Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
New Mexico Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Participates in Wetlands Roundtable Meeting, February 2007
Southwest Region, February 7, 2007
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Staff from the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, participated in the New Mexico Environment Department's second planning meeting concerning New Mexico wetlands on February 7, 2007.  The protection of wetlands and riparian areas has emerged as an important environmental planning issue. In the United States, several federal and state laws have been enacted to protect wetlands and riparian areas. Specifically, the Clean Water Act includes protection requirements in Sections 301 and 303 for state water quality standards, Section 401 for state certification of Federal actions (projects, permits, and licenses), and Section 404 for dredge and fill permits. The Section 401 water quality state certification element has been called the "sleeping giant" of wetlands protection because it empowers State officials to veto or condition federally-permitted or -licensed activities that do not comply with State water quality standards.

The Wetlands Roundtable tasks are to (1) prioritize wetlands within the State, identifying the most endangered and in need of protection (both geographically and ecologically); (2) explore ways to make the current regulations more effective and possibly add to the State-based protection laws; (3) to establish a monitoring program for wetlands; and (4) to continue and improve wetlands restoration and mitigation. 

Participants include the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Bureau of Reclamation, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Bureau of Land Management, US Environmental Protection Agency, NM Department of Transportation, NM State Land Office, NM Department of Game and Fish, and the NM Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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