The Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge on Albuquerque's southern edge is growing thanks to the purchase of 57 acres.
The $1.1 million purchase was announced this week by Bernalillo County Commissioner Art de la Cruz and state Sen. Michael Padilla. They also say development of a master plan for the refuge and visitors' center is underway.
The state Legislature approved the funding for the purchase during its last session.
As the Southwest's first urban refuge, Valle de Oro was dedicated in September 2012. It now consists of close to 490 acres of alfalfa fields and cottonwoods along the Rio Grande. There are plans to buy another 80 acres.
Officials say a public meeting is scheduled next week to gather community comments and ideas for the refuge's master plan.
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