Rio Grande Joint Venture

Content © Rio Grande Joint Venture 2015                                                                                                      Contact the RGJV

The Chihuahuan Deserts Bird Conservation Region extends from west Texas south to the high mountains of central Mexico.  Only the Texas and Mexico portion of the BCR is within the Rio Grande Joint Venture region.  The Chihuahuan Desert is high elevation ranging from arid grasslands at about 4000 feet to spectacular Sky Island mountains that reach over 12000 feet (3700 meters).

The Rio Grande Joint Venture’s top priority bird habitat in the Chihuahuan Desert is grasslands followed by riparian corridor and associated wetlands.   

Chihuahuan Desert

Opportunities and Threats

Fragmentation, drought, water, river flows, grazing management, and invasive species are issues in the Chihuahuan Desert.     

Priority habitats in the  Chihuahuan Desert are grasslands and riparian corridor with associated wetlands.  

Grasslands are impacted by loss to agriculture or urbanization, brush encroachment, unsustainable grazing all exacerbated by drought.  In some areas, flat or low-slope grasslands are being lost to unsustainable agriculture at a high rate.  After only a few years of irrigated crop production the soil becomes too salty to be productive and the farmers move to new areas.  Partners are working with ranchers to improve grassland condition and profitability as well as resiliency in the face of drought or other stressors.  

Riparian corridors and associated wetlands are of critical importance to priority birds at all seasons. Riparian corridors are all too often impacted by clearing and tree cutting, altered river flows including flooding, grazing, and other human impacts. The initial step is an inventory of current conditions and existing threats.