New Mexico

(information last updated January 2019)

Ongoing Projects:

Federal Project(s) Operating in the State:

In April 2018, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) held its first annual Bio Blitz citizen science event at the Dripping Springs Natural Area, part of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. See BLM Outdoor Events for April, U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019). “With the help of 114 citizen scientists, the BLM recorded over 130 species of plants, lizards, moths, butterflies, bats, birds and small mammals.” Daniella Barraza, BioBlitz Joins BLM, Citizen Scientists in New Mexico Desert, The Wildlife Soc’y (June 18, 2018),


The Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program engages elementary and high school students in collecting data on the state of the Bosque Ecosystem, along the Rio Grande River. See History of BEMP, Bosque Envtl.Monitoring Program, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019). The Program currently has 31 sites spread over 270 miles which collect over 1 million data points per year. See id. The program receives funding from both federal and state environmental agencies like EPA and the New Mexico State Parks Division. See Funding Support, Envtl.Monitoring Program, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Collection of Information: 

Research Permit:

“Academic research activities, including plant and animal collecting, are allowed in a park if the person or entity has obtained a research permit through the division’s resource program.” N.M. Admin. Code; see also

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 17-3-29; N.M. Admin. Code 19.35.6; Scientific and Educational Use of WildlifeSpecial Use Permits and Information, N.M. Dep’t of Game & Fish, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  “A. Criminal trespass consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon posted private property without possessing written permission from the owner or person in control of the land. The provisions of this subsection do not apply if:

(1) the owner or person in control of the land has entered into an agreement with the department of game and fish granting access to the land to the general public for the purpose of taking any game animals, birds or fish by hunting or fishing; or

(2) a person is in possession of a landowner license given to him by the owner or person in control of the land that grants access to that particular private land for the purpose of taking any game animals, birds or fish by hunting or fishing.


B. Criminal trespass also consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon the unposted lands of another knowing that such consent to enter or remain is denied or withdrawn by the owner or occupant thereof. Notice of no consent to enter shall be deemed sufficient notice to the public and evidence to the courts, by the posting of the property at all vehicular access entry ways.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-14-1 (emphasis added); see also id. § 30-14-1.1.

Drone Laws:

Federal Regulation of National Security Interest in State:

The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) has prohibited the flying of drones within 400 feet of Los Alamos National Laboratory, pursuant to its authority to support national security and defense under 14 C.F.R. § 99.7. See National Security UAS Flight Restrictions, Fed. Aviation Admin., (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Harassment of Wildlife:

“It is unlawful, at any time, to pursue, harass, harry, drive or rally any protected species by any means [including the use of drones] except as allowed while legally hunting….” N.M. Admin. Code; see also Be Aware of What’s Legal and What Isn’t, General Hunting Rules, N.M. Game & Fish, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Stalking Laws: 

Criminal Laws:

“Stalking consists of knowingly pursuing a pattern of conduct, without lawful authority, directed at a specific individual when the person intends that the pattern of conduct would place the individual in reasonable apprehension of death, bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint of the individual or another individual.”  N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-3A-3(A).

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, these provisions could be construed to allow the use of information collected by citizens.

Explicitly Allows:

Water Quality Enforcement Actions: 


“Whenever, on the basis of any information, a constituent agency determines that a person has violated or is violating a requirement, regulation or water quality standard . . . the constituent agency may” take enforcement action.  N.M. Stat. Ann. § 74-6-10(A) (emphasis added).

Air Pollution Enforcement Actions:


“When, on the basis of any information, the secretary or the director determines that a person has violated or is violating a requirement or prohibition of the Air Quality Control Act, a regulation promulgated pursuant to that act or a condition of a permit issued under that act, the secretary or the director may” bring an enforcement action. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 74-2-12(A) (emphasis added).

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “there is good ground to support” the claim.  N.M. R. Civ. P. 1-011(A). 

Authentication or Chain of Custody:


“To satisfy the requirement of authenticating or identifying an item of evidence, the proponent must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is.”  N.M. R. Evid. 11-901(A).

Expert Testimony:

New Mexico Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert standard (scientific validity).  See State v. Alberico, 861 P.2d 192, 202-04 (N.M. 1993). The Alberico-Daubert standard does not apply to non-scientific expert testimony. See State v. Torres, 976 P.2d 20, 34 (N.M. 1999) (“[A]pplication of the Daubert factors is unwarranted in cases where expert testimony is based solely upon experience or training.”) (quoting Compton v. Subaru of Am., Inc., 82 F.3d 1513, 1518 (10th Cir. 1996)).


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.