Skip to content

Conservation and Stewardship

New Mexico 30 x 30 Initiative

In 2021, Gov. Lujan Grisham signed Executive Order 2021-052, Protecting New Mexico’s Lands, Watersheds, Wildlife, and Natural Heritage. The order begins by identifying the multiple values provided by conserved lands and waters: 

“New Mexicans rely on the State’s lands and watersheds to support our economy, sustain traditional ways of life, provide our drinking water, ensure food security, preserve biodiversity, and provide recreation opportunities that promote the health and wellbeing of all who call New Mexico home.”  

These values guide the work of the 30 by 30 Advisory Committee (“Committee”), comprised of seven state agencies, including ORD, and the State Land Office. Agencies are directed to individually review and utilize existing programs, funding, and authorities to reach the ambitious conservation targets of conserving at least 30 percent of all lands in New Mexico by 2030, with an additional 20 percent of lands designated as climate stabilization areas.

Learn more at the EMNRD website.

The first annual New Mexico 30×30 Report was informed by over 600 comments. These comments shaped the committee’s work to chart a new direction for conservation in the state.

The Committee developed a framework for accomplishing the 30×30 goals, conducted tribal government and public outreach activities, and drafted a common set of definitions for “Conserved Lands” and “Climate Stabilization Areas” that can be used to measure our progress. The report is a uniquely New Mexico approach to conservation strategies.

Read the 2023 New Mexico 30×30 Report.


Access to the outdoors should be low-cost and ubiquitous for all New Mexicans. That’s why lawmakers created the Outdoor Recreation Trails+ grant. This program supports projects that enhance communities’ outdoor recreation opportunities. Trails, river parks, wildlife viewing areas, and more contribute to economic development, prosperity, and wellness. The grant funds shovel-ready projects that directly add to that access. The ORD awarded six inaugural grants in fall 2020. In 2021, ORD awarded over $500,000 to 25 projects across the state. For 2022, Trails+ reopened with $7 million in funding. This program has now supported 100+ projects. The 2023 grant cycle is open with 10 million in funding! Learn more and apply today.


The ORD successfully led a petition to designate 125 miles of rivers in New Mexico as Outstanding National Resource Waters based on their “outstanding” recreational significance to the state. The waters include the Upper Rio Grande, the Rio Hondo, and the headwaters of the Jemez. The petition was approved by the State Water Quality Control Commission summer 2022. It will protect the water quality of these rivers in perpetuity for hunters, anglers, acequias, birders and everyone else living and recreating along their banks.