New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell
One Health is a collaborative decision-making approach that helps ensure the long-term health of plants, animals, people and local communities. This effort will help the State Land Office optimize revenues and create good jobs for New Mexicans while caring for State Trust Lands in a sustainable manner.
It has been proven that states and local communities that take the best care of their natural world have the strongest economies, the best jobs, and enjoy the highest quality of life. Using the One Health approach helps ensure that land-management decisions look at the big picture over a long period of time and thus create long-term economic prosperity while maintaining healthy lands.
In 2012, the State Land Office generated a record $650 million for our 22 beneficiaries, including our public schools, universities and hospitals, which significantly reduced the tax burden on New Mexico’s families.
I am asking the State Legislature to approve $200,000, from money earned from State Trust Lands, to support our One Health initiative. These funds will help us inventory State Trust Lands and implement a decision-making system that facilitates science-based land-management decisions.
Here are three examples of how we are applying One Health.
- We are working with other state and federal agencies to remove invasive feral hogs from our state. Seventeen of New Mexico’s 33 counties and nearly one million acres of State Trust Land now have feral hogs, which were brought to the state illegally for hunting purposes. These animals can carry 27 infectious diseases that can be passed to native wildlife, domestic animals and people. In addition, they cause severe habitat destruction and eat native ground-dwelling wildlife.
- I have signed a conservation agreement with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Lesser Prairie-Chicken and the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard on 250,000 acres of State Trust Lands, while allowing appropriate commercial uses of this Trust Land.
- The State Land Office’s Restoration of the Río Grande Bosque has enhanced the natural world while improving local water quality and availability. Non-native invasive species were removed and replaced with native species that provide food and shelter for wildlife. The land was also re-contoured to facilitate natural flooding and forest thinning and brush clearing to reduce fire threats to homes and the Bosque ecosystem.
The bottom line is: When we take care of our lands, our lands take care of us.