Written by: Ashlee Mortimer, ACGA Communications Director and Megan Kelly, Greenlee county secretary/tresueror and rancher.
Ashlee: What an adventure it was getting to the Blue. For those of you who have not been, the Blue is located very close to the New Mexico border about 6 hours from ACGA's Mesa office. Many miles of this drive phone service is nonexistent. The lack of phone rings coupled with the beautiful scenery and the smoothest 12 mile dirt roads made for a great drive!!
My boyfriend, Bryce and I decided to drive his 1998 dodge on this long and beautiful drive. The dodge that just about has brand-new tires. Two miles from the Blue (on the smoothest 12 mile dirt road with no phone service) the front driver's side tire went flat - real quick. No bid deal, right? That's what we thought until we remembered the spare was stuck under the flat bed with no way to get it down. Good news - Bryce's generator welder came to the rescue! We were able to torch the tire down, change it, and get back on the road to the Blue (easier said them done, of course).
When we arrived Jay Whetten (Imm. Past President), John Ladd (2nd VP), Richard Searle (Treasurer), Robbie Sproul (Member-at-Large), Anne Marie Moore (Membership Chair), and Greenlee county ranchers welcomed us!
Megan: Kent Ellett spoke regarding the Stateline NEPA project; which includes 14 allotments. They have 45 days from July 1 to respond to 6 objections regarding the Stateline NEPA. They will have a meeting in October with the objectors to discuss their findings. They are hoping to have a final decision in November.
Jeff Menges discussed the Wolf Economic Impact Study that the University of Arizona and New Mexico State University have been working on. NMSU has some new staff so they have not completed the study but are hoping to have it done by the 1st of the year. U of A's results are in and they've received very good data and NMSU is expected to have even better data. Once all results are in we've been promised a meeting with the Secretary of Interior and other secretaries to discuss the findings.
Becky Nutt talked about how water is now the top issue in Arizona. There is still a push to put meters on wells and she is doing all she can to fight that.
Kim McReynolds mentioned that they've had a range monitoring program with the BLM for 19 years and the BLM has decided not to renew the agreement. They are currently looking at doing a ranchers focus group. They presented many topics for discussion at the meeting including: livestock health, watershed health, water development, disease prevention/care, marketing, public land grazing, riparian management, plant toxicity, drought planning, and invasive plants.
Amy Humphrey discussed a program where they will take an overall look at how your watershed looks, find any issues with it, help do planning, arrange permits and then they will pay for designs.
Ashlee: After a great lunch and meeting the fun began as auction items were pulled out. Let me tell you, Doug Stacy, Greenlee County President and the Greenlee county members are a hoot. I could not stop laughing! Before I knew it all the auction items, that were covering my work bin, were auctioned off. For a moment my work bin (I foolishly set it down on the live suction table) was set to be auctioned. It's safe to say, no one wanted it as much as I did. The last item in the auction was a kachina doll. One of the most beautiful kachina dolls I have ever seen. After bidding myself I was outbid. The bidders/Greenlee county turned around and donated the Kachina to ACGA. It now sits in my office and is a constant reminder of the wonderful folks I have the privilege of working with! I thank all of Greenlee County members for the hospitality, information, and the kachina!
On the way home, 2 miles after we drove back into phone service and 30 minutes after all tire shops in town closed, the dodge's back passenger side tire exploded! Thankfully, Gaither's dad lived super close and happens to have the same truck as Bryce. WOW - are we lucky or what? We got home the next morning with 2 spare tires, a beautiful kachina, and a whole lot of good luck!