Albuquerque Journal: State should emulate forest protection fund

Drought and wildfires are undoubtedly among the biggest threats to New Mexico’s forests and water resources, but another culprit is rearing its head: funding for forest and watershed restoration.

The demand is there. Business leaders, homeowners, lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats, conservationists and environmentalists – virtually everyone wants to protect our magnificent forests, bucolic lakes and rivers, and clean public drinking water. These are core interests that are vital to public health, tourism, jobs, fish and wildlife and the diverse landscapes that make New Mexico a great place to live and a popular destination for tourists.

That’s why almost three years ago, New Mexico’s Legislature expanded the Forest Land Protection Revolving Fund as the first step in creating a dedicated source of revenue to pay for forest and watershed management projects – the kind of restoration projects that would help make New Mexico’s forests healthier and less prone to mega-wildfires.

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