State Land Commissioner Ray Powell has signed an agreement with New Mexico State University to share critical information about the species of plants and animals on state trust land as well as any changes in habitat – specifically in the Nutt Grasslands where the state’s largest solar array at Macho Springs is currently under construction.
The project, funded with $100,000 from First Solar, Inc., is led by Dr. Martha Desmond, a wildlife ecologist at NMSU.
Reportedly, Desmond and other NMSU faculty and students will collect data on the changes in grassland species for three years after construction of the First Solar facility.
Powell said the resulting information will help his office provide sustainable revenue for the state through determining best land management practices.
Powell said the partnership between the State Land Office, First Solar, Inc., and NMSU is an important first in public-private joint ventures on behalf of sound land management practices and sustainable economic development.
The collaborative effort is said to be part of Powell’s One Health Initiative to foster sound, long-term management decisions based on current data.