Because New Mexico does not have a dedicated funding stream for land and water conservation, it often has trouble raising federal matching dollars for programs that could better protect communities from wildfire, flood and drought, safeguard our water supplies, support rural and agricultural communities, and grow our outdoor recreation economy.
The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund would invest in existing land and water stewardship programs, giving legislators a historic opportunity to deliver for New Mexico communities. It would also preserve our cultural heritage and outdoor traditions, leaving a legacy for our children to hunt, fish, farm, and enjoy the lands and waters the way our ancestors have for generations.
The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund would create the state’s first-ever dedicated source of recurring funding for conservation, prioritizing land and water stewardship, forest and watershed health, outdoor recreation and infrastructure, agriculture and working lands, historic preservation, and wildlife species protection. This proposal is a bipartisan product of five years’ negotiations among a broad coalition of non-governmental organizations, legislators and state agencies.
HOW THE FUND
An initial investment would make annual disbursements to existing state programs utilizing existing statutes, boards, and rulemaking. A second permanent trust fund would be established and managed by the State Investment Council, similar to the Early Childhood Education and Care Fund. Interest earned would be disbursed annually to state programs that have a proven track record of success, are popular in communities, or have rarely been funded to their full potential.
Local entities - including acequias, tribes, and Soil & Water Conservation Districts - are primed to apply for projects they know work for them. If adequately funded, this investment could deliver resources to all 33 counties and tribal communities.
At least $350 million is necessary to ensure the Fund can meet the needs of our communities and produce enough annual returns to be self-sustaining. This would provide more than $20 million annually to state agencies without creating new programs, which could leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and private support over time.