A recent meeting between the refuge management Kevin Cobble, Refuge Manager, and Aaron Mize, Refuge Associate Manager, and four photographers from the Albuquerque area revealed that numerous changes are underway at the refuge. The four of us, who represent a long history of photographing at BDA, were extremely pleased and impressed with the new attitude of cooperation and desire to communicate with photographers. The group of four include Doug Brown, Keith Bauer, David Powell and Sandy Corless.

At the meeting we were told that management anticipates having corn on the refuge this year. So far the only problems with the corn corps have been the elk that have destroyed one field. Efforts are being made to protect the other fields. In the field that the corn was destroyed they anticipate that the farmers will be able to replace the crop with another that should be suitable food for the cranes. The corn will be in fields along the Farm tour loop and should be accessible for viewing. Other viewing improvements have been made to allow for more viewing from along the road leading to the farm fields. The 2 ponds on Highway One will be filled as in the past. Management is currently looking for alternatives to the railroad pond to provide viewing from the west. When we meet with management again later this month at the refuge the group of photographers will be touring the refuge and looking at possible new locations to replace the railroad pond. During that tour we will also be suggesting locations for snags so that they will be placed in locations appropriate for photographer.

Management shared with use some future plans of expanding the number of viewing areas in other locations at the refuge. Of course this will all be dependent upon budget restraints which right now and for the immediate future are extreme.

We need to all remember that all of our wildlife areas that are supported by tax dollars are struggling financially due to serious budget cut backs. Many of us enter these locations using a pass that we have purchased for very little. We all need to remember to open our wallets and help out as we can. The only way we will continue to see these refuges exist is by strong public private partnerships. Let’s all remember to give when we can.

Time to make travel plans to visit BDA this year. It is coming back!