The Rio Grande Gorge is a Critical Migratory Path
For nearly two decades the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has worked to resolve conflicts between livestock and wildlife throughout the West. Through a collaborative, market-based approach, NWF directly partners with livestock ranchers by providing compensation to retire grazing areas that experience chronic conflicts with bighorn sheep, bison, elk, trout and carnivores such as wolves and bears.
As we look to the future, we are excited to announce a five-year, $3 million campaign to expand this successful model to the Southern Rockies. Whether you’ve backpacked in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado or rafted the Rio Grande in Northern New Mexico, you’ve witnessed the spectacular beauty of our public lands and perhaps even seen wild bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer or fished for native trout. These species and many others depend on intact wildlife habitat that is often impacted by overgrazing, habitat degradation and disease spread from domestic livestock.
To date, through our member-driven Adopt a Wildlife Acre program (nwf.org/wcr) we have protected more than 1.5 million acres of wildlife habitat in New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah.
In the Northern Rockies Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Adopt a Wildlife Acre has yielded significant wins for wildlife, including expanded acreage for migrating bison, a greater tolerance for grizzlies and wolves outside of park boundaries and even reduced risk of disease transfer between domestic and bighorn sheep.
In addition to launching this campaign, we’re excited to announce our most recent success, protecting bighorn sheep across 9,000 acres of the Upper Rio Grande in Northern New Mexico. At a cost of $75,000, NWF has protected the future of bighorn sheep in the Rio Grande Gorge (see attached fact sheet for more information). With the help of our members and supporters, we look forward to continuing this work and fighting for wildlife in New Mexico.
If you would like to learn more about our unique market-based strategy we use to reduce conflicts between livestock and wildlife and ways to support our work in New Mexico and across the West, please contact either of us – we’d love to hear from you.
Retiring the Santos Allotment Protects Wild Sheep