Thursday, September 3, 2015

Where Are We with the Petition to Preserve Land?

What's going on with the efforts to preserve land on both sides of the Franklin Mountains? A petition sponsored by Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coaltion, elpasonaturally and others drew more than 6,000 signatures. I personally presented the results to City Council and to the Public Service Board. Since then members of FMWC have spoken with City Council members and other local officials. 

A very significant step in determining what can (and cannot) be preserved was taken this morning. Twelve people gathered at the El Paso Water Utilities to begin discussing a "preservation plan". PSB/EPWU Attorney Lupe Cuellar chaired the meeting. Besides myself, there were representatives from city planning and parks departments, the building and development community, a conservation educator, a wildlife expert, a licensed architect experienced in urban planning, two representatives from the city's resiliency and sustainability office, a land conservation expert along with two attorneys (including Ms. Cuellar) from EPWU.

As the land in question is managed by the PSB, it is appropriate that the conversation begin there and a preservation plan originate there.  The group will work with two foundational principles in mind: there is land that can and should be preserved and there is land that can and should be developed. 

There was some initial discussion about criteria for preserving the land such as ecosystem services. The conservation educator, the wildlife expert and the land conservation expert mentioned ways to quantify those services. The architect hit a homerun when she said that we identify ecologies that we should preserve. 

The group will continue to meet monthly.

I'm excited. Stay tuned. - Jim Tolbert

P.S. You can still sign the petition online.

Please visit for information about 2015 Celebration of Our Mountains events.


  1. Marshall Carter-TrippSeptember 4, 2015 at 8:40 AM

    This is great news Jim - was it the PSB responding to the petition? Super to have Lupe, who is more than familiar with open space and preservation from working with OSAB, helping with this! Onward!

  2. Fantastic! I don't know how I over looked this entry. Any updates?