Beginning the week of Nov. 13, and continuing for approximately one week, the Sierra Soil and Water Conservation District, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management Las Cruces District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will treat up to approximately 11,000 acres of creosote bush. Treatments will occur on BLM, State Trust and private lands within Sierra, Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Luna and Otero counties in southwestern New Mexico where creosote densities have surpassed historic, naturally-occurring levels.
The objective of the treatments is to improve plant species diversity, which will benefit wildlife, rangeland and watershed health by reducing the density of creosote, and result in an increase of native grasses, forbs and other herbaceous vegetation.
A low-flying airplane will drop Tebuthiuron pellets, a soil-activated herbicide that inhibits photosynthesis, on creosote bush. At the planned rate and timing of application, the herbicide will have minimal impact on desirable grasses and forbs. Since the herbicide is applied in pellet form, it will not drift from treated areas. When the pellets dissolve with favorable precipitation, they are absorbed into the ground to a depth of approximately two feet and into the target plants root system, eventually reducing the creosote bush cover. The pellets will not be dropped near waterways or on slopes greater than 10 percent.