CEHMM is dedicated to improving wildlife and fisheries habitat with holistic management approaches that not only benefit species of concern but also provide environmental enhancements that are beneficial to all organisms in those habitats.
The candidate conservation project has developed and implemented the solutions for issues related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and its potential effect on land's environmental uses. Stakeholders from commercial, regulatory, and special interest organizations have met to develop a southeast New Mexico regional conservation plan concerning listed wildlife, namely the lesser prairie chicken, the dunes sagebrush lizard, and the Texas Hornshell Mussels.
CEHMM has been identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the permit holder for Candidate Conservation Agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances. These agreements have fostered cooperative partnerships that meet or exceed the land stewardship goals of private landowners in cooperation and collaboration with state and federal agencies aspiring to set a universal standard for the goal of conserving diminishing species and habitats.
Lesser Prairie Chicken
& Dunes Sagebrush Lizard
On May 26th, 2021, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposed rule to list the Lesser Prairie-Chicken under the Endangered Species Act. The US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the Southern Distinct Population Segment as endangered. The Lesser Prairie-Chicken is a prairie grouse species native to the southern Great Plains. Historically, Lesser Prairie-Chickens ranged across eastern New Mexico, with Milnesand, New Mexico, as the center of the state’s population. Due to prolonged drought, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation, unfortunately, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken and its habitat have declined throughout its range. Each spring, male and female LPCs congregate at breeding grounds, called leks, where males engage in a unique, communal breeding display (a mating dance) to attract females.
Texas Hornshell Mussel
The Hornshell is a bivalve mollusk native to the Pecos River and Rio Grande drainages in New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. The shell is elongate and subtrapazoidael – meaning four distinct sides with two parallel sides with the length greater than the width. The external color varies from dark brown to olive green. Internal soft anatomy consists of a large visceral mass, two pairs of gills used for respiration and glochidial incubation, incurrent and excurrent siphons for water exchange, and a muscular foot for movement. Why is the Hornshell important? Like all freshwater mollusks, they are indicators of water quality and the overall health of the river system. Mussels, such as the Hornshell, also improve water quality by filtering out bacteria, algae, and other pollutants. Thus, the Hornshell plays a critical role in terms of health of the Black River that we all know and love for its recreational purposes.