CEHMM - History & Overview

History & Overview

Organizations are born from ideas and people make these ideas a reality.  Community leaders of Carlsbad, NM had the idea for CEHMM.  The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is a community success story that offers a solution for transuranic waste disposal.  CEHMM was to build on this legacy of significant hazardous materials management expertise and expand scientific research into new areas that would benefit the public and environment.

The CEHMM was incorporated May 7, 2004 as a State of New Mexico non-profit corporation. CEHMM was established as a not-for-profit scientific research organization and applied for and received a U.S. Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) tax exemption as a public charity.

Since its inception, CEHMM has identified and pursued applied research projects that have nation-wide impact and are innovative, meaningful, and practical. CEHMM has created a wide range of cutting edge programs, including developing technology for using algae as a feedstock for biofuels and co-products, biomonitoring for the avian influenza and West Nile viruses, and cooperative conservation of species listed as warranted but precluded on the federal endangered species list. The purpose of the CEHMM projects is to work toward practical solutions to issues that affect both human health and the environment. The projects serve the community, the region, and the state through educational outreach, job creation, and research leading to resolution of important technical and environmental challenges.

Algal Biomass Project: The algal biomass project is a research and development project investigating production processes and the propagation, harvesting, and extraction of oil from both brine and fresh water algae. The business of algal production and the impact of the future use of algae and algal oil as feedstock for animal and human nutrition in addition to renewable fuel are being researched. Since southeastern New Mexico has been identified as an ideal area for algae propagation, discoveries related to processes for harvesting and extraction of oil from algae has the potential to create a strong new industry for the region. [more info]

Conservation Project: The candidate conservation project has developed and implemented the solutions for issues related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and its potential effect on environmental uses of land. Stakeholders from commercial, regulatory, and special interests organizations have met to develop a southeast New Mexico regional conservation plan concerning listed wildlife, namely the lesser prairie chicken and the dunes sagebrush lizard. CEHMM has been identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the permit holder for Candidate Conservation Agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances. These agreements have fostered cooperative partnerships that meet or exceed the land stewardship goals of private landowners in cooperation and collaboration with state and federal agencies aspiring to set a universal standard for the goal of conserving diminishing species and habitats. [more info]

Environmental Services: In 2013, CEHMM created a new division dedicated to providing environmental consultation services to industry for expediting permit authorizations regarding work on state and federal lands, as well as trench monitoring and surveillance in support of BLM mandates. CEHMM performs services that include: • Writing supporting documentation, such as EAs, for APD submittals and sundry surface work to include rights of way on state and federal lands. [more info]

  • Technical expertise in the arenas of archeology, wildlife, petroleum engineering, and land use.
  • Providing compliance field services to include assistance in the siting of wells in LPC or DSL habitat.
  • Reclamation/Restoration consultation with technical expertise in contemporary reclamation standards, plant species selection, and integration into natural landscapes.
  • Rangeland Health Assessments.
  • Provide assistance to state and federal agencies to reduce or eliminate bottlenecks in the environmental permitting process.

Former Project - Biomonitoring: From 2007 through 2009, CEHMM conducted a three-year avian biomonitoring project directed toward detecting the H5N1(avian flu) virus, the West Nile virus, banned pesticides and heavy metals. The project monitored a species, the Chihuahuan Raven, that is considered a prime in areas of west Texas, southern New Mexico, and the adjacent U.S.-Mexico border areas. The arrival of the H5N1 virus in the United States is a matter of national security and is of nationwide importance. Early detection is key to deterring the spread of the virus and protecting human health from possible communicable mutations of the virus. The project established baseline information in the target area and obtained statistical power to detect trends and to characterize distribution and effects of heavy metals, toxins, and viruses. [see "Biomonitoring of Chihuahuan Ravens Final Report" by M. Restani]