On January 15, the United States Senate passed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (S.22) by a vote of 73-21. The public lands package includes legislation championed by United States Senator Ken Salazar that will amend the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act of 2000 to assist in the administration of the Baca National Wildlife Refuge in the San Luis Valley. Specifically, the Baca National Wildlife Refuge Management Act defines the purpose of the Refuge as one, “to restore, enhance, and maintain wetland, upland, riparian, and other habitats for native wildlife, plant, and fish species in the San Luis Valley.”
“The lands in the Baca National Wildlife Refuge are a special part of the San Luis Valley,” said Senator Salazar. “The bill we passed today will help preserve and enhance the natural beauty of these lands by providing a working framework for managing the refuge. Having fought for this important legislation for years, I am pleased that we are one step closer to getting it across the finish line and signed into law.”
Senator Salazar was an original co-sponsor of the Baca National Wildlife Refuge Management Act in the last Congress. Though the bill received unanimous support from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year and had strong support from local communities, it ultimately did not receive consideration on the Senate floor. S. 22 will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.