When I speak with friends about desert grasslands, a look of confusion registers in their faces. Some people probably think desert and grasslands go together like oil and water. That’s only because they haven’t seen desert grasslands; and it’s not their fault, there’s not many of these unique ecosystems left in the Desert Southwest due to overgrazing and other shortsighted land management practices.
One of the last surviving and best examples of a Chihuahuan Desert grassland is the 1.2 million acre Otero Mesa grassland area, located about 40 miles northeast of El Paso in Southern New Mexico. As usual, there is a war between environmentalists who want this area preserved as a National Monument or wilderness area and oil and gas people seeking short term profits from a land whose fragility they know nothing of. Continue reading “Otero Mesa – the last of the desert grasslands”