- Associated Press - Friday, August 8, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says the Southwest’s first urban national wildlife refuge is now complete.

Jewell stopped in Albuquerque on Friday to announce that federal, state and local partners have acquired the lands needed to complete the 570-acre Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge.

Jewell says the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund helped make the refuge possible along with resources pooled by the state, other federal and local agencies and private groups. The fund contributed nearly $6 million to the $18.5 million refuge.

Since 1964, New Mexico has received more than $230 million through the fund to create parks and playgrounds and protect places like the Petroglyph National Monument and the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River.

Jewell is pushing for Congress to permanently fund the conservation program.

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