New Mexico BHA: Fence Removal on the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument

The Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument was established in 2013 and comprises 242,500 acres with an additional 3,700 acres recently added.  It lies in northern New Mexico and is bisected by the Rio Grande Gorge.  The area is fragmented by miles of fencing demarcating grazing allotments.  Many of these fences bisect important migration routes between mountain ranges.  This area has resident pronghorn, elk and deer but is also a very important wintering ground.

                                                         

On June 1, 2024, Habitat Stewardship Coordinator, Bard Edrington V led an event with 12 BHA volunteers and 4 BLM staff and interns.  On Friday afternoon volunteers arrived at camp at the base of the free-standing volcanic peak, San Antonio Mountain.  Saturday morning everyone was up early and eager for the work to begin.  After meeting with Carl Thomson, the Rangeland Management Specialist from the BLM Taos office, they discussed the importance of the work and headed out the dusty bumpy road to the site.  

       

They divided into two groups and began removing the first mile of 4 strand barbed wire fencing.  Volunteers did an amazing job of dividing tasks and performing the work efficiently.  Fence stays were cut, clips removed, barbed wire laid in the road and t-posts pulled.  Bard used his mini skid steer with a wire winder to wind up the four strands quickly.  All the wire rolls and t-posts were loaded into the BLM trailer and eventually were recycled.  A separate group headed to another location to begin removing 1/2 mile of barbed wire fencing.  In total both groups were able to remove about 1.5 miles of fencing.  

 

 

After the long day of stewardship work, they headed back to camp to enjoy cold beer donated by Santa Fe Brewing Company.  After the beer was liberated from their can’s food began heating up and elk burgers hit the grill.  After dinner the group was treated to an intimate performance around the fire by Bard and The Blackbirds.  Karina Wilson, Jim Palmer and Sarah Ferrell made the trek up from Santa Fe and Albuquerque to play for the volunteers.  The band performed a variety of Bard's original songs.  Many of which were written about hunting experiences not far from their camp. It was a nice way to end a long day of work.  

 

  

Sunday was slated to be a wildlife tracking workshop led by Utah BHA member Casey McFarland, but Casey had a medical emergency that kept him from attending.  Instead, Bard led a group of 6 volunteers to a mountain lion kill site where they had the opportunity to examine the site and follow lion tracks.  They observed sign from northern flickers, turkey, deer, elk, bear, lion and even sapsucker sign on aspen trees. 

The event was a success with 1.5 miles of fencing removed and volunteers looked forward to future stewardship events on the National Monument.

 

 

About Bard Edrington

Bard Edrington is the New Mexico Habitat Stewardship Coordinator. He is a lifelong bowhunter, conservationist and songwriter. Bard lives with his wife and teenage son in Santa Fe.

See other posts related to stewardship blog New Mexico news