The Forest Service has issued the final Environmental Assessment (EA) of its plan to protect NM Meadow Jumping Mouse (MJM) habitat along mountain meadow streams in the Jemez Mountains. The final plan bans non-consumptive recreation (as well as grazing) from MJM habitat for at least 10 years.
In 2014, the Meadow Jumping Mouse was listed as an endangered species. Its endangered status is attributable to destruction of its mountain meadow stream habitat by years of excessive cattle grazing on Forest Service grazing allotments. Even though there is no evidence for damage to MJM habitat from non-consumptive recreation, such as fishing, bird watching, hiking, etc., the Forest Service plan lumps those activities with cattle grazing for a complete ban of all activities from MJM habitat for 10 years. NM Trout objected to punishing non-consumptive recreation for the damage cause by cattle grazing, but our comments were not acknowledged.
Individuals and organizations that submitted comments on the Draft EA can submit written objections to the Final EA by May 6, 2016. The link to the complete Jumping Mouse EA with instructions on how and where to file objections is: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48561. NMT has reiterated its concern that the planned approach is too restrictive, as it bans activities that have no apparent impact on the MJM habitat.
Ron Loehman, Conservation Chair
From the April/May 2016 Newsletter