President Obama on Wednesday designated nearly half a million acres in southern New Mexico as the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, protecting large swaths of soaptree yucca, four-winged saltbush, alligator juniper, and gray oak in the northern reaches of the Chihuahuan desert. The designation is the second in as many years for New Mexico; the President established the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in March 2013. Both monuments are administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
Other desert conservation and wilderness proposals are languishing in Congress, including bills to protect desert habitat and recreation areas in California, Nevada and Arizona. Hopefully the President will once again act to protect our beautiful desert landscapes.