US Forest Service closes Mauldin Spring riparian area in Lincoln National Forest to protect occupied habitat of endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse; special closure order carrying fines of up to US$10,000, imprisonment, effective until Nov. 3

ALAMOGORDO, New Mexico , July 16, 2014 (press release) – A special closure order (2014-08-267) is in place, effective July 15, 2014 and shall remain in effect until November 30, 2014, for the Wills Canyon (Mauldin Spring) riparian area within the Lincoln National Forest, Sacramento Ranger District. The specified area encompasses occupied habitat for the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse (NMMJM), which has been listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This order is necessary to prevent and/or reduce risk to the endangered species’ occupied habitat. Protection of the habitat is required in accordance with the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Forest Service is obligated to uphold the Endangered Species Act and the purpose of this order will allow for compliance with all law, regulation, and policy the U.S. Forest Service is held responsible for upholding.

The special closure prohibits going into or being upon the areas of ‘occupied habitat’, described as the Mauldin Spring riparian area, including both the existing barbed-wire fenced areas and the temporary electric fenced areas, along Wills Canyon in Sections 29 and 30, Township 17 South, Range 12 East (please see map included in this news release). Public use of the existing trails system in the area will continue outside the area that is closed under the special closure order (2014-08-267).

Livestock watering lanes are provided in order to allow permitted livestock to access water. These watering lanes are considered to be outside of the restricted area (reference the map included in this news release).

The order specifically identifies exemptions, which include:

  • U.S. Forest Service employees or agents working on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service who have been authorized by the U.S. Forest Service to enter the restricted area.
  • Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force engaged in the performance of an official duty.
Any violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000.00 for individuals and $10,000.00 for organizations, and/or imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, or both.

THE MAP is included in the official order 2014-08-267, which can be found in "Alerts and Notices" of this website.

For general information about the Lincoln National Forest, call 575-434-7200, Monday through Friday (closed on Federal holidays unless stated otherwise), Supervisor’s Office hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and District Offices are open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

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