The deadline to respond to the draft SWCA Environmental Monitoring Plan and Baseline Monitoring Report has past but Dr. Matt Schmader, Head of the Open Space Division, still wants to hear your thoughts about the City's plans for the Bosque and we strongly encourage you share them with him. It is only with your continued involvement that we will maintain pressure on the Mayor to keep our Bosque a unique and sustainable treasure.
Comments should be sent to:
Dr. Matt Schmader
Open Space Division
PO BOX 1293
Albuquerque, NM 87103
You can also use the online form we've provided (below) for your response.
If your comments are specific to the report, we have provided a general overview of our concerns that you can use as a reference to assist you in your letter writing. It is always more impactful to put your feedback into your own words so we recommend you read the report thoroughly and use the content below merely as a guideline for your comments.
My Concerns about the Report:
- The report only monitors birds, vegetation, and soils. It does not monitor mammals, reptiles, or amphibians. I am concerned that limited monitoring undertaken by the report will not be adequate to capture adverse affects if they occur. The bird monitoring is not sufficiently robust in terms of frequency, area surveyed, and methodology to accurately capture the state of bird populations.
- Report concludes that "Given the already environmentally disturbed condition of the MRG bosque, the proposed project is not anticipated to have a significant negative environmental impact on the area” but this conclusion appears to be unsupported by any scientific data or analysis in the report. The conclusion appears to be subjective rather than scientific.
- There is no project yet, so it is not possible to evaluate the environmental effects of the project. The report does suggest a standard for development…insignificant negative environmental impact…that seems unwise from either an environmental or developmental perspective. Raising the standard to "promoting the health of the Bosque," rather than merely minimizing negative impact, seems the wiser standard for both improving the health of the region while also maintaining and increasing the Bosque’s appeal to locals, tourists, etc.
My Feedback and Recommendations:
I applaud the City for gathering baseline data so that if there are adverse affects from the project, they may be reflected in the data collected in future surveys, and that the City can adaptively manage the Bosque to mitigate any adverse impacts if they occur.
I urge the City to commit to fund surveys beyond the year 2015, so that impacts can be assessed and adaptive management occur. The SWCA report should indicate that one of the purposes of the report is to provide data for future adaptive management of the Bosque.
I expect the City to process the feedback of the community and the independent wildlife experts who have expressed concerns about the inadequate monitoring and questionable conclusions, and adapt its plans accordingly.
I expect further reports to remain purely scientific, without commentary regarding potential development.
If a standard will be applied regarding development, based on this and other reports, I recommend that the City raise its criteria from “insignificant environmental impact” to “promoting the health of the ecosystem” as that is the only prudent approach for the welfare of the wildlife as well as the community and economy.
You can use the form below to submit your comments directly to Dr. Schmader: