Alibi V.25 No.52 • Dec 29-Jan 4, 2016 

Newscity

Study Looks to Reduce Oil Industry's Impact on Mule Deer

Researchers from Western Ecosystems Technology are conducting a study to examine the effects of oil and gas exploration in the Rosa Mesa area near Navajo Lake on deer mule populations. The seven-year, half-a-million dollar Rosa Mule Deer Study is being funded by WPX Energy. It will be conducted by the Farmington Bureau of Land Management office in partnership with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The study will use data collected from radio tracking collars worn by the mule deer to determine habitat selection patterns, migration routes and survival rates. The data will be compared to times when oil and gas industry activity was absent. The Rosa area was chosen for the study because mule deer come down from the mountains to spend the winter in fields there that overlap with a large oil and gas industry presence. The mule deer herd in the area migrate a great distance over the year, making data gathered from this study useful for mule deer management in places as far as Colorado, the tribal lands of the Southern Ute and Jicarilla. A spokesperson for the Farmington BLM office said that the study will help oil and gas companies reduce their impact on wildlife while drilling. The study will be completed by 2018. WPX Energy is looking to place 14 new well pads in the area, with 16 horizontal wells per pad.

Chaouki Abdallah
Chaouki Abdallah
UNM

UNM President Steps Down

University of New Mexico President Bob Frank will be officially stepping down from his position this week. The rest of his term will be filled by Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Chaouki Abdallah, who will serve as interim president. Frank came to an agreement with the UNM Board of Regents earlier this month which included a five-month paid sabbatical and the option to take a $190,000 tenured faculty position at the Health Sciences Center. A similar offer was given in September, but at the time the salary offered was reported to be $350,000. Since then, a board investigation conducted by an outside investigator was leaked to local news agencies that described Frank's managing tactics as inappropriate with the potential to “rise to the level of bullying.” Some of the staff members interviewed for the report said the president would sometimes yell or be condescending, but the investigator concluded that Frank's behavior did not constitute a hostile working environment under law. The regents initially met to discuss Frank's possible suspension or termination, but Frank threatened legal action and both parties agreed to the settlement instead. Frank told the Albuquerque Journal that he would still like to serve as a university president and is searching for new jobs.