Last month, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham set a goal of protecting 30 percent of New Mexico’s land by 2030 for the benefit of our watersheds, wildlife and natural heritage. With sufficient resources behind it, this executive action will establish New Mexico as a conservation leader, resulting in tangible benefits to our working lands, communities, and economy.

Improvements to our water resources will be among the most important outcomes of the governor’s order. All of us — municipalities, acequias, farmers, wildlife advocates, and recreationists — benefit when we protect and restore our watersheds. Appropriately, the governor’s order mentions water 24 times, highlighting its critical importance to our arid and drought-ridden state.

The governor’s order emphasizes that conservation is not only measured in ecological terms but by its capacity to benefit people and communities. New Mexico’s water resources comprise the backbone of our economy and rich cultural traditions and serve as the foundation of agricultural systems, providing food security and clean drinking water. The governor’s action recognizes that without major investments in conserving New Mexico’s watersheds, our economy, communities and traditions are at risk.

Rachel Conn is the deputy director for Amigos Bravos, and Dan Roper is the angler conservation coordinator for Trout Unlimited.

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