lands would 
maintain or improve air quality because activities 
on these lands would be limited in scope and 
extent. 

Development of management prescription for 21 
ACECs would help maintain air quality over these 
areas. Closure of the areas to mineral material 
sales, fluid mineral leasing, and in some cases 
closed to locatable mineral entry, off-road vehicle 
use excluded or limited, and right-of-way 
authorizations excluded would protect air quality 
by reducing the amount of dust in the air usually 
caused by these activities. 

Proposal of four new areas for wilderness study 
would help maintain air quality over these areas 
because under Interim Management Policy 
guidelines activities within these areas are limited 
in scope and extent. 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, areas closed to 
off-road vehicle use would maintain air quality 



Developing access to 19 areas would reduce air 
quality during construction and increased use of 
new and existing roads. Air quality would be 
reduced from dust content in the air near these 
areas. 

Designation of right-of-way avoidance areas would 
help maintain air quality because rights-of-way 
would not be allowed in these areas without 
special stipulations. Designation of right-of-way 
exclusion areas would help maintain air quality 
because soil disturbances and vegetation loss 
associated with right-of-way activities would not 
occur. Activities in areas open to (subject to 
standard stipulations) right-of-way could continue 
to reduce air quality from construction and vehicle 
activities over the immediate area. Most air quality 
reduction occurs during construction maintenance 
activities. 

Activities in areas open to fluid mineral leasing 
would affect air quality during exploration and 
development of these resources. Activities such as 
access, construction, and site preparation during 
exploration would increase dust levels. 
Development activities such as access construction, 
site preparation, utilities construction, would 
reduce air quality over the area of development. 
Areas closed to fluid minerals leasing would not be 
subjected to air quality reduction from fluid 
mineral leasing activities. Activities in areas open 
to fluid mineral leasing with site-specific 
stipulations would not greatly affect air quality. 
Type of activities would be limited in scope and 
extent. 



4-34 



PROPOSED PLAN 



Areas open to locatable mineral entry would be 
subjected to air quality reduction from activities 
such as construction of access, digging, and 
exposure of disturbed soil and tailings to wind 
erosion. Areas closed to locatable mineral entry 
would not be subjected to soil disturbing activities 
which would reduce air quality from dust. 

Areas open to mineral material disposal would be 
subjected to air quality reduction, in localized 
areas, from dust caused by construction and use of 
access, removal of vegetation, disturbance of 
topsoil, and exposure to wind which would carry 
the dust to other locals. Areas closed to mineral 
material disposal would not be subjected to air 
quality reduction caused by mineral material 
disposal activities. 

Watershed planning on eight areas would help 
maintain air quality over these areas through 
management practices such as improved grazing 
practices and restrictions on mining, off-road 
vehicle, and recreation activities. Watershed 
planning maintains or increases ground cover and 
reduces soil disturbance. 

Vegetation treatments such as prescribed fire and 
chemical brush control in conjunction with proper 
grazing practices would be used on up to 10,000 
acres/year. Prescribed burning would have 
short-term effects on air quality from smoke (1 to 
3 days). 

IN SUMMARY, ACEC AND RNA designations, 
watershed planning, wildlife habitat planning, off- 
road vehicle designation, restriction for 
rights-of-way, and vegetation treatments would 
reduce the amount of dust which enters the air by 
protecting and enhancing surface vegetation and 
reducing soil surface disturbance. 

Water 

Lands identified for disposal would not be 
managed by BLM and an indirect effect of disposal 
could be urbanization which would be under the 
control of State and local authorities. Most lands 
are on the East and West Mesas near Las Cruces 
with scattered parcels in Grant and Luna Counties. 
Acquisition and consolidation of land would help 
maintain water quality because activities on these 



lands could be managed to protect the resource 
and would be limited in scope and extent. 

The development of management prescriptions for 
21 ACECs AND 4 RNAs would protect and 
enhance surface and ground water resources on 
these lands. Prescriptions such as closure to 
mineral material and fluid leasing activities, and in 
some cases closure to locatable mineral entry, and 
development or revision of Area Management 
Plans would protect or enhance surface vegetation, 
reduce erosion, and increase percolation of water 
into the ground. 

Special actions to protect values identified in the 
wild and scenic river study for portions of the Gila 
River which are on public land would limit 
activities and would provide management to 
protect and enhance wild and scenic river values 
such as scenic quality, wildlife and fish, recreation, 
geology and cultural. 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, there would be 
more areas closed to off-road vehicle use. Fewer 
areas would be subjected to vegetation loss or soil 
surface disturbance, resulting in decreased water 
erosion of exposed soil and increased water 
percolation into the ground would not be reduced. 
Areas with limited off-road vehicle use to existing 
or designated roads and trails is significantly higher 
NOW. Where off-road vehicle use is limited to 
existing or designated roads and trails, this would 
protect water resources because surface disturbance 
and vegetation loss would not extend beyond the 
existing or designated roads and trails over a 
greater area as it could Alternative A. Areas open 
to off-road vehicle use compared to Alternative A 
would result in increased soil disturbance, 
vegetation loss, and erosion. 

Watershed planning on approximately would 
provide management for land which is subject to 
excessive water erosion. Activities associated with 
grazing, mining, recreation, and off-road vehicle 
use would be managed to improve grazing 
practices and limit or mitigate mining, recreation 
and off-road vehicle uses. 

Vegetation treatments would consist of prescribed 
fire and chemical brush control in conjunction with 
proper grazing practices. Prescribed fires stimulate 



4-35 



PROPOSED PLAN 



vegetation growth and increase ground cover which 
would reduce erosion and increase percolation of 
water into the ground (Wright and Bailey 1982). 
There may be a short-term increase in runoff (1 to 
3 years) until the area revegetates and ground 
cover is re-established. Chemical brush control 
could improve vegetation ground cover, over a 
period of 1 to 3 years, resulting in decreased 
erosion and increased percolation of water into the 
ground. 

Exclusion of grazing could increase vegetation 
ground cover which would reduce runoff and 
increase percolation of water into the ground. 

Secured instream flows for the Gila Lower Box 
and Gila Middle Box would enhance riparian 
vegetation communities and stabilize stream banks, 
which reduces the impacts of flooding by slowing 
down water flows which allows for increased 
percolation and sediment collection. 

IN SUMMARY, planned actions would protect 
water resources by designating 21 areas as ACECs 
AND 4 AREAS AS RNAs, interim management of 
four areas of wilderness study, increased acres of 
closed and limited off-road vehicle use, watershed 
planning and vegetation treatments. These actions 
would enhance or protect surface vegetation, 
reduce runoff and water erosion of exposed soil, 
and increase percolation of water into the ground. 

WILDLIFE 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, most of the lands 
identified for disposal are on the East and West 
Mesas near Las Cruces. Lands near urban areas 
could be subjected to development activities which 
could degrade habitat and reduce wildlife 
populations such as small mammals, birds, and 
reptiles. Disposed lands away from urban areas 
could also be subjected to unregulated activities 
such as increased grazing, mining, and recreation, 
which could degrade habitat and displace wildlife. 
Improved manageability through acquisition and 
blocking up of lands would benefit wildlife because 
they may contain additional habitat and possible 
sensitive habitat for wildlife. Additionally these 
acquired lands could serve as a buffer for sensitive 
habitats. 



Development of management prescriptions for 21 
ACECs AND 4 RNAs would benefit wildlife. 
Prescriptions such as closure to mineral activities, 
limited off-road vehicle use, and development or 
revision of Area Management Plans would prevent 
wildlife habitat degradation and animal 
displacement. 

The addition of four areas for wilderness study and 
their interim management would help protect and 
enhance wildlife habitat because activities on these 
wilderness study areas would be limited in scope 
and extent. Management of these wilderness study 
areas may not allow for certain wildlife habitat 
improvement projects to occur. 

Wild and scenic river study for the Gila Lower Box 
and Gila Middle Box would help protect and 
enhance riparian wildlife habitat which is found 
along the river and free flow of water would 
maintain habitat for fish species (Hubbard, et al. 
1985). All activities which could affect wild and 
scenic river qualities would be limited in scope and 
extent. 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, areas closed to 
off-road vehicle use would not be subjected to 
habitat degradation from vegetation loss and soil 
disturbance. Less disturbance to wildlife would also 
occur. Limiting off-road vehicle use to designated 
and existing roads and trails, would prevent habitat 
degradation and wildlife disturbances from areas 
that are currently undesignated. Some degradation 
may occur near these roads and trails. Areas open 
to off-road vehicle use, would increase acreage that 
would be subjected to habitat degradation and 
wildlife disturbance (Bury, et al. 1977). 

Developing access into 19 additional areas could 
involve surface disturbing activities such as road 
construction. New construction could be subject to 
special stipulations to minimize affects from 
construction activities. 

Designation of right-of-way avoidance areas would 
prevent or minimize disturbances to wildlife and 
wildlife habitat. If a right-of-way is needed through 
these lands then stipulations would be required to 
minimize habitat degradation. Right-of-way 
exclusion areas would not be subjected to activities 



4-36 



PROPOSED PLAN 



which would degrade habitat or displace wildlife. 
Areas open to right-of-way (subject to standard 
stipulations) would be subjected to habitat 
degradation and wildlife disturbance from activities 
associated with installation of utilities and vehicle 
use along the right-of-way. 

Land open to fluid mineral leasing activities would 
affect wildlife by site-specific habitat degradation 
and wildlife disturbances during exploration 
activities such as access construction and drilling. 
Prolonged development of fluid minerals resources 
would degrade habitat and reduce wildlife 
populations from larger areas which include 
developed fields, access, and utilities such as 
pipelines. Areas closed to fluid mineral leasing 
would not be subjected to fluid mineral leasing 
activities which would degrade habitat. 
Designation of areas open to fluid mineral leasing 
with site specific stipulations would limit or reduce 
impacts to wildlife and wildlife habitat. 

Activities in areas open to locatable mineral entry 
would involve access construction, drilling, site 
levelling and clearing for storage of equipment, 
minerals and tailings would degrade habitat and 
reduce wildlife populations from the areas of 
activity. Effects from exploration activities would 
be short-term while the development of mines 
would have long-term effects. Areas withdrawn 
from locatable mineral entry, would not be 
subjected to exploration and development activities 
which would degrade habitat. 

Extraction of salable mineral materials results in 
the removal of surface vegetation and soil surface, 
construction of access roads, and clearing and 
levelling of a site for storage and placement of 
equipment and mineral material. These activities 
would degrade habitat. Areas closed to mineral 
material disposal would not be subjected to 
mineral disposal activities ,which would degrade 
habitat and displace wildlife. 

Continued implementation of six existing HMPs, 
and the development of six additional HMPs would 
benefit wildlife by protecting and enhancing 
wildlife habitat in these areas. At present, these 
areas have an estimated population of 1,680 deer, 
APPROXIMATELY 120 desert bighorn sheep, and 
500 antelope (most of which occur on private or 
State trust lands). Proposed minimum population 



levels in these existing and proposed HMP areas 
would result in an increase of 2,270 deer, a 58 
percent increase over present, 600 desert bighorn 
sheep, and 300 antelope occurring primarily on 
public land. 

Development of watershed plans for eight critical 
watershed areas would protect and enhance wildlife 
habitat components (vegetation and soil) by 
management activities such as erosion control 
projects, grazing management, and recreation 
management. 

Vegetation treatments would consist of prescribed 
fire and chemical brush control in conjunction with 
proper grazing practices. Prescribed fire projects 
would affect wildlife by altering habitat. Habitat 
improvements realized from prescribed fires on fire 
dependant vegetation communities are increased 
browse and forage, increased habitat diversity, and 
a continuation of natural vegetation community 
development (Wright and Bailey 1982). Chemical 
brush control would increase forage and improve 
habitat diversity. 

Exclusion of grazing would reduce competition 
between livestock and wildlife (where it occurs) in 
key habitats (particularly for desert bighorn sheep) 
for forage, cover and space (Sandoval 1982; BLM 
1986). 

IN SUMMARY, under THE PROPOSED PLAN 

wildlife would benefit from increased acreage 
withdrawn from mineral activity, elimination of 
grazing on key habitat areas, extensive off-road 
vehicle limitations, watershed planning, vegetation 
treatments and increased number of ACEC AND 
RNA designations. These actions would protect or 
enhance habitat and prevent habitat degradation. 

CULTURAL AND 

PALEONTOLOGICAL 

RESOURCES 

Acquisition or disposal of land can cause varied 
impacts to cultural resources. For example, 
acquisition of a significant Apachean site or 
Paleoindian camp or kill site would enhance the 
diversity of sites within the Mimbres Resource 
Area since few sites of this type are currently 
documented. Conversely, disposal of sites of this 



4-37 



PROPOSED PLAN 



type would reduce site diversity on the Mimbres 
Resource Area. 

Acquisition of lands which contain significant sites 
such as Fort Cummings and Los Tules would 
facilitate cultural resource goals. Under THE 
PROPOSED PLAN, some private land within the 
cultural ACECs would be acquired IF A WILLING 
SELLER AGREED TO THE PROPOSAL. At 
Cooke's Range ACEC, acquisition of the private 
40-acre portion of Fort Cummings would facilitate 
the development of the Fort as a recreation/ 
interpretive site. Acquisition of the private 10-acre 
portion of the Los Tules site would enhance 
preservation efforts for the entire site area. 

Impacts to cultural resources eligible to the 
National Register of Historic Places located within 
lands identified for disposal are mitigated through 
excavation and other methods. These mitigative 
efforts result in determinations of "no adverse 
effect through data recovery." However, these data 
recovery methods treat only portions of sites and 
some data is lost. In addition, modern excavation 
techniques will be considered primitive by future 
researchers. 

Through ACEC designation, cultural resource sites 
and areas significant on a National level could be 
given special management attention to protect the 
cultural values resulting in additional protection of 
the resources. ACEC management prescriptions 
would provide for phased, long-term protective 
actions for the affected sites. 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, 21 areas would be 
designated as ACECs AND 4 AREAS AS RNAs. 

NINE ACECs (Alamo Hueco Mountains, Apache 
Box, Cooke's Range, Dofia Ana Mountains, Los 
Tules, Old Town, Rincon, Organ/Franklin 
Mountains, AND San Diego Mountain) have 
significant cultural resource values. THE 
PROPOSED PALEOZOIC TRACKWAYS RNA 
HAS SIGNIFICANT PALEONTOLOGICAL 
VALUE. Significant prehistoric rock art 
(petroglyphs) would be protected at Dofia Ana 
Mountains, Rincon, Cooke's Range, and San Diego 
Mountain ACECs. In the Alamo Hueco 
Mountains, rockshelters and open sites 
representative of the Archaic through Apachean 
periods would be offered additional protection. 
Prehistoric rockshelter habitation sites would be 



protected within Apache Box. In Cooke's Range 
and Fort Cummings, historic mining sites and 
prehistoric open sites would receive additional 
protection. The significant Mogollon pithouse 
village of Los Tules and the large Mimbres village 
of Old Town would also be protected. In the 
Organ/Franklin Mountains, historic mining and 
resort sites would be protected. Also, open sites 
and rockshelters representative of habitation sites 
of the Archaic through Apache periods would be 
offered additional protection. 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, the Butterfield 
Trail and associated stage stations would be 
designated a SMA resulting in specific 
management prescriptions for the preservation, 
protection, and public interpretation of the trail. 

Closing or limiting off-road vehicle travel would 
impact cultural resources within the closure areas. 
Designating public land open to off-road vehicle 
travel could affect cultural sites where future off- 
road vehicle travel may occur. Increased 
unauthorized collection and vandalism would be 
expected to occur in the new open areas. The 
acquisition of legal public access in the Cooke's 
Range would result in increased vandalism to 
historic mining sites and prehistoric sites located 
IN CURRENT LIMITED ACCESS AREAS. 

Encouraging the use of right-of-way corridors 
would lessen affects on cultural resources by 
concentrating major rights-of-way in specific areas. 
Avoiding cultural ACECs with rights-of-way would 
result in reduced ground disturbances and visual 
intrusions to cultural resources within the ACECs. 

The withdrawal from locatable mineral entry would 
result in additional protection of cultural resources 
located within THREE ACECs AND ONE RNA. 
Apache Box ACEC is known to contain several 
rockshelter habitation sites. Cooke's Peak ACEC 
contains the remains of historic mining sites. 
Archaic and Mogollon period sites, as well as 
possible Apachean sites. The Organ/Franklin 
ACEC contains rockshelter habitation sites, 
historic mining sites, Archaic and Mogollon open 
sites. The Paleozoic Trackways RNA includes 
internationally significant 280-million-year-old 
amphibian and reptile trackways. 



4-38 



PROPOSED PLAN 



Mining activity usually results in more access roads 
and therefore easier access to cultural sites by the 
general public and miners. Easier access to cultural 
sites usually results in vandalism of unprotected 
sites. Ground disturbance related to mining 
activity that can affect cultural resources includes, 
but is not limited to, blasting, construction of new 
access roads, creation of staging areas, core 
drilling, and trenching with heavy machinery. Any 
degradation of cultural resources would result in 
irreversible and irretrievable losses of information. 

The effects of vegetation use through livestock 
grazing are generally low-level, except where 
conditions combine to concentrate cattle. Proximity 
to water, certain types of forage, natural barriers, 
or fences can result in channeling cattle to result 
in intensive trampling of artifacts and 
archaeological features, as well as increased site 
erosion. Eliminating livestock grazing by the 
construction of enclosures reduces these impacts. 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, the Old Town 
Site, Fort Cummings, and the Dripping Springs 
Natural Area would be excluded from livestock 
grazing which would reduce cattle trampling of 
these sites. Class III cultural inventories would be 
conducted at Fort Cummings, San Diego 
Mountain, Pony Hills, and Rincon ACECs. These 
inventories would result in the location, 
identification, and description of archaeological 
sites which would allow for more intensive 
protection and management efforts at these sites. 

Historic trails and roads within the Mimbres 
Resource Area such as the Camino Real, Santa 
Rita Copper Trail, Spanish exploration routes, and 
historic emigrant wagon roads would be researched 
and provide a basis for more intensive 
management and interpretation of these resources. 

Historic mining towns and features at the Cooke, 
Jose, Stephenson-Bennett, Modoc, Tres Hermanas, 
Pyramids, Piflo Altos, Peloncillos, Floridas, and 
Carlisle/Summit would be subjected to historic 
field and records research resulting in more 
detailed knowledge of the historical significance of 
these sites. This additional research would lead to 
better interpretation of the sites to the general 
public. Archaeological field schools would be 
initiated or continued at several sites including Old 
Town, Bruton Bead, Indian Basin, East Potrillo, 



South Florida, and Camp Cody. These field 
schools would help establish the significance and 
research potential of these sites and enhance 
BLM's abilities to properly manage these localities. 
This research would result in better 
communication with the public and greater 
interpretation of the resources to the public. 

Public access to important rockshelter sites such as 
Apache Box would be restricted through the use of 
metal grates over some of the shelter openings. In 
addition, these sites would be subjected to 
increased patrols and monitoring which would 
provide greater security and protection. 

An effort to acquire significant Butterfield Stage 
Sites would be initiated which would result in the 
protection, stabilization, and public interpretation 
of these important sites. Old Town and Pony Hills 
would be intensively managed in accordance with 
the provisions of the Mimbres Culture Study 
legislation, and the BLM portion of the Redrock 
Cemetery Site would be transferred to the National 
Park Service. These actions would result in 
reduced vandalism at the sites and enhanced public 
interpretation. 

The Paleozoic Trackways Site would be intensively 
managed in accordance with the provisions of the 
Paleozoic Trackways legislation. This would result 
in greater protection and monitoring at the site 
and possibly the construction of an interpretive 
center. Environmental education would be 
stressed at the center. In addition, paleontological 
surveys would be ENCOURAGED AND 
FACILITATED in the Robledo Mountains, Aden 
Lava Flow, and Alamo Hueco Mountains. These 
surveys could result in the identification of new 
paleontological localities. This identification 
would result in new research at these sites and 
greater protection through monitoring and patrol. 
These discoveries would also enhance the BLM's 
public education efforts regarding paleontological 
resources in New Mexico. 

Protection of riparian areas reduces erosion at 
cultural sites. Riparian areas typically have high 
concentrations of historic and prehistoric sites. 

IN SUMMARY, under THE PROPOSED PLAN, 

State trust and private lands would be identified 
for acquisition. Additional cultural resources 



4-39 



PROPOSED PLAN 



located on these lands would come under BLM 
administration and protection. Nine ACECs with 
cultural resource values would be designated 
resulting in implementable management 
prescriptions for these resources. Under THE 
PROPOSED PLAN, most of the Mimbres 
Resource Area would be designated either limited 
or closed to off-road vehicle use. These 
designations would limit public access to 
unprotected cultural resources and decrease 
damage and vandalism associated with increased 
public access. The acquisition of legal public access 
in the Cooke's Range would result in increased 
vandalism to cultural resources located beyond the 
existing locked gates. Encouraging the use of 
right-of-way corridors would reduce ground 
disturbance and visual intrusions of cultural 
resources. Closing portions of the Mimbres 
Resource Area to mineral entry, mineral disposal, 
and fluid leasing would reduce the number of new 
access roads and result in decreased vandalism and 
damage to cultural resources within those areas. 
Reduction of soil erosion in riparian areas would 
reduce damage through erosion to the associated 
cultural resources located in and near riparian 
areas. 

RECREATION 

Disposal of public land would reduce the amount 
of public land in the Resource Area by 5 percent, 
although there would not be a significant reduction 
in recreation opportunities in much of the 
Resource Area because isolated parcels of disposal 
lands are currently inaccessible to recreationists. 
The expansion of the proposed Organ Mountains 
National Conservation Area would reduce the loss 
of dispersed recreation opportunities on the East 
Mesa under THE PROPOSED PLAN. However, 
disposal of public land adjacent to the City of Las 
Cruces would reduce opportunities for walking, 
hunting, shooting, mountain biking, and other 
recreation uses. Urbanization of some of these 
disposed lands would create new opportunities for 
developed recreation in parks, schoolyards, road 
biking, and other urban uses. Access acquisition 
and construction to other well-blocked public land 
in the Resource Area would more than 
compensate for a 5 percent decrease in public land 
acreage. Acquisition of State trust and private 
lands would effectively negate any significant loss 



in land available for recreation in the Resource 
Area. 

Acquisition of lands in ACECs and other SMAs 
throughout the Resource Area would improve 
recreation opportunities in those areas by 
improving public land patterns and reducing 
conflicts associated with land ownership 
boundaries. Recreation on those lands would not 
differ significantly from that on existing adjacent 
public land, but legal public access to those areas 
for recreation would improve while the potential 
for conflicting development would greatly diminish. 
The natural character of acquired lands would be 
protected, enhancing most dispersed outdoor 
recreation opportunities in which quality is 
generally enhanced by a lack of human 
development and disturbance. Acquisition would 
also enable BLM to provide facilities for developed 
recreation, such as parking lots and trailheads. 

Dispersed recreation opportunities for which 
quality is enhanced by increased naturalness in the 
setting such as hunting, hiking, and picnicking 
would benefit from vehicle closures or limitations 
(99.5 percent of the Resource Area) including 
ACECs. ACEC designation would restrict 
vehicular recreation in some areas to protect 
fragile riparian, scenic, cultural, endangered 
species, and other resources. Vehicular access for 
other forms of recreation would not be 
significantly affected by wilderness study area and 
ACEC designations. 

Acquisition of lands and development of a 
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail route 
from the Burro Mountains through the Cedar, 
Little Hatchet, Big Hatchet, and Alamo Hueco 
Mountains AND A SIDE TRAIL THROUGH THE 
FLORIDA MOUNTAINS AND COOKE'S RANGE, 
would enhance opportunities for long distance 
hiking both locally and nationally, as this segment 
would HELP TO complete the Continental Divide 
National Scenic Trail as a designated route from 
Mexico to Canada. Such designation would also 
enhance opportunities for other primitive and 
unconfined types of recreation by improving foot 
access to and across public land near the trail, and 
by protecting scenic quality with a right-of-way 
avoidance area. 



4-40 



PROPOSED PLAN 



Development of access routes would enhance the 
public's ability to enjoy outdoor recreation 
throughout the Resource Area for dispersed types 
of recreation including hunting, rockhounding, 
hiking, and birdwatching. Enhancement of these 
opportunities would be provided throughout the 
Resource Area in areas where public land is well- 
blocked and recreation access is desired by the 
public. Recreation users would also benefit from 
access development to AND across public land as 
additional County, State, and Federal roads are 
built. 

Vehicle recreation would be greatly enhanced by 
the development of new right-of-way routes, 
livestock development ACCESS ROUTES, and 
exploration and development routes associated 
with leasable, salable, and locatable minerals. 
Access development would also provide significant 
impacts to opportunities for other types of 
recreation as new routes for vehicular access to 
and across public land allow recreationists to 
conduct their myriad recreation uses on most 
public land in the Resource Area. New rights-of- 
way would be excluded from 264,870 acres and 
avoided in 818,770 acres, and new vehicular access 
routes for recreation would not be likely to occur 
in these 1,083,640 acres as a result of right-of-way 
development. New vehicular recreation and access 
routes most likely would be established as a result 
of right-of-way activities in the intermountain 
desert areas that cover most of the Resource Area, 
while construction of roads and land acquisition 
would provide access over most of the remainder 
of the Resource Area. 

Primitive recreation opportunities within 
right-of-way avoidance and exclusion areas, areas 
closed to fluid mineral leasing, closed to mineral 
disposal, and closed to locatable mineral entry 
would be enhanced by the maintenance of pristine 
conditions and the lack of disrupting activities that 
could degrade the natural quality of outdoor 
experiences on public land. 

Development of new campgrounds in the Dofia 
Ana Mountains and the Gila Lower Box would 
expand opportunities for developed recreation in 
the Resource Area by up to 50 percent. 
Management of the Gila Lower Box and the Organ 
Mountains under their respective Coordinated 
Resource Management Plans, Fort Cummings 



under the existing Cultural Resources Management 
Plan, and the Dofia Ana Mountains under a 
Recreation Area Management Plan would enhance 
both developed and dispersed recreation 
opportunities in these areas while protecting other 
significant resources. Interpretation of natural 
values in ACECs and cultural and paleontological 
values at sites such as Butterfield stage stops, Fort 
Cummings, Massacre Peak, and the Paleozoic 
Trackways Site would add diversity to the 
recreation opportunities available within the 
Resource Area. The addition of new interpretive 
sites would increase interpretive recreation 
potential within the Resource Area, while 
materials from sites such as the Paleozoic 
Trackways Site may be displayed in locally, 
regionally, and even internationally significant 
museums including the Carnegie Institute Museum 
of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution. 
Overall, recreation visits could be expected to 
increase to 280,000 per year. 

Wildlife habitat improvement within the guidelines 
of habitat management plans in concert with game 
management by the New Mexico Department of 
Game and Fish could allow increases in game to 
sustain increased populations of deer, pronghorn, 
and small game for the enjoyment of 
nonconsumptive wildlife users including 
photographers and bird watchers as well as 
consumptive wildlife recreationists like hunters and 
fishermen. Pronghorn habitat management in the 
Columbus, Cooke's Range/Nutt, Robledo 
Mountains, and Cedar Mountains would provide 
significantly greater opportunities for pronghorn 
hunting in the Resource Area. Deer and small 
game hunting quality would improve in those areas 
plus the Uvas Mountains and the West Potrillo 
Mountains. Habitat management plans and 
associated herd management by the Department of 
Game and Fish should also lead to the recovery of 
mule deer in the Organ Mountains and deer and 
desert bighorn sheep in the Peloncillo, Big 
Hatchet, and Alamo Hueco Mountains to levels 
that could sustain regular harvests. 

Development and implementation of watershed 
management plans and grazing management plans 
and establishment of instream flows in the Gila 
Middle and Lower Box ACECs would all improve 
the quality of hunting in those areas as ground 
cover increases, particularly for small game and 



4-41 



PROPOSED PLAN 



game birds. Furthermore, other recreation uses for 
which quality is enhanced by increased naturalness 
such as hiking, and photography would benefit 
from these actions. 

Bird watching along riparian areas including the 
Gila Lower Box and Guadalupe Canyon would 
IMPROVE from riparian habitat management as 
vegetation structural and species diversity flourish. 
Instream flow establishment would protect the 
warm water fisheries as well as other types of 
riparian recreation in the Middle and Lower Boxes, 
which provide the vast majority of fishing 
opportunities in the Resource Area. Riparian and 
arroyo habitat management have the greatest 
potential to improve hunting quality for big game, 
small game, and game birds of any management 
practice in the Resource Area. Under THE 
PROPOSED PLAN, such improvements would be 
realized in the Apache Box, San Simon Cienega, 
Gila Lower Box, Gila Middle Box, Organ 
Mountains, Guadalupe Canyon, and Placitas 
Arroyo Riparian Demonstration Project. The 
quality of other recreation opportunities in the 
Gila River Canyon including rafting and kayaking 
would also be protected by instream flows. 

IN SUMMARY, land ownership adjustments under 
THE PROPOSED PLAN would have significant 
impacts on recreation opportunities throughout 
the Resource Area, both from consolidating public 
land and thereby improving access and reducing 
potential management conflicts, and from 
acquisition and development of new access routes 
and recreation sites. Vehicle designations would 
restrict vehicle use opportunities to either existing 
or designated roads and trails over 95 percent of 
the Resource Area, while 4 percent would be 
closed to vehicle use and less than 1 percent would 
be open to all vehicle use. Development of access 
routes would improve hunting, hiking, and many 
other recreation opportunities throughout most of 
the Resource Area. Right-of-way exclusions and 
mineral development restrictions would enhance 
preservation of the natural integrity and primitive 
recreation quality of ACECs. Wildlife habitat 
management would allow increases in hunting 
opportunities for pronghorn, deer, and small game. 
Watershed and grazing management would 
improve the quality of primitive recreation 
opportunities such as hunting on portions of the 
Resource Area. Establishment of instream flows 



would ensure the maintenance of warm water 
fishing opportunities and other recreation qualities 
in the Gila Middle and Lower Boxes. 

VISUAL RESOURCES 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, visual resource 
management could benefit from the acquisition of 
State trust and private land, much of which is 
within Class I and II areas. The acquired lands 
would be managed in conformance with VRM 
guidelines that should impede any uses of those 
acquired lands from altering the form, line, color, 
or texture of the natural landscape. Disposal of 
public land would significantly reduce the number 
of small public land parcels in Class II, III, and IV 
areas. Despite the inclusion of Class II and III 
areas, disposal of these isolated parcels would not 
have a significant effect on the scenic quality of 
landscapes because actions that could degrade 
scenery are much more likely to occur on 
non-Federal lands that currently predominate these 
landscapes. Conversely, acquisition of non-Federal 
inholdings in currently well-blocked public land 
would prevent activities in those areas that could 
degrade viewsheds on public land. Disposed lands 
adjacent to Las Cruces would likely become 
urbanized, leading to significant alteration of the 
basic visual elements over much of the mesa 
between Las Cruces and the Organ Mountains. 

ACEC designations would constrain activities that 
could degrade scenic quality on 313,870 acres, 
including 153,340 acres that would be managed as 
VRM Class I areas because of Scenic ACEC 
designations. 

Wilderness study designation of the Organ 
Needles, Gray Peak, Apache Box, and Pefla Blanca 
areas would limit activities to conform with VRM 
Class II guidelines. 

Vehicle closures would prevent degradation of 
visual resources by vehicle use, while vehicle 
limitations would limit new vehicle trail impacts on 
visual resources over most of the Resource Area. 
The Aden Hills and Lordsburg South Playa would 
be subject to visual impacts of new vehicle trails, 
which should not be significantly noticeable from 
anywhere for the Lordsburg Playa, but may be 
noticeable from Interstate 10 and some Dofla Ana 
County roads for the Aden Hills Open Area. 



4-42 



PROPOSED PLAN 



Right-of-way avoidance and exclusion areas, and 
areas closed to locatable mineral entry, mineral 
material disposal, or fluid mineral leasing would 
have significant reductions in the potential for 
conflict between surface activities and VRM 
guidelines as compared with WHAT EXISTS NOW. 
Areas open to rights-of-way and mineral leasing, 
sale, and location are mainly within VRM Class III 
and IV areas, and stipulations will be included to 
ensure conformance of any actions within these 
areas to VRM Class III or IV guidelines, 
whichever is appropriate. Locatable minerals 
actions would likely cause degradation of scenic 
quality in some Class II areas although four areas 
would be closed to locatable mineral entry, mostly 
in the Organ and Franklin Mountains. 

Wildlife habitat, land treatment, and watershed 
management actions would allow improvement in 
vegetation resources that could alter the colors and 
textures of landscapes, enhancing the natural scenic 
quality of large areas of public land while 
potentially creating contrasts in scenic vistas 
between the improved areas and adjacent untreated 
lands. 

Instream flows would benefit the visual resources 
of the Gila River Canyon, in which the riparian 
community provides integral color, textural, and 
structural components of the landscape. Protection 
of the riparian community through instream flow 
acquisition is essential to maintain the lines, 
colors, and textures which enhance scenic qualities 
of the Gila Canyon. 

IN SUMMARY, land ownership adjustments would 
impact visual resource management as lands in 
Class I and II areas are acquired, enhancing visual 
resource management of entire landscapes where 
current land ownership patterns preclude such 
management. Scenic ACEC, wilderness, wild river, 
or scenic river designations would protect visual 
resources to prevent any but the most limited 
management alterations to the natural forms, lines, 
colors, and textures of the landscape. Vehicle 
designations covering over 99 percent of the 
Resource Area would limit new roads or off-road 
vehicle use from causing disturbances that could 
degrade scenic quality throughout the Resource 
Area exclusive of the Aden Hills and Lordsburg 
South Playa. Visual resources would gain increased 
protection from right-of-way exclusion and 



avoidance areas and areas closed to locatable 
mineral entry, salable mineral development, or 
fluid mineral leasing. Locatable mineral 
development would likely degrade scenic quality in 
some Class II areas. Large scale vegetation changes 
from wildlife habitat management and watershed 
stabilization could gradually create some contrasts 
in colors and textures of landscapes. 

WILDERNESS 

Acquisition of inholdings within WSAs and 
wilderness areas would improve manageability of 
those lands in a manner that would enhance the 
wilderness characteristics of both the acquired 
lands and adjacent wilderness study area or 
wilderness area lands. Under THE PROPOSED 
PLAN, State trust and private lands could be 
acquired to enhance management of those areas 
for naturalness and for primitive and unconfined 
types of recreation. Existing developments and uses 
of those acquired lands would not be curtailed, 
although management actions might be tailored to 
mitigate impacts of those developments and uses 
to conform to the Interim Management Policy. 

INTERIM MANAGEMENT OF LANDS UNDER 

wilderness study in the Apache Box, Gray Peak, 
Organ Needles, and Pefia Blanca areas would 
PROTECT highly scenic areas, historic sites, and 
habitat for endangered species. 

Wild or scenic river study of the Gila Lower Box 
unit would enhance wilderness qualities of the 
portion of the unit that overlaps with the Gila 
Lower Box WSA. Such a designation would elevate 
protection of a portion of the WSA pending 
wilderness designation. If the Lower Box is 
designated as both wilderness and a wild or scenic 
river, the two designations would provide 
overlapping protection of the river corridor, 
enhancing the naturalness of the area. 

Vehicle limitations would enhance wilderness 
values by diminishing man's ability to degrade 
natural qualities of the areas. 

Development of access routes would enhance the 
ability of wilderness users to reach and enjoy 
diverse areas, enhancing opportunities to enjoy 
opportunities for solitude and primitive or 
unconfined types of recreation. 



4-43 



PROPOSED PLAN 



Data retrieval and research on cultural and 
paleontological sites in the Apache Box, Gray 
Peak, Organ Needles, and Pefla Blanca areas would 
be constrained by the Interim Management Policy. 

Acquisition of instream flows would enhance 
wilderness qualities by stabilizing important natural 
ecosystem components, leading to improvement in 
opportunities for primitive and unconfined types of 
recreation such as hunting, fishing, hiking, nature 
study, and photography. 

Vegetation treatments would only be allowed 
within WSAs to the extent they conform to the 
Interim Management Policy, including prescribed 
fire when it can be proven to be a natural 
component of the ecosystem. Livestock grazing 
manipulation would be allowed as a vegetation 
treatment provided that it leads to improvement in 
the natural condition of the area as a whole, and 
it does not contribute to a decline in the ecological 
condition of vegetation within the WSA. 

IN SUMMARY, actions and activities would not be 
allowed in WSAs and wilderness areas that could 
impair natural values. Acquisition of State trust 
and private lands, wilderness designations, wild or 
scenic river designations, vehicle closures and 
limitations, access development, implementation of 
wildlife habitat management plans, watershed 
stabilization, fire management, livestock grazing 
management, and establishment of instream flows 
would all have benefits to wilderness resources and 
uses by improving the stability of natural systems 
and resulting in increased naturalness of wilderness 
resources. 

SPECIAL STATUS SPECIES 

(T&E) 

Plants 

Lands identified for disposal in the valley and on 
the mesa east and west of Las Cruces, contain 
prime potential habitat (sand dunes) for the sand 
prickly pear cactus. An additional section of land 
near Berino, that is currently identified for 
disposal, would be added to the proposed Organ 
Mountains National Conservation Area 
designation to further protect this plant and its 



habitat. This parcel contains the largest known 
population of this species. A mitigation plan has 
been developed for this species. A pad or stem 
from plants on land identified for disposal are 
transplanted to a new site to maintain the genetic 
pool. Night-blooming cereus, which is very hard to 
locate and grows in creosotebush areas could also 
occur in disposal areas. The multiple-use 
management of 2,895,360 acres of public land and 
the acquisition of private and State trust lands 
would protect special status plants and their 
habitat as well as bring additional habitats under 
Federal protection. 

SMAs and ACECs, especially in the Organ 
Mountains, would provide additional protection 
and management of all species and their habitat 
found in these areas. There are at least 24 
potential or listed Federal or State species in the 
Organ Mountain area. The Sneed's pincushion 
cactus is found on the south end of the mountain 
range. Most of the ACECs AND RNAs have been 
identified for their biological values and several 
have identified special status plants such asAtriplex 
griffithsii, a saltbush identified on the Lordsburg 
Playa. Management plans balancing livestock, 
wildlife and recreational use would provide 
long-term protection for these plants and their 
habitat. All areas would be either closed to vehicle 
use or limit the use to designated roads and trails 
which would keep plant theft and damage to the 
habitat from off-road vehicle use to a minimum. 
The ADDITION of four areas for wilderness 
STUDY, by the nature of the limited access and 
management policy, would add a measure of 
protection to special status plants and their 
habitat. 

Areas designated as open to vehicle use would 
have a site-specific clearance done before the area 
was used in order to avoid impacts to special status 
species plants. Limiting vehicle use to limited or 
designated roads and trails would limit potential 
plant theft which is a real problem with special 
status species plants. Special status species plant 
habitat would also be further protected from off- 
road vehicle use. Closed areas would provide 
long-term protection for plant species and their 
habitat. 

New access routes could open up new areas to 
plant collection and habitat loss. 



PROPOSED PLAN 



Designation of right-of-way corridors and 
exclusion/avoidance areas would prevent or keep 
habitat loss to minimum in those areas. 

Mineral actions, withdrawing or closing areas to 
mineral entry, would provide long-term protection 
to special status species plants and their habitat. 
Areas open to leasing would follow the standard 
procedures for these actions. Long-term loss would 
be mitigated by reclamation stipulations. 
ALTHOUGH BLM HAS NO DISCRETIONARY 
AUTHORITY TO APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE 
NOTICE LEVEL (5 ACRES OR LESS) 
ACTIVITIES, CLAIMANTS AND OPERATORS 
ARE LEGALLY OBLIGATED TO ABIDE BY THE 
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT WHILE 
CONDUCTING OPERATIONS. 

Developed recreation areas would provide special 
protective measures for special status species 
plants and their habitat in the area. These areas 
would provide for interpretative and educational 
awareness of the biological values in the area. 
Visitors would be limited to specific areas which 
protects the existing plants and their habitat. The 
Dripping Springs Natural Area and Aguirre Spring 
Recreation Area are good examples. 

Watershed activity plans would provide for soil 
stabilization which improves vegetation cover. 
These plans could indirectly protect existing 
species and their habitat and provide for future 
populations. 

Vegetation sale areas have a site-specific clearance 
done to ensure that no special status plants are 
affected. The desired plant community outlined 
under THE PROPOSED PLAN, identifies many 
brush dominated areas for treatment by a chemical 
herbicide. The night-blooming cereus, which 
depends on creosotebush for structural support 
would be more visible if it occurred in a brush 
control area. The elimination of livestock grazing 
on 8,026 acres could add some measure of 
protection to special status plants and their 
habitat. 

Riparian and arroyo habitats have the majority of 
special status species plants in the Resource Area. 
The exclusion of grazing, and the improved 
management proposed in the SMA and ACEC 
management prescription of these areas would 



enhance and permanently protect species and their 
habitat. 

IN SUMMARY, multiple-use management and 
acquisition of land, SMAs and ACECs, vehicle use 
limited to existing or designated roads and trails, 
watershed activity plans, and the elimination of 
livestock grazing would have short- and long-term 
benefits to special status plants by protection 
through the BLM's mandate to enhance and 
protect the lands it administers, limiting use or 
avoiding an area all together. Land disposal 
actions would have short- and long-term impacts 
from the loss of potential habitat. 

Animals 

Acquisition and consolidation of lands would 
provide improved manageability and additional 
habitat for special status species as well as provide 
a buffer around special status species habitat. 
Sensitive species such as desert bighorn sheep and 
various raptors and reptiles would benefit from 
these acquisitions. 

The designation of 21 ACECs AND 4 RNAs would 
protect special status species such as desert 
bighorn sheep, Gila monster, peregrine falcon, and 
the spikedace and loachminnow. Closure of habitat 
to mineral material and fluid mineral leasing and 
in some cases closure to locatable mineral entry, 
off-road vehicle limitations, exclusion of 
right-of-way authorization, and development or 
revision of Allotment Management Plans would 
protect special status species habitat and prevent 
animal displacement. 

Proposal of four new areas for wilderness study 
would help protect special status species habitat 
from disturbance and degradation. The study area 
would help protect habitat for desert bighorn 
sheep, reptiles such as the Gila monster, raptors 
such as the peregrine falcon, and two species of 
fish (spikedace and loachminnow). 

IMPLEMENTATION OF the wild and scenic river 
study for the Gila River would protect habitat for 
special status species such as the spikedace and 
loachminnow (Hubbard 1985) as well as protect 
riparian habitat which supports numerous sensitive 
status species such as raptors, small birds, and 
reptiles. 



4-45 



PROPOSED PLAN 



Closure of areas closed to off-road vehicle use 
which contain special status species habitat such as 
the Gila Lower Box, Gila Middle Box, Apache 
Box, and Guadalupe Canyon would prevent habitat 
degradation and special status species disturbance. 
Limiting off-road vehicle use to existing or 
designated roads and trails would prevent special 
status species habitat degradation and animal 
disturbance on areas that are currently 
undesignated. Use of designated roads and trails in 
areas with special status species and habitat could 
result in habitat degradation and animal 
disturbance near these roads and trails if excessive 
use occurs. 

In areas open to fluid mineral leasing with special 
stipulations, special stipulations such as no surface 
occupancy and seasonal use restrictions are used to 
mitigate impacts to special status species such as 
the desert bighorn sheep. 

MOST MINERAL EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES 
OCCUR UNDER A MINING NOTICE (SURFACE 
DISTURBANCE OF 5 ACRES OR LESS). 
ALTHOUGH THE BLM HAS NO 
DISCRETIONARY AUTHORITY TO APPROVE 
OR DISAPPROVE NOTICE LEVEL ACTIVITIES, 
CLAIMANTS AND OPERATORS ARE LEGALLY 
OBLIGATED TO ABIDE BY THE ENDANGERED 
SPECIES ACT WHILE CONDUCTING 
ACTD7ITIES ON FEDERAL CLAIMS. THEY 
MUST ENSURE ALL OPERATIONS ARE 
CONDUCTED TO PREVENT UNNECESSARY 
AND UNDUE DEGRADATION OF THE 
FEDERAL LANDS, AND SHALL COMPLY WITH 
ALL PERTINENT FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS. 
DURING THE COURSE OF OPERATIONS, THE 
BLM HAS REGULATORY AUTHORITY TO 
PREVENT ADVERSE IMPACTS TO 
THREATENED OR ENDANGERED SPECIES 
AND THE HABITATS WHICH MAY BE 
AFFECTED UNDER A NOTICE (43 CFR 3809.2- 
2(d). MINING AOTVITIES CONDUCTED ON 
MORE THAN 5 ACRES REQUIRE A PLAN OF 
OPERATIONS FOR WHICH NEPA REQUIRES 
ANALYSIS BY AN ENVIRONMENTAL 
ASSESSMENT. ANY POTENTIAL AFFECTS TO 
THREATENED OR ENDANGERED SPECIES 
WILL BE MITIGATED THROUGH THIS 
PROCESS. Areas which contain significant special 
status habitat which would be closed to locatable 
mineral entry include Apache Box, Guadalupe 



Canyon, and the Organ Mountains. These areas 
would not be subjected to habitat degradation. 

Two existing SRMAs, the Organ Mountains and 
the Gila Lower Box, contain special status animal 
habitat. Recreation activities in the Organ 
Mountains are mostly limited to existing and 
maintained trails and campgrounds. Limited hiking 
and camping occurs on some existing but 
unmaintained sites in the Organ Mountains and 
the Gila Lower Box. The remainder of the 
Resource Area is managed for dispersed recreation 
and is subject to unrestricted hiking and camping. 
These activities are of short duration usually 
occurring during hunting seasons. Special status 
species such as desert bighorn sheep, and their 
habitat may be subjected to this short-term 
disturbance. 

Continued implementation of the six existing 
HMPs will provide protection to special status 
animal habitat, such as desert bighorn sheep, which 
occur in these areas. Activities which may occur in 
these areas are generally limited in their scope and 
extent by existing management guidelines. 

Watershed planning on areas which have special 
status animal habitat (Gila Lower Box and Big 
Hatchet Mountains) would enhance special status 
species habitat because activities such as grazing, 
mineral development, and recreation would be 
managed to reduce erosion, and maintain or 
enhance the vegetation community and diversity. 

Exclusion of grazing (in Red Rock Game Farm, 
Central Peloncillo Mountains, Bear Creek, Organ 
Mountains) would prevent habitat disturbance for 
special status species such as desert bighorn sheep 
(Sandoval 1982) because competition for forage 
and cover with livestock and habitat degradation 
from range developments would not occur. 

Secured instream flows in the Gila River would 
protect special status species habitat (loachminnow 
and spikedace) (Hubbard, et al. 1985) and enhance 
riparian habitats which support several threatened 
and endangered birds and reptiles. 

IN SUMMARY, under THE PROPOSED PLAN 

threatened and endangered animals would benefit 
from increased land acquisition, ACEC AND RNA 
designations, wild and scenic river study for the 



4-46 



PROPOSED PLAN 



Gila River, increased land with off-road vehicle 
restrictions, increased mineral withdrawals, 
watershed planning and elimination of grazing 
from key habitat areas. Additional habitat could be 
acquired, special status animal habitat would be 
protected from degradation, and animal 
displacement would not occur. 

RIPARIAN AND ARROYO 
HABITATS 

Improved manageability of acquired lands which 
contain riparian and arroyo habitats would protect 
and enhance their values. Activities associated with 
grazing, mining, and recreation would be managed 
to provide the least amount of disturbance to the 
area. 

The development of management prescriptions for 
21 ACECs AND 4 RNAs would protect and 
enhance riparian and arroyo habitat resources 
within these areas. The closure of areas to mineral 
material sales, off-road vehicle limitations, and the 
development or revision of Allotment Management 
Plans would prevent or limit the degradation of 
riparian and arroyo habitat vegetation and soil. 
Arroyo channels or stream banks (Gila River, Bear 
Creek, Apache Box, Guadalupe Canyon) in these 
areas would be protected. 

The wild and scenic river study and associated 
protective measures for the Gila River would 
protect and enhance the riparian values on public 
land along the river. All activities which would 
impair wild and scenic river qualities would be 
limited in scope and extent. 

Areas closed to off-road vehicle use which contain 
riparian and arroyo habitat areas would not be 
subjected to activities which would degrade 
riparian and arroyo habitat. Areas where off-road 
vehicle use is limited to existing or designated 
roads and trails and which contain riparian and 
arroyo habitats would be subjected to limited 
disturbance wherever an existing road or trail 
crossed one of these areas. However, most off-road 
vehicle use on these roads and trails would not 
affect riparian and arroyo habitat areas. 

Designation of right-of-way avoidance areas would 
limit the effects on riparian and arroyo habitat 
areas. If a right-of-way is needed through these 



areas then special stipulations would be required 
to minimize degradation of these areas. 
Right-of-way exclusion areas would not be 
subjected to degradation of riparian and arroyo 
habitat areas from activities which occur in the 
installation of utilities within right-of-way 
corridors. 

Within areas open to fluid mineral leasing, there 
are numerous seeps, springs, and arroyo habitats. 
Activities associated with the exploration and 
development of fluid mineral leasing such as access 
construction, site levelling, drilling, and utility 
construction would degrade riparian and arroyo 
habitat vegetation and disturb soil along stream 
and arroyo channels. Areas closed to fluid mineral 
leasing which contain riparian and arroyo habitat 
will not be affected by activities associated with 
fluid mineral leasing. Site-specific stipulations for 
fluid mineral leasing would limit disturbance to 
riparian and arroyo habitat areas. 

Exploration and development of locatable minerals 
on areas less than 5 acres could result in 
site-specific habitat degradation from access 
construction, site levelling, mining, and deposition 
of tailings. Activities on 5 acres or more require a 
plan of operation which would be analyzed in an 
Environmental Assessment to mitigate the effects 
of mining activity. Several areas that would be 
withdrawn from locatable mineral entry contain 
important riparian areas. These areas are Apache 
Box, Guadalupe Canyon, and the Organ 
Mountains. Activities associated with the 
exploration and development of locatable minerals 
would not occur and there would not be any 
impacts to riparian and arroyo habitats. 

Mineral sales which occur in arroyo habitat areas 
would affect these areas because activities such as 
construction of access, material removal, and 
mineral storage would remove vegetation, disturb 
stream bank and arroyo stabilization, and alter 
flow of water down the arroyo. Arroyo habitat 
within areas closed to mineral material sales would 
not be subjected to mineral material sales activities 
which would degrade arroyo habitats. 

Management of the two existing SRMAs (Organ 
Mountains, Gila Lower Box), would continue; two 
additional SRMAs designated; and the remainder 
of the Resource Area would be managed for 



4-47 



PROPOSED PLAN 



dispersed recreation. Recreation activities (hiking, 
camping) which could affect riparian and arroyo 
habitat within the Organ Mountains are limited to 
designated and maintained trails and campgrounds 
at Dripping Springs Natural Area and Aguirre 
Spring Recreation Area. Recreational activities 
(hiking, camping) which occur at the Gila Lower 
Box are usually limited to established, 
undesignated, unmaintained trails and camping 
areas. The Gila Lower Box subject to unrestricted 
hiking and camping, and riparian and arroyo 
habitat degradation, such as erosion and vegetation 
loss, may occur where use is concentrated. 
However, these activities (which are mainly related 
to hunting and camping) tend to be of short 
duration (several days a year). 

The continued implementation of six existing 
HMPs and the development of six additional 
HMPs would provide protection to the riparian 
and arroyo habitat resource in these areas because 
activities which may occur would be limited in 
scope and extent. 

Watershed planning would enhance and protect 
riparian and arroyo habitat resources within these 
areas. Watershed planning would prevent 
vegetation ground cover loss, stream bank and 
arroyo disturbance would be minimized, and 
erosion would be reduced. Activities such as 
grazing management, erosion control projects, 
mineral exploration and development, and 
recreation would be managed to mitigate 
disturbance to the resource. 

Grazing would be excluded from significant 
riparian areas such as the Gila Lower Box and 
Bear Creek. Riparian and arroyo habitats within 
these areas would not be impacted by livestock 
grazing. Erosion, stream bank and arroyo habitat 
channel disturbance may be reduced through 
increased ground cover. Intensive grazing use 
causing vegetation depletion in riparian and arroyo 
habitat areas would not occur. 

Secured instream flows for the Gila River would 
enhance and protect riparian vegetation 
communities and stabilize stream banks which 
reduces the impacts of flooding by slowing down 
water flows which increases sediment deposition 
and percolation of water into the ground. 



IN SUMMARY, under THE PROPOSED PLAN 

riparian and arroyo habitats would benefit from 
ACEC AND RNA designations, wild and scenic 
river study, areas withdrawn from mining and 
grazing activities, increased areas with off-road 
vehicle restrictions and wildlife HMP development. 
Vegetation loss, soil disturbance, and stream and 
arroyo channels would not be disturbed or 
degraded. 

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC 
CONDITIONS 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, land ownership 
adjustments would result in a net loss of 9,140 
acres of land under BLM management. The 
majority of the land designated for disposal would 
consist of isolated parcels in Grant and northern 
Luna Counties which are difficult to manage. This 
land would probably continue to be used as 
rangeland because of its location and physical 
characteristics. There would be 66,027 acres 
designated for disposal in Dofla Ana County which 
would have the potential for residential and 
commercial development. The land on the East 
Mesa would be disposed of in two stages; the first 
land disposal area would be east of the line 
between townships 2 East and 3 East, the second 
area would be east of this line. This would have 
the effect of creating an orderly transfer of land 
into private ownership and avoid the creation of 
isolated tracts of public land. There would be an 
additional 3,840 acres adjacent to the Organ 
Mountains Coordinated Resource Management 
Plan which would be managed to provide an open 
space buffer 1 mile wider at the foot of the Organ 
Mountains. These provisions would allow local 
government to adjust to the pace of development 
and limit development at the foot of the Organ 
Mountains. 

These land ownership changes would cause 
significant changes in the local property tax base. 
BECAUSE OF LAND DISPOSAL in Dona Ana 
County, there would be a loss of $49,520 in PILT 
payments, and an estimated increase of $879,095 in 
property taxes for a net increase of $829,575 in 
local tax receipts. The disposal of 92,433 acres in 
Grant and Luna Counties would result in the loss 
of $69,325 in PILT payments, and an estimated 



4-48 



PROPOSED PLAN 



increase of $33,800 in local tax receipts for a net 
reduction of $35,525 in revenues. 

There would be 149,320 acres of land acquisition 
under THE PROPOSED PLAN. These lands would 
consist of parcels in ACECs and WSAs which have 
significant resource values. These lands are 
presently either State trust (93,110 acres) or 
privately-owned (56,210 acres). The transfer of the 
privately-owned land into public ownership would 
result in the loss of $20,554 in property tax 
receipts and an increase of $42,158 in PILT 
payments for a net increase of $21,603 in revenues. 
The net effect of DISPOSAL AND ACQUISITION 
transactions on local revenues would be an 
increase of $815,663 in revenues to local 
governments in the Mimbres Resource Area. 

These changes in land ownership would have 
significant social impacts. The patterns of land use 
and urban growth in Doha Ana County would be 
influenced by the availability of non-agricultural 
land with development potential. This would allow 
urban growth to occur in the Rio Grande Corridor 
without sacrificing the agricultural land base. 
Management efficiency of the BLM would be 
improved by the consolidation of land holdings 
into rational management units. Significant 
resource conflicts in ACECs and WSAs would be 
reduced by the acquisition of inholdings. 
Landowners would have the opportunity of 
acquiring title to BLM inholdings. 

UNDER THE PROPOSED PLAN, there would be 
21 ACEC designations AND 4 RNAs. The Gila 
Middle and Gila Lower Box would be 
DESIGNATED wild and scenic river study areas, 
and four new areas WOULD BE DESIGNATED for 
wilderness study. These designations would protect 
areas of significant biological, scenic, and cultural 
importance. Their value would be to provide 
opportunities for the study and appreciation of the 
cultural and natural environment. There would be 
economic benefits to local communities as a result 
of increased tourism. These designations would 
cause some conflict over the use of resources by 
extractive economic activities. Conflicts over access 
and use of inholdings would be minimized through 
land ownership adjustments. There would be 
possible conflicts regarding the construction of 
Hooker Dam and it's effect on the wild and scenic 
river study areas, and with riparian and stream 



ecology. Consideration of these values would 
require careful management of stream flow below 
Hooker Dam. THERE HAVE BEEN CONCERNS 
EXPRESSED BY GRAZING PERMITTEES THAT 
SPECIAL DESIGNATIONS SUCH AS ACECs OR 
WSAs WILL AFFECT LOAN OR PERMIT 
VALUES. LENDERS HAVE INDICATED THERE 
IS NOT SUFFICIENT EMPIRICAL SALES DATA 
THAT THEY CAN DEFINE AN ACTUAL 
DOLLAR AMOUNT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 
RANCHES WITH AND RANCHES WITHOUT 
THESE DESIGNATIONS. WITHIN THE 

MARKET, HOWEVER, THERE IS A 
PERCEPTION THAT THERE WILL BE 
ADDITIONAL BURDENS TO COMPLY WITH 
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT-RELATED 
RESTRICTIONS AND THAT THESE 
RESTRICTIONS WILL EVENTUALLY RESULT 
IN REDUCED PERMITTED GRAZING 
CAPACITY. AS A RESULT, SOME POTENTIAL 
BUYERS ARE RELUCTANT TO PURCHASE A 
RANCH WITH THESE PERCEIVED 
LIMITATIONS. THIS UNCERTAINTY IS 
CAUSING LENDERS TO BE MORE 
CONSERVATIVE IN FINANCING RANCHES 
WITH IDENTIFIED OR PROPOSED RESOURCE 
MANAGEMENT CONFLICTS OR THAT MAY BE 
SUBJECT TO ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS IN 
THE FUTURE (CARRASCO 1992). 

Under THE PROPOSED PLAN, vehicle use 
designations would be much more restrictive than 
EXISTS NOW. These designations would prohibit 
off-road travel on 99.4 percent of the Resource 
Area. The network of existing roads and trails 
would be relied upon to provide access to the vast 
majority of the area in the Resource Area. 
Reclamation of unneeded roads or trails would be 
possible in areas where vehicles use is restricted to 
designated roads and trails. These designations 
would cause conflicts with some resource uses, but 
they would protect soil and vegetation and provide 
benefit to the Resource Area as a whole. 

Access would be obtained for 19 areas under THE 
PROPOSED PLAN. The type of access (whether 
vehicle or foot) obtained would be determined as 
outlined in Chapter 2. The primary purpose of 
obtaining access to public land would be to provide 
opportunities for recreation, although some 
permittees would also benefit from these actions. 
The need for access COULD CAUSE A POSSIBLE 



4-49 



PROPOSED PLAN 



CONFLICT WITH LANDOWNERS, as well as 
additional administrative expense to BLM. 

Right-of-way avoidance and exclusion area 
designations would protect significant areas of 
wildlife habitat, scenic value, and recreational 
potential from use as rights-of-way. These 
designations could increase the costs of locating 
rights-of-way in some areas. 

Areas would be areas withdrawn from locatable 
mineral entry, closed to mineral materials disposal, 
and closed to mineral leasing. Site-specific 
requirements for fluid minerals leasing would be 
continued on some areas. The remainder of the 
Resource Area would be open to minerals leasing 
under standard terms and conditions: oil and gas, 
3,532,300 acres and geothermal and nonenergy 
leasables, 3,499,500 acres. These restrictions would 
not be expected to cause a great impact on the 
mineral extraction industries. They would provide 
protection to the most areas where other 
significant resource values are found. 

TWO NEW SRMAs WOULD BE DESIGNATED 
under THE PROPOSED PLAN. In addition, 5 
trails, 4 interpretive areas (for cultural resources), 
and 2 primitive camping sites would be developed. 
These would be expected to serve 220,000 to 
280,000 visitor use days per year. The BLM would 
collect $75,000 in fees annually and an estimated 
$1.8 million to $2 million in gross receipts would 
be generated annually. 

FOUR INTERPRETIVE SITES FOR CULTURAL 
RESOURCES WOULD BE DESIGNATED 
UNDER THE PROPOSED PLAN. Three existing 
cultural management plans would be retained and 
cultural resources management prescriptions would 
be developed for 11 ACECs. The major emphasis 
would be to inventory, preserve and protect sites. 
The benefits of this policy would be to encourage 
knowledge and appreciation of the cultural 
resources found in the Resource Area. 
Preservation of cultural resources has important 
social and economic benefits for future 
generations. 

Major emphasis WOULD BE PLACED on wildlife 
habitat improvement under THE PROPOSED 
PLAN. Six new HMPs would be developed for 
deer, pronghorn and bighorn sheep. Increases in 



deer populations would lead to an estimated 4 
percent increase in hunter days which would 
contribute an additional $28,492 to local 
economies. 

Eight watershed management plans WOULD BE 
PROPOSED as critical watershed areas. These 
plans would reduce surface disturbing activities by 
requiring provisions for erosion control in project 
proposals. A slight increase in costs to some 
resource uses COULD OCCUR, but the economic 
effects would not be great. Benefits would be 
reduced erosion sedimentation, flooding, and 
increased stream bank stability. 

Vegetation sale areas would be continued, AND a 
new area would be opened between Lordsburg and 
Deming. This would provide the opportunity for 
the use of native vegetation in desert landscaping, 
but the economic effects would not be great. 

Vegetation treatments for brush control and 
RANGELAND IMPROVEMENT WOULD BE 
CARRIED OUT OVER LARGE PORTIONS OF 
THE RESOURCE AREA. TREATMENT COSTS 
WOULD RANGE FROM $9,600 TO $12,800 PER 
SECTION (640 ACRES). The annual value of 
increased livestock and wildlife production from 
the vegetation treatment is estimated at $1,325 per 
section. Additional benefits WOULD result from 
increased soil stability and reduced erosion. 

UNDER THE PROPOSED PLAN, LIVESTOCK 
GRAZING WOULD CONTINUE TO BE 
EXCLUDED IN FOUR AREAS (SCHOLES AND 
OWL CANYON ALLOTMENTS, PORTIONS OF 
THE ORGAN MOUNTAINS, AND REDROCK 
GAME FARM), AND ELIMINATED IN ONE 
OTHER AREA (THE BEAR CREEK ACEC). This 
would result in a reduction of approximately 90 
AUs, or 0.2 percent of the livestock production in 
the Resource Area. There would be a loss of 
$25,632 in gross receipts from livestock and $2,128 
in grazing fees. SINCE ALL BUT ONE AREA IS 
PRESENTLY EXCLUDED FROM GRAZING, 
THESE LOSSES WOULD BE INSIGNIFICANT. 
An additional 447 AUs would be lost from land 
exchanges in Doha Ana County. This would result 
in the loss of $10,031 in grazing fees and $126,948 
in gross receipts from livestock annually. Land 
disposal in Grant and Luna Counties would result 
in the loss of 6,808 AUs from public land. The 



4-50 



PROPOSED PLAN 



BLM would lose $147,053 in grazing fees annually, 
but there would be no loss in gross receipts as the 
land-use would be expected to continue as 
rangeland. 

IN SUMMARY, the land ownership adjustments 
proposed in THE PROPOSED PLAN would reduce 
the total acreage of public land by 9,000 acres. 
However, there would be 156,000 acres of land 
disposal and 149,000 acres of land acquisitions. 
The result of these land ownership changes would 
be to provide land for growth in the Mesilla 
Valley, to consolidate BLM holdings, and to 
acquire inholdings in SMAs. Local governments 
would gain approximately $935,000 in additional 
property taxes as a result of these land ownership 
changes. Increased revenues would be due to a 
combination of increased PILT payments (from 
acquisition of State trust and private lands) as well 
as increased tax revenues as a result of disposal. 
Patterns of land use and development would be 
influenced by these land ownership changes. 



Recreational development on public land would 
provide a wider spectrum of recreational activity 
and an estimated increase of $2 million in gross 
receipts. Increases in hunting would provide an 
estimated $28,492 in gross receipts to local 
economies. 

Livestock grazing would be eliminated on 8,026 
acres. This would result in the loss of about 
$150,000 in gross receipts and in $12,000 in grazing 
fees. Land disposal on isolated tracts would cause 
a reduction of about $15,000 in grazing fees. 

There would be no significant economic effects 
unique to THE PROPOSED PLAN from ACEC 
designations, vehicle management, access 
acquisition, right-of-way, wildlife habitat policy, 
minerals policy, cultural, paleontological resources, 
and management, or vegetation management. 



4-51 



CUMULATIVE IMPACTS 



Approximately 123 acres would be disturbed each 
year by minerals activities (see Table 4-1), for a 
total of 2,464 acres over the 20-year life of the 
Plan. BLM minerals restrictions would be in 
addition to existing U. S. Forest Service 
restrictions, which would further restrict minerals 
activities in the region. Disposal of land near Las 
Cruces that has moderate to high potential for 
geothermal resources would preclude leasing and 
development. Disposal of land near Las Cruces 
that has high potential for sand and gravel would 
preclude development. Salable minerals would be 
easier or harder to develop or obtain because there 
would be less regulation but the landowner might 
be unwilling to develop. 

Land ownership adjustments would help block up 
public land and improve manageability. 
Development of disposal lands on the East Mesa 
would help prevent development of farmlands in 
Mesilla Valley. Development of disposal land on 
the East Mesa would combine with the 
development of 10,000 acres of State trust land on 
the East Mesa. 

Approximately 745 acres would be disturbed each 
year by lands activities (see Table 4-1), for a total 
of 14,900 acres over the 20-year life of the Plan. 
Right-of-way exclusion and avoidance areas would 
require longer routes for some right-of-way 
applicants. Right-of-way restrictions would be in 
addition to existing U. S. Forest Service 
restrictions and other restrictions on neighboring 
public land, which would further restrict the 
location of rights-of-way in the region. 

Access would be improved throughout the 
Resource Area by the acquisition of State trust and 
private lands. Access improvement would increase 
recreation opportunities but may also increase 
exposure of cultural resources and special status 
species. Roads such as State or Federal highways 
may be developed by other agencies, in addition to 
what is proposed for public land in this Plan. 



Vegetation would be protected by land 
acquisitions, SMA management prescriptions, 
vehicle use limitations, right-of-way restrictions, 
minerals closures, HMPs, WSAs, watershed 
management plans, livestock grazing plans, 
elimination of livestock grazing, and management 
of riparian and arroyo habitats. Land disposals, 
open vehicle use, and recreation development 
would result in vegetation loss in specific areas. 
Surface disturbing activities would disturb 
approximately 1,020 acres of vegetation each year 
(see Table 4-1), for a total of 20,400 acres over the 
20-year life of the Plan. Most surface disturbance 
would be short-term and localized, and there 
would be few residual impacts after the areas 
revegetate. Desired plant community objectives 
would affect State trust, private, and other non- 
BLM lands. Land treatments would be beneficial 
to vegetation on State trust and private lands if 
done in conjunction with public land. 

Soil disturbance and erosion would decrease as a 
result of SMA management prescriptions, 
watershed management plans, HMPs, WSAs, 
vegetation treatments, vehicle use limitations, and 
closure of areas to minerals activities. Soil 
disturbance would occur on approximately 1,020 
acres each year (see Table 4-1), for a total of 
20,400 acres over the 20-year life of the Plan. 
Most soil disturbance would be short-term and 
localized, and there would be few residual impacts 
after the areas revegetate. Airborne dust would be 
reduced by SMA management prescriptions, 
watershed management plans, HMPs, WSAs, 
vehicle use limitations, right-of-way restrictions, 
and vegetation treatments. Minerals activities, 
especially sand and gravel development, from a 
variety of sources on Federal, State trust, and 
private lands would combine to increase airborne 
dust. Water resources would benefit from 
watershed management plans, vegetation 
treatments, and riparian enhancements, which 
would protect vegetation, reduce runoff and water 
erosion, and increase percolation of water into the 



4-52 



CHAPTER 5 CONSULTATION AND 
COORDINATION 



INTRODUCTION 

The Mimbres Resource Management 
Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS) 
was prepared by an interdisciplinary team of 
resource specialists from the Bureau of Land 
Management's (BLM) Mimbres Resource Area. 

Writing of the RMP/EIS document itself began in 
1990; however, preceding the writing phase a 
complex process of data gathering and other 
preparatory activities occurred. This process 
included resource inventory, public participation, 
interagency coordination, and preparation of a 
Management Situation Analysis (MSA). The MSA 
is on file in the Mimbres Resource Area Office as 
is documentation of the public participation and 
interagency coordination. Consultation and 
coordination with agencies, organizations, and 
individuals occurred in a variety of ways 
throughout the planning process. A complete 
mailing list of all those contacted throughout the 
planning process is also on file in the Mimbres 
Resource Area Office. 

The initial sections of this chapter are devoted to 
consultation and coordination activities carried out 
during the preparation of this RMP. Comments 
and responses will be included in this chapter. 

During the planning process, formal and informal 
efforts have been made to involve the public, other 
Federal agencies, State, and local governments. 
Several points of public involvement are mandated 
with which there has been compliance. 

FORMAL CONSULTATION 

Consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS) is required prior to initiation of any 
project by BLM that may affect any Federally 
listed special status species or its habitat. 



Consultation is required by Section 7 of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973. This RMP/EIS 
is considered a major planning effort, and formal 
consultation has been COMPLETED. Letters of 
formal consultation are on file in the Mimbres 
Resource Area Office. COORDINATION AND 
CONSULTATION WILL CONTINUE 
THROUGHOUT THE PLANNING PROCESS 
AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN. 

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 
(NMDGF) and the New Mexico Natural Resources 
Department have been contacted in regard to State 
listed threatened and endangered animal and plant 
species. This Plan is consistent with legislation 
protecting State listed species. NMDGF also 
provided information on existing wildlife 
population levels and proposed wildlife population 
goals. Coordination and consultation with the 
State will be continued throughout the planning 
process and during implementation of the plan. 

The BLM cultural resource management program 
operates in accordance with 36 Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR), Part 800, which provides 
specific procedures for consultation between the 
BLM and the State Historic Preservation Office 
(SHPO). A Memorandum of Understanding 
(MOU) NMSO-168 between the SHPO, Advisory 
Council on Historic Preservation and the BLM 
New Mexico State Office became effective 
October 19, 1982. This MOU incorporates 
procedures for exchanging information with the 
SHPO concerning cultural resources on public and 
private lands. It defines activities requiring 
consultation and establishes reporting standards. 
Similarly, the Programmatic Memorandum of 
Agreement for the protection of cultural resources 
under the Federal coal management program 
establishes procedures and focuses on measures 
that protect the types of sites usually found on 
Federal land. The SHPO has been consulted 
during the development of the RMP. 



5-1 



CONSISTENCY WITH OTHER 
PLANS 

The BLM planning regulations require that RMPs 
be "consistent with officially approved or adopted 
resource-related plans, and the policies and 
procedures contained therein, of other Federal 
agencies, State and local governments, and Indian 
tribes, so long as the guidance and RMPs are also 
consistent with the purposes, policies and 
programs of Federal laws and regulations 
applicable to public lands . . ." (43 CFR 1610.3-2). 
In order to ensure such consistency, finalized plans 
were solicited from Federal, State, and local 
agencies as well as Tribal governments listed in 
Table 5-2. 

At this time there are no known inconsistencies 
between any of the alternatives and officially 
approved and adopted resource-related plans of 
other Federal agencies, State and local 
governments, and Indian tribes. COORDINATION 
AND CONSULTATION WILL CONTINUE 
THROUGHOUT THE PLANNING PROCESS 
AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN. 

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 

Public participation in the Mimbres RMP is a 
dynamic process occurring throughout the 
development of the Plan and beyond. In addition 
to formal public participation steps, informal 
contacts occur frequently with public land users 
and interested persons through meetings, field 
trips, telephone calls or letters. All applicable 
public participation is documented and analyzed in 
the planning process and kept on file in the 
Mimbres Resource Area Office. 

A notice was published in the Federal Register on 
September 22, 1988, announcing the formal start of 
the planning process. 

Prior to publishing the Notice of Intent, informal 
public meetings were held as early as March 1988 
and have continued throughout development of the 
RMP/EIS. Meetings were held with BLM's 
District Advisory Council, Dofla Ana County 
Associated Sportsmen, Sierra Club, Southern 
New Mexico Coalition of Conservation 
Organizations, Native Plant Society, Desert Trophy 



Hunters, Picacho Gun Club, Fort Bliss Rod and 
Gun Club, Rio Grande Corridor Committee, BLM 
Safford District, Range Improvement Task Force, 
and Hidden Valley Ranch. 

A comprehensive public participation plan was 
prepared, with the intent of involving interested or 
affected parties early and continuously throughout 
the planning process. The plan emphasizes 
localized one-to-one contacts, media coverage, 
direct mailings and continued coordination with 
local, State, and other Federal agencies. 

Meetings to determine the scope of the RMP and 
to obtain input on issues and planning criteria 
were held in Las Cruces (July 26, 1989), Deming 
(July 18, 1989), Lordsburg (July 19, 1989), and 
Silver City (July 20, 1989), New Mexico and 
El Paso, Texas (July 25, 1989). A scoping report 
which outlined issues and management concerns 
was issued prior to the meetings in June 1989. 
The report also gave the times and locations for 
the public meetings. A Follow-up Scoping Report 
was distributed in November 1989. The Report 
contained revisions to the preliminary issues, 
management concerns, and planning criteria based 
upon public review and comment. On June 25, 
1990, a letter was sent to over 1,500 individuals on 
the RMP mailing list to update them on the 
progress of the RMP. 

Section 202 of the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976 requires the 
BLM to coordinate land use planning activities 
with other Federal agencies, State and local 
governments and Indian tribes. FLPMA also 
requires BLM to ensure that consideration is given 
to non-Bureau plans that are pertinent to the 
development of the RMP, assist in resolving 
inconsistencies between Federal and non-Federal 
government plans and to provide for meaningful 
public involvement of other Federal agencies, State 
and local government officials and Indian tribes in 
the development of the RMP. In line with these 
requirements, BLM held initial interagency 
meetings THROUGHOUT THE MONTH OF 
JUNE 1989 with over 40 entities of Federal, State 
and local governments, and Indian tribes. (SEE 
TABLE 5-1.) BLM officials have continued these 
contacts throughout the process by providing RMP 
updates at regularly scheduled meetings of the 
various governmental entities. SPECIFICALLY, 



5-2 



TABLE 5-1 
MIMBRES RMP INTERAGENCY MEETINGS 



AGENCY 



LUNA COUNTY 
♦CITY OF DEMING 
NM HIGHWAY DEPT 

HIDALGO COUNTY 
♦CITY OF LORDSBURG 

CORONADO NATIONAL FOREST 
(DOUGLAS RANGER DISTRICT) 

♦GRANT COUNTY 

GILA NATIONAL FOREST 

NEW MEXICO DEPT OF GAME AND FISH 

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE 

NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY 
NASA ("A" MOUNTAIN) 

DONA ANA COUNTY 

CITY OF LAS CRUCES 

♦TOWN OF HATCH 

TOWN OF MESILLA 

♦LAS CRUCES PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT 

GADSDEN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT 

U.S. BORDER PATROL 
U.S. CUSTOMS SERVICE 



JUNE 6, 1989 

JUNE 6, 1989 

JUNE 7, 1989 

JUNE 8, 1989 
JUNE 8, 1989 
JUNE 14, 1989 

JUNE 14, 1989 

JUNE 15, 1989 



JUNE 15, 1989 



NEW MEXICO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENT DIVISION 

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION 
ELEPHANT BUTTE IRRIGATION DISTRICT 
INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND WATER COMMISSION 
DONA ANA COUNTY FLOOD COMMISSION 

FT. BLISS 

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE 

NASA (WHITE SANDS) TEST FACILITY 

SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE 

STATE LAND OFFICE 

RANGE IMPROVEMENT TASK FORCE 



JUNE 20, 1989 
JUNE 20, 1989 



JUNE 21, 1989 



JUNE 21, 1989 



U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE 

NEW MEXICO BUREAU OF MINES 

NEW MEXICO MINING AND MINERALS DIVISION 

♦NEW MEXICO FORESTRY DIVISION 

♦NEW MEXICO STATE PARKS 

LOCAL CONGRESSIONAL STAFFS 



JUNh 22, 1989 



JUNE 26, 1989 



SOURCE: BLM FILES 1989 

NOTE: 'MEETING SCHEDULED BUT AGENCY DID NOT ATTEND. 



5-3 



THE LUNA AND GRANT COUNTY 
COMMISSIONERS WERE BRIEFED ON THE 
RMP STATUS PRIOR TO RELEASE OF THE 
DRAFT RMP/EIS IN 1990. 

The Mimbres Resource Area plans to prepare an 
RMP summary update every year following the 
published final RMP. The purpose of this update 
will be to inform the public of the progress made 
in implementing the RMP. The summary will also 
describe the activity plans to be prepared the 
following year so that interested members of the 
public may request copies and comment on them. 
The BLM hopes that this will enable the public to 
become further involved in the specific land 
management actions resulting from the 
implementation of this RMP. 

PUBLIC REVIEW OF THE 
RMP 

THE DRAFT RMP/EIS WAS FILED WITH THE 
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 
(EPA) ON AUGUST 16, 1991. THE 90-DAY 
COMMENT PERIOD BEGAN ON AUGUST 23, 
1991 AND ENDED NOVEMBER 25, 1991. A 
NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY WAS PUBLISHED 
IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER ON AUGUST 20, 
1991. DURING THE COMMENT PERIOD, FD7E 
PUBLIC WORKSHOPS WERE HELD: 
SEPTEMBER 17 IN DEMING, SEPTEMBER 18 
IN LORDSBURG, SEPTEMBER 19 IN SILVER 
CITY, SEPTEMBER 24 IN EL PASO, TEXAS, 
AND SEPTEMBER 25 IN LAS CRUCES. BLM 
STAFF WHO WERE FAMILIAR WITH THE 
DRAFT RMP/EIS WERE AVAILABLE AT THESE 
WORKSHOPS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AND 
CONCERNS. PUBLIC HEARINGS WERE HELD 
IN LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO (ON 
OCTOBER 22) AND LORDSBURG, NEW 
MEXICO (ON OCTOBER 23, 1991) TO 
PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE 
PUBLIC TO PRESENT ORAL COMMENTS. 
THE PUBLIC WAS NOTIFIED ABOUT THE 
HEARINGS IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER, 
LOCAL NEWSPAPERS, AND PERSONAL 
LETTERS AND CONTACTS. PERTINENT 
PORTIONS OF THE PUBLIC HEARINGS ARE 
INCLUDED IN THIS CHAPTER. COMPLETE 
TRANSCRIPTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC 
INSPECTION AT THE MIMBRES RESOURCE 
AREA OFFICE. 



Table 5-2 is a partial listing of various Federal, 
State and local agencies, organizations, Indian 
Tribes, and individuals to which the PROPOSED 
RMP/FINAL EIS is being sent for review and 
comment. 

Informal coordination with the public has taken 
place throughout the planning process through 
personal contacts, telephone calls, and letters, and 
will continue throughout the remainder of the 
planning process. 

The RMP/EIS was prepared by an interdisciplinary 
team of resource specialists. Table 5-3 lists the 
team members, job titles, and responsibility 
associated with the RMP. 

SUMMARY OF SMALL GROUP 
MEETINGS 

BECAUSE OF CONCERNS RAISED DURING 
THE REVIEW OF THE DRAFT, AFTER THE 
FORMAL COMMENT PERIOD ENDED, BLM 
HELD NEARLY 20 SEPARATE MEETINGS 
WITH GRAZING PERMITTEES, UTILITY 
COMPANY REPRESENTATD/ES, COUNTY 
OFFICIALS, AND OTHERS (INCLUDING 
LOCAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS AND THE 
BOOTHEEL SPORTSMEN'S ASSOCIATION). A 
TOTAL OF ABOUT 200 PEOPLE ATTENDED 
THESE MEETINGS. THE AVERAGE SIZE OF 
THESE MEETINGS WAS 13 PEOPLE, RANGING 
FROM ONE PERSON TO 25 PEOPLE. IN 
ADDITION, BLM ATTENDED A "TOWN 
MEETING" IN RODEO, NEW MEXICO IN 
EARLY JANUARY WITH ABOUT 200 PEOPLE. 
MOST OF THE SMALL GROUP MEETINGS 
FOLLOWED THAT MEETING. BLM FEELS 
THAT THE SMALL GROUP MEETINGS WERE 
VERY WORTHWHILE. THE MEETINGS WERE 
A GOOD MEANS OF CLARIFYING THE 
CONTENT OF THE RMP AND RESOLVING 
SPECIFIC CONCERNS. BLM FEELS THAT IT 
CAN BUILD ON THESE MEETINGS AND 
WORK TOWARD ESTABLISHING A POSITD7E 
WORKING RELATIONSHIP. 

RECORD OF DECISION 

THE MIMBRES RMP WILL BE APPROVED NO 
EARLIER THAN 30 DAYS AFTER 



5-4 



TABLE 5-2 
PARTIAL LISTING OF DOCUMENT RECIPIENTS 



FEDERAL GOVERNMENT 
Department of Agriculture 

Agricultural Stabilization 
and Conservation Service 

Animal Plant Health Inspection Service 

Farmers' Home Administration 

Soil Conservation Service 

U.S. Forest Service 
Southwest Regional Office 
Gila National Forest 
Coronado National Forest 
Department of the Army 

Corps of Engineers 

Fort Bliss 

White Sands Missile Range 
Department of Commerce 
Department of the Interior 

Bureau of Indian Affairs 

Bureau of Mines 

Bureau of Reclamation 

National Park Service 

Office of Surface Mining 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Geological Society 
Department of Energy 

Office of Environmental Compliance 
U.S. Border Patrol 
NASA 

Environmental Protection Agency 
Department of Transportation 

Federal Highway Administration 
Congressional Staff 
International Boundary and Water Commission 

STATE GOVERNMENT 
Arizona Game and Fish Department 
Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources 
Department of Finance and Administration 
Range Improvement Task Force 
Historic Preservation Division 

State Historic Preservation Officer 
Energy and Minerals Department 
Governor of New Mexico 
Governor of Texas 
Health and Environmental Department 

Environmental Improvement Division 
State Land Office 
Natural Resources Department 
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 
Division of State Forestry 
State Highway Department 
Congressional Delegation 
Museum of New Mexico 
Soil and Water Conservation Division 
New Mexico State University 
New Mexico State Police 
New Mexico Army National Guard 
New Mexico Department of Agriculture 
New Mexico Department of Commerce and Industry 
State Engineer 

Interstate Stream Commission 
New Mexico State Livestock Board 
State Oil Conservation 
New Mexico Mining Association 



LOCAL GOVERNMENTS 
Mayors 
Towns of: Mesilla 
Hatch 
Cities of: 
Anthony Hurley 
Bayard Las Cruces 

Central Lordsburg 

Deming Mesilla 

El Paso Silver City 

County Commissioners: 
Grant 
Dofia Ana 
Luna 
Hidalgo 
El Paso Public Service Board 
Southwest New Mexico Council of 

Governments - Silver City 
Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties 
Elephant Butte Irrigation District 
Las Cruces Extra-Territorial Zone Commission 
New Mexico Border Commission 
New Mexico Association of Counties 
West Texas Council of Governments 

SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS 

Continental Divide Trail Society 

New Mexico Cattle Growers Association 

Albuquerque Archaeological Society 

Museum of Natural History 

Earth First! 

Natural Resources Defense Council 

Central New Mexico Audubon Society 

National Audubon Society 

New Mexico Oil and Gas Association 

New Mexico Wildlife Federation 

Sierra Club 

The Nature Conservancy 

Society for Range Management 

Native Plant Society 

Independent Petroleum Association of 

New Mexico 
Farm and Livestock Bureau 
Public Land Council 
The Wilderness Society 
New Mexico Bureau of Land Management 

Wilderness Coalition 
Grazing Permittees 

New Mexico Environmental Law Center 
New Mexico Natural History Institute 
American Rivers 
Minerals Exploration Coalition 

Land Use Planning Committee 

TRIBAL GOVERNMENT 

Ysleta del Sur 

Mescalero 

Pueblo of Acoma 

Pueblo of Isleta 

San Carlos Apache Tribe 

White Mountain Apache Tribe 

Zuni Tribe 



Source: BLM Mailing List, 1991. 



5-5 



TABLE 5-3 
LIST OF PREPARERS 



DOCUMENT 
PRODUCTION 



CORE 
TEAM 



NATURAL RESOURCES 
TECHNICAL TEAM 



Carol Alba, Computer Specialist, 
System Administrator/GIS User 
Support 

James Christensen, Range 
Conservationist, ADS Data Entry 

Linda Cole, ADS Data Entry/MOSS 
Analysis 

Christine Commarato, Planning 
Clerk 

Roberta Cordova, Cartographic 
Technician 

Russ Davenport, ADS Data Entry/ 
MOSS Analysis 

Henry Diaz, Cartographer 

Luis Garcia, Cartographic Technician 

Rena Gutierrez, Writer-Editor, 
Document Production Specialist 

Ron Hernandez, ADS Data Entry 

Laird Mcintosh, GIS Coordinator 

Jim Peterson, Cartographer 



Scott Florence, Team Leader 
Multi-Resource Branch Chief 

Dallas Bash, Social-Economist 
(Social & Economic Conditions) 

Tom Custer, Geologist (Minerals) 

Mark Hakkila, Natural Resource 
Specialist (Access; Recreation; 
Visual Resources; Wilderness) 

Bill Merhege, Wildlife Management 
Biologist (Soil, Air, Water; 
Wildlife; Riparian; Special Status 
Species Animals) 

Mike Mallouf, Archaeologist 
(Cultural Resources) 

Shirley Miller, Realty Specialist 
(Lands and Minerals) 

Bea Wade, Range Conservationist 
(Livestock Grazing, Vegetation, 
Special Status Species Plants) 



Bill Gilbert, Technical Coordinator 
Charles Hodgin, Planning Coordinator 



Bernida Sanderson, Editorial 
Assistant, Word Processor 

Brian Samuelson, Cartograhic 
Technician 



DISTRICT REVIEW TEAM 



BLM STATE REVIEW TEAM 



Tim Salt, Area Manager, Mimbres Resource Area 

Rex Alford, Fire Management Specialist 

Bruce Call, Soil Scientist 

Ken Holmes, Wildlife Management Biologist 

Jim McCormick, Range Specialist 

Juan Padilla, Realty Specialist 

Dwayne Sykes, Outdoor Recreation Planner 

Chuck O'Donnell, Geologist 

Pam Smith, Archaeologist 

Richard Watts, ADM, Operations 



Phil Beck, Realty Specialist 

Mark Blakeslee, Hazardous Materials Coordinator 

Tim Burke, Range Conservationist 

Bill Dalness, Geologist 

Andy Dimas, Wildlife Management Biologist 

Clarence Hougland, Supervisory Realty Specialist 

Lou Ann Jacobson-Ball, Archaeologist 

Steve Jordan, Civil Engineer 

Jan Knight, Botanist 

Kirk Koch, Hydrologist 

Barbara Masinton, Natural Resource Specialist 

Dave Mensing, Outdoor Recreation Planner 

Jim Olsen, Geologist 

Bill Overbaugh, Outdoor Recreation Planner 

Ted Rael, Realty Specialist 

Dave Schafersman, Hazardous Materials Coordinator 

John Selkirk, Fire and Aviation Specialist 

Joseph I. Torrez, Geologist 

J. W. Whitney, Natural Resource Specialist 



5-6 



PUBLICATION BY THE EPA OF THE NOTICE 
OF RECEIPT OF THE PROPOSED RMP AND 
FINAL EIS IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER , 
APPROVAL OF THE PLAN WILL BE 
DOCUMENTED IN A RECORD OF DECISION 
WHICH WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC 
REVIEW. APPROVAL WILL BE WITHHELD ON 
ANY PORTION OF THE PLAN PROTESTED 
UNTIL FINAL ACTION HAS BEEN 
COMPLETED ON THE PROTESTS. 

PROTEST PROCESS 

ANY PERSON WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE 
PLANNING PROCESS AND HAS AN INTEREST 
THAT IS OR MAY BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED 
BY APPROVAL OF THE PROPOSED RMP MAY 
FILE A WRITTEN PROTEST WITH THE 
DIRECTOR OF THE BLM WITHIN 30 DAYS OF 
THE DATE THE EPA PUBLISHES THE NOTICE 
OF RECEIPT OF THE PROPOSED RMP AND 
FINAL EIS IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER . 

THE PROTEST MUST CONTAIN THE NAME, 
MAILING ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBER, 
AND INTEREST OF THE PERSON FILING THE 
PROTEST; A STATEMENT OF THE ISSUES 
BEING PROTESTED, RAISING ONLY THOSE 
ISSUES THAT WERE SUBMITTED FOR THE 
RECORD DURING THE PLANNING PROCESS; 
A STATEMENT OF THE PARTS OF THE PLAN 
BEING PROTESTED; COPIES OF ALL 
DOCUMENTS ADDRESSING THE ISSUES 
SUBMITTED DURING THE PLANNING 
PROCESS BY THE PROTESTING PARTY, OR 
AN INDICATION OF THE DATE THE ISSUES 
WERE DISCUSSED FOR THE RECORD; AND A 
CONCISE STATEMENT EXPLAINING WHY 
THE STATE DIRECTOR'S DECISION IS 
BELIEVED TO BE WRONG. ANY PROTESTS 
MUST BE SENT TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE 
BLM AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS: 

DIRECTOR (760) 

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

ROOM 407 

1620 L STREET NW 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20006 



THE DIRECTOR WILL RENDER A PROMPT 
WRITTEN DECISION ON THE PROTEST, 
SETTING FORTH THE REASONS FOR THE 
DECISION. THE DECISION WILL BE SENT TO 
THE PROTESTING PARTY BY CERTIFIED 
MAIL AND WILL BE THE FINAL DECISION OF 
THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES 

THERE WERE A TOTAL OF 226 WRITTEN AND 
6 ORAL COMMENTS SUBMITTED DURING 
THE FORMAL COMMENT PERIOD. TABLE 5-4 
LISTS ORAL AND COMMENT LETTERS 
RECEIVED. ALL LETTERS ARE 

REPRODUCED IN THEIR ENTIRETY. OF THE 
TOTAL, 60 PERCENT OF THE COMMENTS 
FAVORED ALTERNATIVE A (PRESENT 
MANAGEMENT), 10 PERCENT FAVORED 
ALTERNATIVE B (PRESERVATION), 1 
PERCENT FAVORED ALTERNATIVE C 
(PRODUCTION), 4 PERCENT FAVORED 
ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED 
ALTERNATD7E), 3 PERCENT DID NOT FAVOR 
ANY OF THE ALTERNATIVES, AND 22 
PERCENT DID NOT EXPRESS AN OPINION 
ON A PREFERRED ALTERNATD7E (MOST OF 
THESE COMMENTS WERE SPECIFIC TO 
CERTAIN GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS OR 
SUBJECT MATTER OR VERY GENERAL IN 
NATURE). 

RESPONSES HAVE BEEN MADE TO ALL 
SUBSTANTD7E COMMENTS PRESENTED IN 
LETTERS. SUBSTANTIVE COMMENTS WERE 
CONSIDERED TO BE THOSE WHICH 
ADDRESSED EITHER THE ADEQUACY AND 
ACCURACY OF THE DRAFT RMP/EIS OR THE 
MERITS OF THE ALTERNATIVES OR BOTH. 
THE RESPONSES ARE PRESENTED 
ADJACENT TO THE COMMENTS IN EACH 
LETTER. ANY ADDITIONAL LETTERS 

RECEIVED WILL RECEIVE FULL 
CONSIDERATION IN THE FINAL DECISION. 



5-7 



TABLE 5-4 

ORAL AND WRITTEN COMMENTS 

RECEIVED 



TABLE 5-4 (CONTINUED) 

ORAL AND WRITTEN COMMENTS 

RECEIVED 



Assigned Number 


in 


Order of Receipt 


Name of Commenter 




LCI 


John Sproul, Franklin Mountains 
Wilderness Coalition 




LC2 


Leedrue Hyatt 




LC3 


Betty Hyatt 


+ 




Joe Burgess, Hidalgo County 
Commissioner 


+ 




Ms. Willi Reynolds 




L03 


Thomas Shelley, Phelps Dodge 




1 


T. J. Schmierer 


+ 


2 


Raymond Bruntmyer, Reg. Compliance 
Office, Dept. of Air Force 


+ 


3 


Walter Mirczak 




4 


International Boundary and Water 
Commission 




5 


Richard B. Grabowski, USDI, Bureau of 
Mines, Intermountain Field Operations 
Center 




6 


Harry N. Bailey 




7 


D. P. Milovich, VP NM Operations, 
Phelps Dodge Mining Co. 


+ 


8 


Tom McKenna 


+ 


9 


Sam R. Moseley, Regional Admin., Reg. 
Housing Commissioner, U.S. Dept. of 
Housing and Urban Development 




10 


Joseph Gendron 


+ 


11 


Peggy and Douglas Bogart 




12 


Ron Flemke 




13 


Stephen Capra 




14 


Marianne H. Thaeler, President, Friends 
of Organ Mountains 




15 


Brian Wood 




16 


Robert E. Layton, Jr., PE, Regional 
Admin., U.S. EPA, Region 6 




17 


Gary Jeffreys 




18 


Zeno Wicks, Jr. 



J. W. Hartshorne, President, New Mexico 

Land Use Alliance 
Ross May 
R. T. Reynolds 
Frank Chaires, Chairman, Hidalgo Board 

of Commissioners 
Oma McCants 
Johnnie Dunagan 
James R. Wolf, Director, Continental 

Divide Trail Society 
Gary Corbell 
Edna G. Cleveland 
Richard Faulkner, DUY Ranch 
William W. Dunmire, Public Land 

Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy 
Charles K. Maxey 
Tim W. Hood 
Jim Winder 

Amy Kipp, Kipp Cattle Co. 
Justin Kipp, Kipp Cattle Co. 
Rex Kipp, Kipp Cattle Co. 
W. E. Goodbrake 



Assigned Number 


in 


Order of Receipt 


Name of Commenter 


* 


37 


V. A. Hill/John V. Davis 


* 


38 


Leon McDaniel 




39 


Janaloo Hill Hough and Manny 
Hough, Shakespeare Ranch 




40 


Charles McClure 




41 


Gerald A. Strauss 


+ 


42 


Pecos and Darr Shannon 


+ 


43 


Richard Searle 


* 


44 


Albert M. and Naomi M. Brown 


* 


45 


Harry D. Kling 




46 


John Sproul, President, 
Franklin Mountains Wilderness 
Coalition 


* 


47 


Dan Puckett 




48 


James F. Devine, U.S. Geological Survey 




49 


Robert Tafanelli 




50 


Jim Carrico, Trans-Pecos Planning and 
Dev. Coord. 




51 


David McCauley, Grant Soil and Water 
Conservation District 




52 


Patricia K. Williams 




53 


Stephen Capra 




54 


Murray and Judy Keeler 




55 


Leedrue Hyatt 




56(A) 


Ms. Storm M. Sermay 




56(B) 


Perry Plummer 


+ 


57 


Thomas H. Wootten, Conservation 
Chairman, The Native Plant Society of 
New Mexico, Las Cruces Chapter 




58 


Jimmy Knight, President, Bootheel 
Sportsman Association 




59 


W. Lance Williams 


+ 


60 


James R. Abbott, Forest Supervisor, 
Coronado National Forest 




61 


Thomas H. and Eleanor G. Wootten 




62 


Olon Plunk, Manager, Environmental 
Affairs, Southwestern Public Service 
Company 


* 


63 


Trudy Thompson 


* 


64 


Lindsey and Leona Riggs 


* 


65 


Constance M. Doshas 


* 


66 


Louise Hogget 


* 


67 


Lee Baker 


* 


68 


Joe Rouse, Rouse Cattle Co. 




69 


Frank A. DuBois, Dir./Sec, NM Dept. 
of Agriculture, Office of Dir./Sec. 




70 


E. James Lunt 




71 


Bar V Five Ranch 




72 


Jim Graham 




73 


D.P. Milovich, Phelps Dodge 
Mining Co. 




74 


Ben Zerbey, Chairman, Southern 
New Mexico Group, Sierra Club 


+ 


75 


Bill Cavaliere 


+ 


76 


M. Edward Nesselroad/Patricia K. 
Danser 


+ 


77 


James R. Walter 



5-8 



TABLE 5-4 (CONTINUED) 

ORAL AND WRITTEN COMMENTS 

RECEIVED 



TABLE 5-4 (CONTINUED) 

ORAL AND WRITTEN COMMENTS 

RECEIVED 



Assigned Number 


n 


Assigned Number 


n 


Order of Receipt 


Name of Commenter 


Order of Receipt 


Name of Commenter 


+ 


78 


Ida Walter 




119 


Jessie Evans 




79 


Kevin Bixby 




120 


Henry J. Torkelson 


+ 


80 


Duane Coleman, Rafter JL Ranch 


+ 


121 


David and Billie Dunagan, Dunagan 


+ 


81 


Karen Fuller 






Land and Cattle Co. 


+ 


82 


Don R. Kerr 




122 


Will Swift 




83 


Michael Sauber 




123 


Mary W. Winkler 


+ 


84 


Gladys Croom 




124 


Edward Roos IV 


+ 


85 


Robert L. Evans/Patricia A. Evans 


+ 


125 


Velva W. Hurt 


+ 


86 


James V. McCarty 


+ 


126 


James W. Hurt 




87 


William C. Miller, Jr./Carrol A. Miller 


+ 


127 


Lawrence B. Hurt 




88 


William C. Miller, Sr./Adeline Miller, 


+ 


128 


Ernest F. Hurt 






Post Office Canyon Ranch 


+ 


129 


William Hurt 


+ 


89 


J. B. Strickland 




130 


Mrs. Robert Cosimati 




90 


Clinton E. Dunagan/ 


+ 


131 


Avery T. Hurt 






Frances Gail Dunagan 


+ 


132 


Kelly S. Hurt 




91 


Jay Peterson/Kelly Peterson 


+ 


133 


Mrs. Annabel Richards 




92 


Jim Evans 


+ 


134 


Dan and Shirley Fralie 




93 


Henry Washburn 


+ 


135 


Carol Evans 


+ 


94 


Sheila Massey, President, NM Women 


+ 


136 


Tamara G. Hurt 






Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) 


+ 


137 


Smokey Nunn 


+ 


95 


Tawna and Rusty Evans 


+ 


138 


Luther Klump 


+ 


96 


Lenora D. Rand 


+ 


139 


John Looker 


+ 


97 


Ladd and Barbara Pendleton, Pendleton 




140 


Addoline Hill 






Ranch and Realty 




141 


Donald H. Couchman 


+ 


98 


Levi Klump 


+ 


142 


Terrell W. Davis 


+ 


99 


Mary E. Butler 


+ 


143 


Bradley Mumford 




100 


John V. Brownfield, Goodsight, Inc. 




144 


Theodore B. Hodoba, Native Plant 




101 


Myra Mahan 






Society of New Mexico 


+ 


102 


Sam Pursley 


+ 


145 


Dr. and Mrs. Dwayne Morris 




103 


Mrs. William R. Cowan 


+ 


146 


Joe Croom 


+ 


104 


Darr Shannon, Hidalgo County 


+ 


147 


Mrs. Don R. Ken- 






Cattlegrowers Association 


+ 


148 


Bessie Estes 


* 


105 


Buster Green 




149 


Larry T. Caudill, Wildlife Legislative 




106 


Jim Culberson, Culberson Ranches, Inc. 






Council 




107 


Stephen O. MacDonald, Friends of the 
Gila River 


+ 


150 


Jim Piatt, Chief, Surface Water Quality 
Bureau, Environment Department 


+ 


108 


Anabell Hall 




151 


Kelly Cranston 




109 


Geoffrey Babb, Preserve Mgr., Gray 




152 


Don Plasters 






Ranch 




153 


Aylmer Ruebush 




110 


Roger S. Peterson, Rio Grande Chapter 




154 


Olney 






of the Sierra Club 




155 


Genevieve Gunter 




111 


Joe Bill Nunn 




156 


Anton J. Kovar 




112 


Thomas D. Lustig, Staff Attorney, 




157 


W. H. Walter 






National Wildlife Federation 




158 


Tricia Swift 




113 


Catherine I. Sandell, Vice President, 
Mesilla Valley Audubon Society 




159 


Pearl Robb Swift/William Swift/ 
William Swift 


+ 


114 


Ron Cheghe 




160 


Bob Hughes 


+ 


115 


Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Fralie 




161 


Barbara Hoggett 


+ 


116 


Adair Merrell, M & M Hog Farm, Inc. 




162 


A A. Villegas 


+ 


117 


Lois B. Kent/Page H. Kent 




163 


James L. Mitchell 


+ 


118 


Edward El brock 




164 


Eva D. DeBrad 



5-9 



TABLE 5-4 (CONTINUED) 

ORAL AND WRITTEN COMMENTS 

RECEIVED 



TABLE 5-4 (CONCLUDED) 

ORAL AND WRITTEN COMMENTS 

RECEIVED 



Assigned Number in 
Order of Receipt 



Name of Commenter 



Assigned Number in 
Order of Receipt 



Name of Commenter 



* 165 


Jane E. Mitchell 


* 166 


James Mitchell, Jr. 


* 167 


Virginia Holguin 


* 168 


Mrs. Sid Savage 


* 169 


Merrianne Treadwell 


* 170 


Lou Spurkin 


* 171 


Elaine Roybal 


* 172 


Mary Ann Barnes 


* 173 


Gabriel Rodriguez 


* 174 


Guy Johannes III 


* 175 


Kenny Taylor 


* 176 


Velma Washburn 


* 177 


David C. Harrison, Jr. 


* 178 


Billie R. Estrada 


* 179 


Linda K. McCarty 


* 180 


Elaine Byrd 


* 181 


William K. Meloy, Jr. 


* 182 


D. R. Acosta 


* 183 

* 184 


Tim my Ray 


Dale Betts 


* 185 


Tommy Richardson 


* 186 


Russell B. Richins 


* 187 


Don R. Burk 


* 188 


Terry E. Burke 


* 189 


Carlos R. Carabeo 


* 190 


Oscar Barrio 


* 191 


Benny Nunez 


* 192 


Peter W. Schultz 


* 193 


B. N. Hogan 


* 194 


A. K. McCarty 


* 195 


A. P. Sanchez, Jr. 


* 196 


R. L. Fredrickson 


* 197 


E. Gonzales, Jr. 


* 198 


Levi N. Grelli 


* 199 


Alfonso Gonzales 


* 200 


Linda Looker 


* 201 


D. C. Stanford 


* 202 


Gary L. Drybread 


* 203 


Valente Verdugo 


* 204 


Reynoldo Verdugo 


* 205 


Joe C. Arambule 


* 206 




* 207 




* 208 


G. Anthony Mason 


* 209 




* 210 


Pete Carillo 


* 211 


James M. Sortomme, Jr. 


* 212 


Jeffrey D. Ahlers 


* 213 




* 214 




* 215 




* 216 




* 217 




* 218 




* 219 


Augustine Arilucca 


* 220 




♦ 221 





222 Assoc. Reg. Dir., Resources Mgml., 

SW Region, National Park Service 

223 Judith M. Espinosa, Secretary, 

Environment Department 

224 Regional Director, Region 2, 

USDI, Fish and Wildlife Service 

225 Thomas E. Petri, Member of Congress 

226 Bill Montoya, Director, Department 
of Game and Fish, State of 

New Mexico 

NOTES: +No response required. 

*Signature on Paid Advertisement. No response 

required. See Comment No. 23 on page 5-73. 

"Signature on Paid Advertisement, but unable to 

read signature. No response 

required. See Comment No. 23 on page 5-73. 



5-10 



GENERAL RESPONSE 1 - PURPOSE AND NEED FOR THE RMP 

Many reviewers preferred nq change in management from the present situation, favoring Alternative A over 
other alternatives. BLM has been directed by Congress in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
(FLPMA) of 1976 to prepare land use plans for public land (Section 202). There are currently several existing 
plans and plan amendments that provide management direction for public land in the Mimbres Resource Area. 
The problem with these plans is that they do not cover the entire Resource Area, except for grazing and 
energy mineral related issues, they are out-of-date (one plan dates to 1976), and they are not consistent with 
existing laws and policies. The public has expressed the need to resolve other issues such as control of off- 
road vehicles. In 1987, a decision was made to prepare a single, comprehensive plan for the public land in 
the Resource Area. 

The BLM's planning process is "issue driven." Issues and management concerns (or problems) are identified 
by management and the public to be resolved through the development of the Resource Management Plan 
(RMP). BLM's basic mandate is found in Section 102 of FLPMA. It is the policy of the United States that 
public land be managed on the basis of multiple use and sustained yield, in a manner that protects 
environmental values and recognizes the need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber. The 
land use plan then becomes the means for making land use allocations to ensure that these needs are 
accomplished within the Resource Area. 

In 1989, after several years of collecting resource inventory data and establishing a data base, the BLM began 
a process of "scoping" to identify issues, management concerns, and planning criteria that would establish the 
basic framework for the RMP. In the beginning, this was an internal process, based upon management needs 
and the collective knowledge of the resource specialists on the planning team. This was then presented to 
local governments, as well as State and other Federal agencies, in a series of meetings held in June 1989. 
Following these meetings, this information was presented to the public in the form of a Scoping Report and 
at five public meetings which were held in July 1989. Following these meetings, the planning team modified 
the Scoping Report based upon public comment. A follow-up Scoping Report was issued in November 1989. 
This report formed Chapter 1 of the RMP and set the stage for development of alternatives to resolve the 
various issues and concerns. 

The planning team then developed a range of alternatives, including the "no action" or present management 
alternative. The No Action Alternative is required by law to be included because it is the basis for comparison 
with the other alternatives in analyzing the environmental impacts in Chapter 4. It does not, however, fully 
resolve the issues or management concerns (for example, most of the Resource Area is currently undesignated 
or defacto "open" to off-road vehicles) or comply with FLPMA. If the No Action Alternative did fully respond 
to the issues and concerns, there would have been no need to prepare a new plan. The other alternatives 
represent a reasonable range of possible land use plans that would resolve the issues and concerns in different 
ways. The Proposed Plan (the Preferred Alternative in the Draft RMP/EIS) attempts to resolve the issues and 
concerns in a manner that balances the allocation of land and resource uses throughout the Resource Area. 

GENERAL RESPONSE 2 - AREAS OF CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN (ACECs) 

In Section 202 of FLPMA, Congress directed BLM to give priority to the designation and protection of 
ACECs in the development and revision of land use plans. ACECs are areas within the public land where 
special management attention is required to protect and prevent irreparable damage to historic, cultural, or 
scenic values, fish and wildlife resources, or other natural systems or processes, or to protect life and safety 
from natural hazards. Many reviewers have confused ACECs with wilderness or wilderness study areas 
( WSAs). While the proposed ACEC boundaries do overlap in some cases with WSA boundaries, the ACECs 
are usually smaller and have been proposed for reasons stated above, not to protect wilderness values. Each 
ACEC would be managed in accordance with the management prescriptions for the area. Each area is unique; 
therefore, management would not be the same for each area. 



5-11 



Many reviewers also objected to the use of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to provide inventory information 
on potential biological ACECs. Section 201 of FLPMA directs BLM to prepare and maintain inventories of 
public land resources, giving priority to ACECs. TNC provided this biological inventory information to the 
BLM under a "challenge cost-share agreement," where matching funds were provided by both BLM and TNC. 
The agreement specified areas for their consideration as potential ACECs and the criteria to be addressed. 
The subsequent report contained a thorough review of existing literature and data bases, as well as personal 
interviews with biologists from local and regional academic institutions and management agencies. We did 
not anticipate the level of controversy surrounding the report when the cost-share agreement was negotiated 
with TNC in 1988. We are sensitive to the appearance of a conflict of interest, but we believe that all 
contracted services were performed in a professional manner. Even so, all future surveys of this type will be 
scrutinized closely to determine whether or not they should be awarded competitively. 

In addition to the challenge cost-share agreement with TNC, BLM developed a similar agreement with 
New Mexico State University (NMSU) to provide an overview of existing literature and data bases pertaining 
to cultural resources to the planning area. Part of this agreement also called for providing recommendations 
for cultural ACECs. The BLM also contracted with NMSU for a social and economic profile of the Resource 
Area and a social and economic analysis of the alternatives. 

In all cases, the BLM planning team reviewed and made final determinations on the recommendations of the 
cost-share agreements and contracts. In many cases, the team modified these recommendations (including 
recommended boundaries) based on additional information not known at the time of the reports. 

In response to public comment, BLM evaluated areas where there were overlapping special designations such 
as proposed ACEC boundaries which were virtually identical to WSA boundaries. In these areas, the proposed 
ACEC designations were scaled back to encompass only the most significant area of biological, scenic, cultural, 
or other concerns. In several areas, where there is a need to acquire scientific information on the biology of 
these areas, a designation of RNA is more appropriate than ACEC. One area, Box Canyon, is not proposed 
for ACEC designation because, based on information not known when the draft was being prepared and after 
further evaluation, it does not clearly meet the criteria for relevance and importance. Based on this new 
evaluation, Alternative C (not proposed as an ACEC) became a part of our Proposed Plan. Two other areas, 
Aden Lava Flow and Kilbourne Hole, have adequate existing designations as a WSA/RNA and National 
Natural Landmark (respectively). 

GENERAL RESPONSE 3 - VEHICLE MANAGEMENT 

During the scoping period and even earlier, one of the major public concerns expressed was the lack of control 
over off-road vehicles and the real or potential resource conflicts that were occurring in the planning area. 
Under the Proposed Plan, vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails throughout most of the 
Resource Area. Only in ACECs and other Special Management Areas (such as WSAs, the Continental Divide 
National Scenic Trail, and the Border Zone), would vehicle use be more restricted (limited to designated roads 
and trails or closed). Areas limited to designated roads and trails or closed to vehicle use would be about 
650,000 acres, or 22 percent of the Resource Area. As pointed out earlier, much of the Resource Area is 
currently undesignated. This is a defacto "open" designation, which means that vehicles can be driven anywhere 
without restriction. The purpose of vehicle designations is to prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of 
public land. Executive Order 11644 also requires that all public land be designated as "open," "limited," or 
"closed." 

GENERAL RESPONSE 4 - LAND ACQUISITION 

Many reviewers expressed concern over the acquisition of State trust and private lands in or adjacent to 
ACECs and other special management areas. Many also expressed concern over condemnation of their land 
for this purpose. For the record, let it be clearly stated that no land will be condemned for acquisition of 
State trust and private lands in or adjacent to ACECs and other special management areas. BLM does not 
have the authority to condemn land for acquisition. All land acquisition in ACECs or special management 



5-12 



areas will involve a willing landowner. If the landowner is not willing to sell or exchange his/her land, the 
BLM will not and cannot condemn for the land. Exchange is our preferred method for acquiring non-Federal 
land. 

Many reviewers also expressed concern over increased Federal ownership in the area. Under the Proposed 
Plan, there would be a net decrease of about 9,000 acres of public land as a result of land ownership 
adjustments. Lands identified for disposal would be used to exchange for lands of higher resource value within 
special management areas. 

GENERAL RESPONSE 5 - COORDINATION WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS 

Section 202 of FLPMA also directs the BLM to coordinate the planning and management of public land with 
the land use planning of local governments, to the extent consistent with the laws governing the administration 
of the public land . Furthermore, the BLM will, to the extent practical , give consideration to local land use 
plans, assist in resolving inconsistencies between Federal and local plans, and provide for meaningful public 
involvement of local officials. 

To that end, BLM scheduled a series of meetings with local officials of the four counties and major cities in 
the planning area prior to the general public scoping meetings. These meetings were held in June 1989. The 
purpose of the meetings was to obtain early input from local officials on the draft issues, management concerns 
and planning criteria that would establish the scope and framework of the RMP. In addition, BLM attended 
Commission meetings in Luna and Grant Counties to brief Commissioners prior to release of the Draft Plan. 
BLM has recently been working with Luna and Hidalgo County Commissioners in an effort to resolve 
apparent conflicts between local plans and the RMP. We look forward to a continued close working 
relationship with all counties in the Resource Area, as the planning process is continued and the plan is 
implemented. 

A complete summary of BLM consultation and coordination efforts for this RMP/EIS is contained in 
Chapter 5. 



5-13 



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07 23 21 81556.67 50 
07 26 06 85896.59 53 
07 28 33 89771.64 55 
07 31 14 93981.40 58 
07 33 45 97951.26 60 
07 35 56 101382.19 63 
07 37 12 103374.61 64 
07 38 13 104984.43 65 
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07 44 17 114567.17 71 
07 46 14 117660.45 73 
07 48 30 121187.82 75 
07 50 50 124864.12 77 
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07 57 16.868 135032.23 83 

07 58 00 136175.88 84 

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08 03 31 144868.78 90 
08 05 51 148570.12 92 
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RMP/EIS. 
ith Alterna 
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1991, you 
dships that 
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Phelps D 
ve RMP/EIS 
carbonate, 
cipated Imp 
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um carbonat 
















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rospect permit application area 
atives "B" and *D" as listed in tab 
pated Impacts (Minerals) of the Dr 
ct permit application may also confli 
the Continental Divide National Seen 
on map 2-11. 


the Silver City meeting of September 
d information on specific conflicts or 
RMP/EIS would bestow on companies or 

is intended to comply with your req 
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for the economic development of sod 
equest that you amend the Sumaary of 
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deral Activities, U.S. Environmental Protection 
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25 

"NTTNENTAL DIVIDE TRAIL SOCIETY 
.Supplemental Comments on August 1991 Draft 


References are to the Comprehensive Plan for the Continental Divide 
National Scenic Trail (1985). which establishes policies to guide 
the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies in the location 
and management of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. 


t 
i 

i 

c 
b 

o 

> 

( 




We are unable to identify the location of the trail, under any of 
the alternatives, in sufficient detail to permit analysis and 
romment Thi6 ie contrary to page 39-40 of the Comprehensive Plan, 
which provides for a Location Report which will enable the advice 
and assistance of interested parties to be made part of the 
alarming process The Location Report is to include descriptions, 
including maps. As shown in the Comprehensive Plan, nape at a 
scale of approximately 1/2" to the mile are needed in order to 
provide an adequate basis for comment and planning. 


"•-•rary to pages 39-40 of the Comprehensive Plan, the draft 
PMF 5!*o fails to incluie a general description of the trail segment 
' on any alternative 1 -- including types of management areas, 
private lands, physical environment, unique features, recreational 
opportunity spectrum classes, associated cultural or historic 
features, and current types arid kinds of use. This information is 
needed in order for readers to understand BLM 6 assessment of 
different routes and in order to be able to comment upon the routes 
in a reasoned and meaningful way (Water availability, public 
access, visual quality, and avoidance of paved or other 
nigh-st andard roads are likelv to be especially critical ) 


Contrary to pages 39-40 of the Comprehensive Plan, the draft 
PMP/EI3 fail6 to set out specific management direction that will 
apply to the CDNST -- such items a6 protection, safety, 
maintenance, rules and regulations needed, signing, associated 
recreation facilities, and planned carrying capacity. 


4 
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";-.:rsry to pages 39-40 of the Comprehensive Plan and Figure 5A 
thereof the environmental analysis fails to include -- either for 
any particular alternative or comparatively for different 
alternatives -- effects on the physical and biological setting. 
effects or. the general socio-economic setting, etc. 




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Map 2-11 identifies the general location of a "Florida Mountains 
Spur.' but there appears to be no further description of the 
management practices that would be instituted with respect to that 
location. If the intention is to designate a side trail under 
Section 6 of the National Trails System Act. the RMP/EIS should so 
state explicitly. There 6hould also be a description of how this 
side trail would be managed. While we now believe that the Florida 
Mountains should be adopted as the primary route, we would not 
object to its being considered as a side trail" as part of one 
alternative that might be considered in a proper planning effort. 


Before you proceed further, you need to examine more carefully, and 
explain, options for locating a route to the Columbus area. The 
objective should be to include Fort Cummings. Coohe6 Spring, the 
crest of the Florida Mountains, the Tres Hermanas. and Columbus 
itself. It would be helpful if you would consult with other 
knowledgeable and interested parties as you develop alternatives, 
instead of limiting comment to possibly less-than-optimal locations 
that you have prepared in-house. 


The Comprehensive Flan (p 49) calls for rating the CDT as a high 
sensitivity iev^l travel route. The selection of VRM Class II 
needs to be related to this policy statement. Moreover, pending 
selection of a route for designation, each of the alternatives 
should be managed in a way that will maintain visual quality as 
jell as ether attributes (Comprehensive Plan. p. 26) 


Contrary to the information at page H-56. Ie6s than half of the 
trail route ha6 yet been designated. 


i 
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While thi6 16 a worthy goal, it is not clear that BLM has the 
lawful authority to implement it. And, for this very reason, it iE 
essential that any consideration of alternatives 6hould set out in 
detail the land tenure situation, the feasibility of establishing a 
desirable continuous right-of-way, prospects for securing the 
permission of private landowners to cross their property, etc. If 
the policy is *o acquire all State trust and private lands. the 
legal basis for executing thi6 policy should be articulated. 


25-13 

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be a better 
ndary of 
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area BLM has 
le additional 
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-Texas state lir 
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Finally, on the New Mexico 
match between the retaine 
Franklin Mountains State 
Park is just over 0.6 mile 
identified for retention or 
lands we propose in Sec. 
be less than 0.15 mile apa 


erall, BLM has done excellent 
k forward to seeing the final 
nment. 


1 " P 


closures 

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2. Legal description of 




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i of the Grant Soil 
991, Draft Mimbres 
ironmental Impact 
November 18, 1991, 
rs. 

pment of the final 
thank you for an 






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u 

s ■ 

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anager 
ice 
nt 
erior 

r the Board of Supervisors 
District on your August, 1 
e Management Plan Env 
tion was adopted Monday, 
f the Board of Superviso 

he comments in the devela 
be appreciated, and we 




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Area 

ct Of 
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005 

ants < 
jtion 
esour 
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en 


urce 
istri 
nd Ma 
ment 
NM 88 

t: 

comm 
lserv 
ea R 
This 
mous 

ratio 
Plan 
to cc 

ruly. 


• 








^ 


ij s ° a t . n zrz c a . * r 


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i 



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Mr. Tim Sa 
Mimbres Re 
Las Cruces 
Bureau of 
U. S. Depa 
Las Cruces 

Dear Mr. S 

Enclosed a 
and Water 
Resource 
Statement, 
by the una 

Your consi 
Management 
opportunit 

Yours very 


David McCa 
Chairman 

DM/ las 

Enclosure 





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806/378- 
, 1991 




Servic 
copy, 
source 

comment 

uild a 

onal bo 

In fa 

or the 
the na 

lable t 
r copie 

_cCvi 

aw 

al Anal 




o 

UI 

u 


5ER 26 




'ostal 
id, by 
es Re 

our 

rnati 
;xico. 
1. 

nts f 
Lon of 
age. 

avai 
thei 

ely, 

rensh 
nment 




> 

K 

Ui 

in 


(AS 7917C 
NOVEM 




>y U.S. I 
i you (at 
he Mimbi 

>age 4 o 
propose 
the int< 
ic of M< 

lunty, N> 

ur coram* 
Correct 
rected 

>u making 
ages fo 

Since 

Bill ( 
Envirc 




u 

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a. 

z 
cc 

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by FAX and later 
ervice submitted t 
ilia) comments on 

ticed an error on 
nnents indicate SPS 
ves County, NM, to 
ates and the Repub 
Id begin in Eddy C 

you substitute in c 
corrected page 4. 
y change on the co 

would appreciate y 
11a the corrected 




5 

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Attention: RMP Team 

Bureau of Land Manage 
Mimbres Resource Are* 
1800 Marquess 
Las Cruces, NM 88005 


Dear RMP Team Leader 

Yesterday, firs 
Southwestern Public J 
Tim Salt and Juan Pac 
draft EIS and RMP. 

Today, I have nc 
As submitted, the cot 
mission line from Chj 
between the United S 
the proposed line woi 

We request that 
record the enclosed, 
the county is the on] 

Additionally, I 
Mr. Salt and Mr. Pad 
of our comments. 



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69 

Florence 
25, 1991 

Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to: 

(e) Specific requirements and constraints to achieve 

consistency with policies, plans and programs of other 
Federal agencies, State and local government agencies 
and Indian tribes; 

(g) Degree of local dependence on resources from public 
lands; (Emphasis added] (43 CFR I6t0.4-4(e) . (g) ] 

Clearly, the BLM must consider the impact of its actions on the 
economic stability and community stability aspects of the counties 
involved. Further, after alternatives have been developed, the BLM 
"...shall estimate and display the physical, biological, economic, and 
social effects of implement each alternative considered in detail." 
(Emphasis added] (43 CFR 1610. 4-6| 

Contradictions occur in Chapter 4. Environmental Conseauences . 


Alternative D, Social and Economic Conditions. The last paragraph of 
the summary ( pp 4-129) reads, "There would be no significant economic 
effects unique to Alternative from ACF.C designation, vehicle 
management, access acquisition, right of way, paleontological 
resources, wildlife habitat policy, minerals policy, cultural and 
management, or vegetation management." (Emphasis added] 

On pp 4-132, same alternative, Lhe lasi paragraph addressing 
Cummulative Impacts states. "Tim designation and management of ACECs, 
coupled with the acquisition 1m | management of the Gray Ranch by The 
Nature Conservancy (TNC), would cause a combined economic impact on 
commodity-based land uses and activities within portions of the 
Resource Area." There is no indication or explanation of the type of 
impact or the cause and effect of the impact. (Emphasis added] 

If there is no significant economic effect unique to Alternative D from 
ACEC designations as summarized, why should the acquisition and 
management of the Gray Ranch hy The Nature Conservancy, as it relatesto 
ACEC designation and management, cause any additional economic impacton 
land uses. 

In summary, the generalized nature of the ACEC management prescriptions 
provides the BLM with an almost boundless latitude to impose 
administrative management decisions. Furthermore, the BLM fails to 
address the economic impacts of proposed ACECs or the effect of 
management prescriptions of specific ACF.Cs concerning individual 
resource users, communities, or counties. Until our concerns are 


Mr. Scott 
November 
Page -4- 

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Allotment located in Grant County 
mbres Resource Area Resource Mana' 
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al impact statement. 


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November 2d 1991 

Scott Florence 
BLM-ftimbres Resource Area 
1800 Marquess 
Las Cruces. N.N. 88005 


Dear fir. Florence. 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Draft Nimbres CRUP. I appreciate the effort that hi 
been expended on the CRNP. 


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IThe subject of my greatest concern with the CRNP. and the regional BLH in general, is it's inadequa 
grasp of the dynamics of the areas population growth. The population growth is treated as static, o 
most, linear. In fact it is exponential, and the exponential factor is going to change upward. If t 
effects of the CRNP are projected for twenty years, an arbitrary but reasonable assumption, the are 
population at the end will be ten times the present. In another twenty the regional population may 
approach the present size of Southern California's. 


In particular I am concerned about the disposal of lands in the Las Cruces area. I realize that the 
a currently a vacuum in the area of urban planning in Dona Anna County but the BUI's disposal sched 
is the apotheosis of good planning. The CRNP says that increasing land supply will save farmland fr 
development. In fact farmland in the area is going to be developed inevitably, in the absence of st 
incentives from local planning agencies. The amount of farmland in the region in fact is not determ 
by the amount of suitable land but rather available water. The planned disposals will contribute to 
"urban sprawl", one of the areas greatest problems. An adequate infrastructure is difficult to deve 
under these conditions. Property tax levies will not be increased as the CRNP states. 


| In addition the proposed disposal is wasteful of Federal land exchange "capital". Land values will 
72-21 increase exponentially in the vicinity while the value of areas to be acquired in the "hinterlands" 
Ibe increasing much more slowly. In effect we can get more "bang for the buck" if disposal is deferr 
As an example, look at the value of the former Indian School land in Phoenix. 


I approve of the CRNP's increased designation of ACECs, especially plan B. I would like to see incr 
protection of ACECs by a more uniform standard, more like the yilderness System Act's. The types of 
protection I would like to see included are reduction of grazing, no use of herbicides, vehicular 

T> 1 | excluslon ' •ineral sales or leasing, and plant sales. I think ACEC status should be retained even i 

' ^" J |area is changed to yilderness. 


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is is a bass ackwards move. The ar 
th. Campsites will increase the 
quate management. I think the area 
tes are incompatible with all of 
put primitive campsites, but this 
in areas in proximity to town and 
s. 


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10 

u 

1 


1, 1991 

g the 

locol 
d state 

County 

-ce 
feel 
given 




o 
c 
o 
u 
LU 


November 2 

n for the county" 
1 am writing as 

than sufficient 

dening of federol 

n America, ond s 

g and refurbishm 

3mic base of our 
to these local on 

notion in Hidolgo 

years and more 

ding BLM s Resou 
nput. We do not 
s plan hove been 




u_ 

c 


inogement Plo 
Jalgo County. 
FE orgonizot 

jnty is more 
further broa 

t landowner 
used updatin 

tax and econ 
ond industry 

Concern Oesig 

ced for many 

g mode regar 
itees to have 
npocted by th 
ctions. 




> 

o 

> 
c 


ned Resource M 
hich includes Hi 
ntotive of the W 

se in Hidalgo Co 
ould oppose ony 
Dur county. 

ming the lorge 
could be better 

unds erodes the 
e loss, of people 

Environmental 

access hos suff 
ed for. 

ol decision beir 
rtunity for pnv 
Je drosticolly ir 
8LM s planned o 

iderotion of our 


E 


c 
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E 
o 

u. 

UL 

3 


Tim Salt. Areo Mgr. 
Bureau o( Lond Monogement 
! i-. M-rquess Street 
Los Cruces, NM 88005 

Deor Mr. Salt: 

1 am writing in regord to BLMs plan 
located in New Mexico s bootheel, w 
private landowner and as a represe 

BLM s present involvement in lond u 
governmental involvement and we w 
goverment management of londs in 

The Federal Government is fast bee 
strongly feel thot government fund: 
existing land holdings. 

The further confiscation of private 
and state government ond causes th 
oreas. 

We also oppose any Areo of Cnticol 
because of their restrictive noture. 

Present vehicular management and 
burdensome monogement is not coll 

WIFE is in stong opposition to any fi 
Monogement Plan without more oppo 
that the individuals who s lives will 
sufficient opportunity to respond to 

1 thank you in odvonce for your cons 


£ 

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so seems to be the most logical 
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suit in the trail crossing the 1 
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>y several ind 
tv vcars aco. 
ie exanmatio 
Agriculture t 
why. 

lack of inform 
\ppendix C) an 
not enough: 

tion and treni. 
ion for each a 

oblems such a: 

ome of these c 

hithout th 

re doing on oi 

election of sj 
nned actions 
g up areas bv 
gra:ing in bi 
oals; ana we 

leasing shou 
areas are nee 

Southern Rio 
s approved, w 
ness decision 

special mana 

rt should be 
d management 

ting the desi 
--chemical br 
s above on de 

Huecos. ) 

B's boundane 

Huecos . 

an should be 

radict themse 
eject "mainta 

be excluded 


* 


is senseless, as has been pointed out 
beginning with the Leopold leport thir 
vour ADC policv and present it for pub 
to continue to allow the Department of 
killing our wildlife, vou must cell us 

A maior deficiency in the document is 
al grazing allotments. Listing them ( 
out-dateu documents (pp. 2-1", *-S) is 
govern grazing actions for a decade or 
(feueral, state, private), range condi 
crazing capacitv, and current utilizat 
date (or projected date) of its AMP or 
riparian conditions and anv special pr 
otner uses and trespass historv. If s 
vou should state wner. vou' 11 iiave them 
pudic cannot judge the job that vou a 
VOU 00 it. 

In general we praise Alternative E's s 
areas. he also praise most of the pla 
lv obtaining public access and blockin 
he uo not in eeneral accept livestock 
because it conflicts with management g 
forms of mineral entrv including fluid 
Certain additional special management 
Pvramiu Mountains and proposals in the 
But if Alternative E's list of areas l 
later amendment ^probably after wilder 
additional areas. Particular notes on 

Aden Lava Fiow--At least the RNA pa 
ally planned, for the sake of state 

Alamo i.ueco Mounta ins- -Though admit 
goal, we oppose the method proposed 
modifv vegetation. See our comment 

Antelope Pass-- (Same as under Alamo 

Eear creek--We would like to see th 
as a. research natural area. 

Big Hatchet Mounta ins -- A 1 ternat lve 
See also comment above under Alamo 

Cedar Mounta ins - -A 1 ternat ive B's pi 

Cooke's Range--(same as under Alamc 

Dona Ana Mounta ins- -Your plans con! 
with "exclude exotic animals" and i 

Florida Mountains- -Livestock shoulc 




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