New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. Courtesy/fws.gov
SANTA FE – The Santa Fe National Forest today issued a closure order for four areas on the Jemez Ranger District that have been identified as occupied habitat for the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse.
The closure areas are located along the Rio Cebolla and San Antonio Creek in the Jemez Mountains. In October 2014, the Forest constructed temporary fences in marshy areas along the Rio Cebolla and San Antonio Creek to protect the mouse’s habitat. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) listed the mouse as an endangered species in June 2014, and these protections are needed until the Forest Service concludes consultation with the FWS.
The closure order will be in effect until rescinded. All activities are prohibited within the closure area. However, State Highway 126, Forest Road (FR) 376, the environmental kiosk and adjacent parking area on FR 376 where the Rio Cebolla crosses the road, and FR 132 are excluded from the closure and will remain open.
In addition to the fencing around the habitat, signs are posted in the closure area. Forest Service personnel will enforce the closure. Violations are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, imprisonment of not more than six months, or both.
Copies of the closure order and maps are available at the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) Headquarters, the SFNF website and the Jemez District Office.