New Mexico State Wildlife Action Plan

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) identifies the Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in New Mexico and their habitats, and offers a conservation plan for these species. Climate change is considered at a statewide, eco-region and habitat level, and is analyzed for its significant impacts to New Mexico's wildlife.

The plan addresses the eight required elements for SWAPs under the USFWS State Wildlife Grants Program, including proposed conservation actions to conserve the identified species and habitats. "Conservation Opportunity Areas" are discussed as a non-regulatory tool to help prioritize statewide actions, and identify the highest potential for conserving SGCN.    

The climate change chapter describes projected changes in New Mexico’s climate and associated effects on wildlife habitats. The report details the climate impacts and vulnerability of each of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems found in New Mexico including: Grasslands, Shrublands, Forests, Piñon-juniper Woodlands; Perennial cold and warm water streams; lakes, cirques, and ponds; perennial and ephemeral marshes, cienegas, springs, and seeps; cold and warm water reservoirs; and ephemeral Catchments (playas, pools, tinajas, kettles).   

The Species Vulnerability to Climate Change section outlines generally how climate change affects species in the southwest, and offers recommendations to manage New Mexico’s wildlife habitats for climate change vulnerability. For example, a few of the strategies as summarized are to:

  • Implement management actions that enhance populations of SGCN (e.g., improve water supply and quality, implement prescribed fire programs) and reduce existing pressures on SGCN from sources other than climate change (e.g., control exotic species, prevent habitat loss and fragmentation).
  • Use short-term strategies that enhance the ability of natural systems to resist the effects of climate change and maintain ecosystem services (e.g., control woody plant encroachment into grassland ecosystems).
  • Use longer-term strategies that enhance species and ecosystem resilience to climate-related stressors (e.g., conserve genetic diversity to enhance a species ability to adapt to changing conditions).


Congress charged each state and territory with developing a State Wildlife Action Plan in 2005, in order to receive funds through the State Wildlife Grants Program. To qualify, the state must identify the species of greatest conservation need, and outline strategic conservation actions for wildlife and habitats. An update to the plan is mandated every ten years, and a number of states have incorporated climate change impacts into the updated versions. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies prepared a report with guidance focused on integrating climate change adaptation planning into SWAPs in 2009 - Voluntary Guidance for States to Incorporate Climate Change into State Wildlife Action Plans and Other Management Plans.


Publication Date: November 22, 2016

Related Organizations:

  • New Mexico Department of Game and Fish


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Plans (other)

States Affected:


  • Air temperature
  • Drought
  • Invasive species and pests
  • Precipitation changes
  • Water supply
  • Water temperatures

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