The Socorro Soil and Water Conservation District, in partnership with the Socorro field office of the Bureau of Land Management will be treating approximately 3,600 acres of cholla cactus-invaded native rangelands.

The project will take place on BLM land in Socorro County where cholla cactus densities have surpassed historic, naturally occurring levels and are being thinned to improve public rangeland health.

Jeff Fassett, BLM district range improvement specialist, said the objective of the thinning project is to improve native plant diversity, “which will benefit wildlife, rangeland and watershed health by reducing the density of cholla cactus and result in an increase of native grasses, forbs and other herbaceous vegetation to hold soil in place and decrease erosion.”

Thinning treatments will occur sometime the coming week and should take approximately seven days to complete.

A low-flying airplane will apply a broadleaf selective liquid herbicide on selected cholla cactus-infested areas. At the planned rate and timing of application, the herbicide will have minimal impact on desirable grasses and forbs, because the herbicide is applied under strict standard operating procedures and label requirements.

The project is part of the Restore New Mexico Program which is an aggressive partnership between landowners and land management agencies to restore the state’s grasslands, woodlands and riparian areas to a healthy, more productive condition.