U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Mesquite Targeted in Effort to Restore New Mexico
Sky and wind conditions allowed the June treatment to proceed with targeting the aerial application of herbicide to avoid habitat for sensitive species such as the lesser prairie chicken and aplomado falcon.
Results are seen in as little as seven days following herbicide treatments, with leaves of treated plants yellowing. In 90 days, leaves have dropped off sprayed plants. Above left, the predominance of brush (84% of vegetation) leaves bare ground where grasses should be. The middle photo shows the same area following herbicide treatment of the mesquite. Grasses now constitute 55% of the vegetation, brush 28%. At right, grasses are flourishing 90 days after the mesquite was treated with herbicide and the area received adequate rainfall.
Once the grass has been re-established, additional herbicide treaments are not needed because the landscape can then be maintained using prescribed fire.
The BLM estimates that about one-fourth of the 13.4 million acres of public land in New Mexico need some restoration activity to help return these lands to a healthier, natural state. BLM-New Mexico is working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Soil and Water Conservation Districts, private landowners, and state government in the Restore New Mexico initiative, which focuses on returning landscapes to pre-1900 conditions by dealing with invasive and exotic brush species, including mesquite, juniper, creosote and salt cedar.
In 2006, the BLM and its partners restored and reclaimed 145,000 acres of public land, much of it in southeastern New Mexico. A total of 200,000 acres are planned for treatment under the initiative in 2007. Restore New Mexico is also a component of the Department of Interior's Healthy Lands Initiative.