“Outstanding service. They were extremely careful delivering the extra large container into our driveway.” -- A. L. GARNER
Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn and Zia Pueblo officials gathered Monday in the desert north of Rio Rancho to mark the fencing of an area where people have long dumped everything from stolen cars to refrigerators and where the ground is littered with shotgun shells and spent brass casings from impromptu target practice.The site offers a classic New Mexico vista framed by desert badlands and mountain ranges, but in the canyon below are the burned-out shells of cars and trucks with household trash strewn about."We're just trying to start to clean up," Dunn said of the site just a few miles (kilometers) north of Rio Rancho. "It's a huge problem, not just here but all over New Mexico."Since 2015, the State Land Office has spent $2.7 million to remediate rangeland and forests, improve wildlife habitat and clean up dump sites around the state. In southeastern New Mexico, the agency has struggled to keep clay and gravel pits on state trust land from turning into garbage dumps.The battle is overwhelming, Dunn said, given that his agency has just over a dozen field workers and about 9 million acres (3.5 million hectares) to manage.State officials have said money spent to clean up messes could otherwise be used for public education. Lease pa... (Lexington Herald Leader)
The illegal dump site at the far northern end of Rainbow Boulevard, just north of Rio Rancho, sits on a parcel of state trust land that borders the Zia Pueblo.AdvertisementContinue readingOn Monday, state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn and Zia Pueblo Lt. Governor Jerome Lucero announced an initiative to install six miles of fencing to limit trespassing and access to the 3,526-acre site. Running mostly in an east-west direction, the barbed-wire fence will be about 5 feet tall and have wood and steel vertical supports, Lucero said.Under a joint agreement, the Land Office is paying the $21,000 cost of the fencing material, while the pueblo will provide a labor force of seven workers at an estimated cost of $45,000 to install the fence and remove much of the trash. A memorandum of understanding will give pueblo law enforcement the jurisdiction to monitor and police the area.The site has apparently been used for years as an illegal dump and shooting range, Dunn said. The recent decision to clean and control the area was triggered by citizen complaints and a request from Zia Pueblo offering to clean the property, he said.“Illegal dumping poses a health and safety risk to nearby communities and has a direct impact on the revenue we are able to pass on to schools,” said Dunn. “The money spent cleaning up other people’s messes is money we can’t distribute to the school kids.”The Land Office, which manages 9 million acres, is expected to generate about $550 million this year, Dunn explained. Of that, $100 million goes into the Land Office’s operating budget, and $450 million goes into the state’s permanent fund. Public schools get 84 percent of that $450 million allocation.Since 2015, when Dunn was el...