The New Mexico State Senate has approved a bill that could led to the construction of a series of underpasses allowing for the safe highway passage of wildlife.
Senate Bill 228, otherwise known as the Wildlife Corridors Act, would dedicate $500,000 to study how highway projects in the state could incorporate such underpasses into their planning.
The bill, as proposed by Senator Mimi Stewart, would direct the New Mexico Department of Transportation, as well as the Department of Game and Fish, to study what would be needed to build such underpasses.
According to a fiscal analysis of the legislation, Senate Bill 228 would ask the agencies in question to “identify and maintain seasonal dispersals, daily movements, and landscape scale migrations of wildlife through the state.”
The measure would also provide opportunities to “collaborate with Indian nations, tribes, and pueblos for cross tribal boundaries on wildlife corridors and habitat enhancement.”
An amendment to Stewart’s legislation would prohibit the use of eminent domain measures to secure private property for the underpasses.
The measure won passage in the Senate on a 24 to 18 vote and is now on its way to the House for consideration.
By Garry Boulard
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