Secretary Jewell Announces Completion of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge

“This new urban refuge is a wonderful example of how Land and Water Conservation Funds can be used to leverage strong community partnerships and serve as a foundation for on-the-ground conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country.”

Standing with members of the New Mexico congressional delegation, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that a diverse group of federal, state, and local partners and conservation groups supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund have made it possible to acquire the lands needed to complete the 570-acre Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, the Southwest’s first urban national wildlife refuge.

“The vision for Valle de Oro was one that could only be fulfilled by people working together, pooling resources, and sharing ideas,” Jewell said. “This new urban refuge is a wonderful example of how Land and Water Conservation Funds can be used to leverage strong community partnerships and serve as a foundation for on-the-ground conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country.”

IWJV partner, Alan Hamilton, was presented with a Partner’s Thank You plaque on behalf of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation.  It is through the New Mexico Wildlife Federation that the Rio Grande Corridor New Mexico North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant is being developed and administered. 

“Now that the acquisition for land and the water rights for this property has been completed, we can turn our attention to implementing the plans to develop this first urban wildlife refuge in the Southwest,” Hamilton said.  “We will soon be writing a NAWCA III grant to begin restoring and enhancing the wetlands in this last large undeveloped land in historic floodplain of the Rio Grande in Bernalillo County.”



Pictured from left to right: Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham, Senator Tom Udall, Secretary Sally Jewell, Senator Martin Heinrich, Alan Hamilton, Cynthia Martinez, Deputy Chief of Refuges, Jennifer Owen-White, Valle de Oro NWR Manager, and Dr Benjamin Tuggle, USFWS Southwest Regional Director.