Jerry Burton, Ron Loehman, and Art Vollmer of Trout Unlimited met with the SFNF Supervisor, Maria Garcia, her Deputy, Joe Norell, and Alan Setzer, the acting ranger on the Jemez District at the SFNF offices in Santa Fe on May 24. The FS requested the meeting to address our objections to the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse (NMMJM) decision and to try to convince us to withdraw those objections. We discussed the jumping mouse issue with them for more than three hours and hammered out the agreement. The New Mexico Trout Board accepted the agreement by email vote. In my (Ron Loehman’s) opinion it’s an overall win for us, the mouse, and the Cebolla and it is a good outcome from the effort everyone put in to address the original proposal.
Here are the reasons your Board voted to accept the agreement.
- The NMMJM is in a much more precarious position than was indicated in the environmental assessment. NMT members are responsible users and visitors, but some of the general public is not, and even limited damage from recreational access might be enough to drive the NMMJM to extinction.
- The FS agreed to use adaptive management with actual scientific monitoring of the mice and their habitat, which would allow for easing restrictions on angling if there is sufficient mouse recovery.
- The FS agreed to use NMT and TU volunteers for habitat improvement projects to speed recovery.
- Not in the written agreement, but agreed in principle, was to set up a program for volunteers (NMT and TU) to monitor habitat quality and report the observations to the FS. (We will develop a plan to recruit volunteers, who will get some training in the kind of data the FS needs. We will put an app on our NMT website where individuals can enter their observations after any trip up along the Cebolla. No one will have to commit to any particular schedule, but with enough volunteers we should get pretty good coverage.)