FARMINGTON ― Beginning Oct. 26, the Bureau of Land Management, in partnership with the San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District, will treat up to approximately 9,803 acres of sagebrush.
Treatments will occur on BLM, state and private lands within San Juan and Rio Arriba counties in northwestern New Mexico where sagebrush 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 sagebrush. This will result in an increase of native grasses, forbs and other herbaceous vegetation and a decrease in sagebrush densities to historic levels and not eradication.
A low-flying airplane will drop Tebuthiuron pellets, a soil-activated herbicide that inhibits photosynthesis, on sagebrush. 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 and juniper plant cover. The pellets will not be dropped near waterways or on slopes greater than 10 percent. The herbicide Tebuthiuron has been used to control sagebrush since the 1980s, and the benefits of its application are well documented.
For further information, please contact BLM Rangeland Management Specialist Barbara Witmore at 505.564.7696 or Melissa May with the San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District at 505.793.0294.