In a letter to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, New Mexico’s congressional delegation reaffirmed their support for collaborative forest restoration in the Zuni Mountains. Restoration in the Zuni Mountains is the product of long collaboration between the Cibola National Forest, the Forest Guild, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute, and the Wood Industries Network.
The Zuni Mountains saw nearly 100 percent tree removal during the railroad logging period starting the 1890s. Today, they have become unnaturally dense and are threatened by catastrophic fire, similar to the Las Conchas Fire that burned 156,000 acres last year. The proposed restoration project will reduce wildfire risk and wildfire suppression costs, improve forest and watershed health, support rural economies, and leverage non-federal investments. The project would invest $7.6 million dollars over ten years to restore 56,000 acres of forest and generate 92 jobs—a great value when compared to the $41 million dollars spent on suppression of the Las Conchas fire.