CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — Cannon Air Force Base has partnered with The Conservation Fund for the protection of nearly 48 square miles of land adjacent to the Melrose Air Force Range.
The conservation easement was announced Monday. It's funded through the U.S. Defense Department's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program and New Mexico's economic development agency.
Officials say the agreement represents the largest single transaction in the history of the Defense Department's environmental protection program.
In recent years, Air Force officials have become concerned about the potential for encroaching development around the eastern New Mexico range.
The conservation easement was three years in the making. It will limit development, encroachment and changes to the landscape that could negatively affect flight paths, training operations or habitat for the lesser prairie-chicken.