NEW MEXICO'S RANGELANDS
New Mexico Rangelands Enhancement Project
Increasingly across the West, collaborative groups of unlikely partners are working together to steward ranching landscapes. Such partnerships lead to coordinated management actions that are driven by local knowledge and fueled by the accumulation of local capacity. Trust among parters can foster adaptive learning that leads to novel solutions to complex management issues.
In this new National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - Southern Plains Grassland funded project in eastern New Mexico, a fledgling partnership is working to balance ongoing cattle grazing that supports local rancher livelihoods, with management of quality habitat for pronghorn and Lesser-prairie Chicken (recently listed as endangered), and healthy soils that have the potential to increase carbon sequestration.
In November of 2022, local ranchers, state and federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations assembled together in Roswell, NM to address management goals across approximately 127,000 acres of regional rangelands. To understand how cattle grazing can benefit soil health, soil carbon sequestration, and habitat for pronghorn and the endangered prairie chicken, the team is assessing existing grazing practices as well as historical shrub treatments, collecting baseline soil health and carbon information, and mapping local vegetation.
Sharing collected rangeland knowledge will provide common ground for the team when deciding how to meet the group’s varied land management and conservation goals. A focus on soil health and carbon has the potential to position ranchers to participate in emerging carbon markets to financially support ongoing rangeland and wildlife habitat stewardship. As knowledge of this landscape grows, ranchers and managers will share information with other landowners in the region.
Partners in Rangeland Health
In April of 2022, Burger King, Cargill and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation teamed up to launch a $5M fund to "conserve and restore grasslands and wildlife species through regenerative agriculture practices in the Southern Great Plains."
The New Mexico Rangelands Enhancement Project was one of the first three projects that received support from the fund.
LOCAL RANCHERS & PRIVATE LANDOWNERS
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT - ROSWELL FIELD OFFICE
NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE
LAS CRUCES, NM FIELD OFFICE
CARLSBAD, NM FIELD OFFICE
ROSWELL, NM FIELD OFFICE
MARFA, TX FIELD OFFICE