New Mexico Conservation Programs

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Federal data is complete from 1998-2017. State and local data is complete from 1998-2020. In the tables and charts below, acres are allocated to each program proportionate to the size of the contributions to each acquisition. For example, if an acquisition had two contributions, and each program contributed equal dollar amounts, each program receives 50% of the acres. If you have questions or want to provide updated information, please contact Jessica Welch at

Profile of State Program(s)

New Mexico Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund: On March 23, 2023, Governor Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 9 to establish the state’s first-ever dedicated source of recurring funding for conservation efforts. The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund will consist of two $50 million funds, with one fund dedicated to existing state programs and the remaining $50 million going into a permanent trust fund managed by the State Investment Council. The funding will support existing and successful programs that prioritize land and water stewardship, forest and watershed health, outdoor recreation and infrastructure, agriculture and working lands, historic preservation, and wildlife species protection.

The legislation includes funding for forest and watershed management projects through the Forestry Division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, as well as funding for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to carry out programs and projects pursuant to the Soil and Water Conservation District Act, and funding for the Department of Environment to plan, design, and construct projects to improve surface water quality and river habitat statewide.

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish: The primary state agency that acquires land is the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The Department receives general fund appropriations from the state legislature and proceeds from nongame tax check offs on income tax forms. Previously, it also drew upon funds from a 1988 state bond to acquire and lease lands for wildlife management areas.

New Mexico State Parks: New Mexico State Parks acquires land through capital outlay requests and through donations.

New Mexico Natural Heritage Conservation Act: Made effective March 19, 2010, the Natural Heritage Conservation Act created a fund, with a one-time allocation of $4.8 million, which was administered by the Department of Energy, Mineral and Natural Resources. The stated purpose of the law is “to protect the state’s natural heritage, customs and culture by funding conservation and agricultural easements and by funding land restoration to protect the land and water available for forests and watersheds, natural areas, wildlife and wildlife habitat, agricultural production on working farms and ranches, outdoor recreation and trails and land and habitat restoration and management”. The funds have all been appropriated.

Substantial State Investment

The Natural Heritage Conservation Act began with a $5 million balance to fund conservation projects around the state and attract Federal matching funds. The 2023 Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund began with a $100 million investment.

Conservation Tax Credits

New Mexico Land Conservation Incentives Act: To complement the efforts of local governments and stimulate private land conservation, New Mexico approved an income tax credit in 2003 for the donation of conservation land and easements. The income tax credit is in an amount equal to 50 percent of the fair market value of land or interest in land that is conveyed for open space, natural resource or biodiversity conservation, agricultural preservation, or watershed or historic preservation to a public or private conservation agency. The amount of the credit may not exceed $250,000 and are transferable. Qualified donations include conveyances of fee interests and less-than-fee interest, such as conservation easements.

Local Financing Enabled

Local governments in New Mexico have played a role in advancing land conservation in the state through the passage of local ballot measures. These governments have a range of enabling authority that allows them to levy either a general obligation bond, a gross receipts tax (sales tax), or a dedicated property tax. Authority for counties to borrow money to acquire real estate for open space was granted by the passage of a constitutional amendment in 1996.

Local Programs Included

Local conservation programs include:

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Bernalillo County, NM
  • Santa Fe County, NM

Visit for detailed information on these programs.

Federal Partnerships

Federal agencies and programs that have conserved land in New Mexico include:

  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management – Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Section 6 Grant
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Forest Service – Forest Legacy Program (FLP)
  • U.S. National Park Service
  • U.S. National Park Service – LWCF Stateside
  • U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service – Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)
  • U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service – Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)
  • U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service – Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
Report Table
Dollar Chart by Year
Acre Chart by Year