Tuesday News Roundup: Straw Mulch Dropped On Tres Lagunas Fire Area

Jul 30, 2013

Straw Mulch Dropped On Tres Lagunas Fire Area - Associated Press

A helicopter firm hired by the Forest Service is dropping large amounts of straw mulch in the area of the Tres Lagunas Fire north of Pecos to help with rehabilitation.

The Forest Service says the mulch will help hold moisture in place, which slows water flow and helps seeds sprout.

The drops began Monday and are expected to run through this week.

The operation involves approximately 10 tractor-trailer loads of straw daily.

Hearing Set In Sierra Vista On Jaguar Habitat - Associated Press

Federal wildlife officials will listen to comments from the public on a proposal to set aside more than 1,300 square miles in Arizona and New Mexico for the endangered jaguar.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is holding a meeting in Sierra Vista, Ariz., on Tuesday afternoon.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department wants the proposed critical habitat designation withdrawn. It says land in Arizona and New Mexico isn't essential to the rare cat's survival because nearly all its historic range is in central and South America. The agency also says setting aside habitat would likely result in the public being denies access to lands and fewer jaguar sightings.

The rare cat was placed on the federal endangered species list in 1997 and the habitat designation was proposed in August.

NM Providing Back-To-School Clothing Assistance - Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez's administration plans to distribute about $1 million in assistance to help children in low-income families and foster children prepare to return to school.

The Human Services Department will provide $50 for each eligible low-income child for back-to-school clothes. Federal money will cover the estimated $755,000 cost.

The aid will help about 15,100 children and will be distributed through electronic benefit cards to qualifying families.

The Children, Youth and Families Department will provide foster families $100 to buy back-to-school supplies and clothing for each foster child who is age three and older.

About 1,500 to 1,600 children could qualify for the assistance, which will cost up to about $160,000 and is financed with state money in the agency's budget.

NM Monsoons Strong, But Drought Lingers - Associated Press

Despite a steady stream of afternoon monsoons like the fierce storm that hit Albuquerque with hurricane-force gusts and pounding rains over the weekend, weather officials say New Mexico's drought is far from over.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Jones says the storms are making a little dent in places. But Albuquerque, for example, is still a year behind in rain for the past three years.

The good news, he says, is that the since the traditional July start of the monsoon season, much of the state has seen above normal activity. And that should continue.

And the state has seen some real doozies this year. Last month, a storm dumped more than a foot of hail on Santa Rosa.

Friday evening, one of the most dramatic storms to ever hit Albuquerque dropped more than two inches of rain in some parts of the city.