Will Wildlife Refuge Benefit Heavily Polluted Albuquerque Neighborhood?

"An urban wildlife refuge is meant to alleviate generations of environmental racism that has beset the historic neighborhood of Mountain View. That’s assuming it can meet the community’s needs"

"Albuquerque’s South Valley was once a thriving oasis of food production watered by a network of historic irrigation canals, or acequias. Today, it’s home to several historic neighborhoods along the Rio Grande, including Mountain View.

After much of the area was rezoned in the 1960s, the residents, who are mainly Chicanos as well as recent immigrants, came under siege by the structural forces of environmental racism that dictate who lives near polluters and who doesn’t. Mountain View was soon enveloped by industry – auto recyclers, Albuquerque’s sewage plant, paint facilities and fertilizer suppliers – that left a legacy of contaminated groundwater, two Superfund sites and high levels of air pollution.

Now, six decades later, Mountain View is facing yet another transformation. In 2012, the community became the first in the agency’s south-west region to have a piece of land within it – 570 acres – designated as an “urban wildlife refuge” managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The program started 11 years ago as a way to connect with new and more diverse segments of the population, by meeting people where they live – including the 82% of Americans who reside in cities. Known as the Valle de Oro national wildlife refuge, it sits on land that once was a dairy farm. After years of planning, the refuge’s visitor center will officially open this fall."

Jessica Kutz reports for the Guardian April 14, 2021.

Source: Guardian, 04/15/2021