The following is a release from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish:


The New Mexico State Game Commission recently purchased more than 1,000 acres of riparian habitat along the Mimbres River in southwestern New Mexico.  The $585,000 purchase will allow the Department of Game and Fish to manage the property and its diverse wildlife habitat.

“The River Ranch is an opportunity for the department to conserve valuable habitat for many wildlife species,” Department Director Alexa Sandoval said.  Approximately half the purchase price came from the department’s Share With Wildlife tax-refund check-off donations, money targeted for nongame wildlife conservation.

Part riparian area and part Chihuahuan desert grasslands, the River Ranch and adjoining 2,920 acres of state and federal leased lands supports a high diversity of native plants and wildlife.  The last free-flowing stretch of the Mimbres River cuts through the property, supporting large sands of broadleaf cottonwood, Arizona Walnut and other large-diameter trees, including the New Mexicos’ State Champion velvet ash tree.  Deer, black bears, Arizona gray squirrels, cougars, Merriam’s turkeys, Gambel’s quail, and two species of bats also call the River Ranch home.

The State Game Commission made the purchase of the River Ranch possible through a conservation easement by the ranch owners, Gene and Elizabeth Simon.  The Simons wanted to protect the ranch from development, preferring for it to be managed for conservation and education.