Help us Protect Otero Mesa: The Last Desert Grassland

Otero Mesa is special for so many reasons. For starters, it is one of the largest desert grasslands in North America, a remnant of the sea of grass that once covered the region but has largely been converted to scrubland due to drought and overgrazing.

Pronghorn, black-tail prairie dogs, kit foxes and badgers are just some of the many wildlife species that make Otero Mesa home. The area is especially important as habitat for grassland birds, many of which are declining elsewhere in their ranges.

Otero Mesa’s undulating grassland is punctuated by the isolated peaks of the Cornudas Mountains. The petroglyphs that cover the rocky slopes give ample evidence that  Otero Mesa was a special place for Apaches and other Native Americans long before Europeans arrived.

Petroglyphs on Alamo Mountain in Otero Mesa. "Table of the Ancient Ones", photo by Wayne Suggs.

It’s easy, standing on those slopes with the grassland stretching far into the distance before you, to feel the presence of the people who etched those images on the rocks as they scanned the horizon for game animals or enemies.

All of it—the grasslands, the wildlife, the enchantment--could be destroyed tomorrow.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is getting ready to release its plan for the area, and it could open up Otero Mesa once again to oil and gas development on a massive scale.

Help us continue fighting to protect the grasslands and wildlife of Otero Mesa by making a special gift today of $50, $100 or whatever you can afford.

Persistence and tenacity--these are the hallmarks of all our successful campaigns, whether it is working to bring Mexican wolves back to the Southwest, restoring habitats along the Rio Grande, ending wildlife killing contests or reforming state wildlife management.

Your support makes it possible for us to keep fighting, day in and day out, year after year, to protect the wildlife and wild places we all love.

Your contribution of $50, $100 will help ensure that Otero Mesa STAYS protected.

We don’t know what the BLM’s new plan will look like, but we do know that this administration has made fossil fuel production its top priority for our public lands.

If Otero Mesa is opened up for drilling, it will never be the same. Everything that makes it special will be lost.

SWEC is determined not to let that happen. With your help, we will keep fighting until this extraordinary landscape is protected permanently.

We need to raise $10,000 by December 31st.
We’ll use that money to mobilize public support for protecting Otero Mesa so that when the time comes, any proposal to open it up for oil drilling will be met with massive resistance.

Your special gift today of $50, $100 or whatever you can afford will make sure we succeed.