Only the President of the United States has the authority to use the Antiquities Act to designate a new national monument, and this Earth Day, I join a rising chorus of New Mexicans by asking President Barack Obama to designate the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument.
The mountain ranges in the proposed monument include some of the most important wild game habitat in New Mexico. Mule deer, mountain lion, dove, quail, and many other species call the Sierra de las Uvas home. The Potrillo Mountains are especially significant with their ecological links to northern Mexico, and the Organ Mountains provide critical water resources to local wildlife. As proposed, the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument proclamation would make access by sportsmen a central part of the area’s management and protection in perpetuity. That would ensure that when my sons are my age, they will be able to enjoy hunting for mule deer in the Las Uvas, or quail in the Robledos.
Because of their proximity to the fast-growing Las Cruces metro area, these places are threatened by increased development pressures, invasive species, and off-road vehicle abuse. By designating these areas as a new national monument, we can make sure that they are protected for us and future generations of Americans to enjoy.
Rep. Heinrich (D-N.M.) is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.