Beginning in 2014, Vermejo implemented a concerted effort to improve the stream and riparian health in the upper Vermejo River watershed. The long-term goals for the project are to restore riparian vegetation and stabilize the severely impacted watercourse to enhance trout habitats and promote keystone species such as beaver. Other species will also benefit from this work, including neotropical migrant bird species and small mammals such as the endangered New Mexico jumping mouse.
FLORISTIC INVENTORY OF VERMEJO
Vermejo has documented over 1,000 different plant species, which include nearly 25 percent of all plants native to the state.
ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION OF PONDEROSA PINE
Vermejo began a program in 1998 to thin the ponderosa pine forests back to pre-settlement conditions, a condition typified by large, mature trees, a more open forest canopy, and a parkland setting. To date, approximately 18,000 acres have been treated, and several local wood product industries have been developed around the program.
Since 2008, several experimental forestry treatments have been implemented with the goal of stimulating the regeneration of aspen stands in the upland forests that have been declining for years.
PERMANENT VEGETATION PLOT MONITORING
Vermejo began to develop baseline vegetation conditions on the property in 1998. Starting as a forestry program, the project expanded to include the short-grass prairie in 2003. In 2007, Vermejo expanded its monitoring program to include the entire property. Currently, over 50 permanent vegetation-monitoring plots have been established. This data informs land management decisions intended to maintain or improve range and forest health.
INVASIVE SPECIES CONTROL
Vermejo began a coordinated invasive species control program in 2005. The primary objectives are to eliminate saltcedar, Chinese elm and Russian olive from riparian areas; to control or eradicate (if possible) leafy spurge from the Ponil drainage, and to control invasive species such as Canada thistle, bull thistle, musk thistle, yellow toadflax, knapweeds, hoary cress, and other non-native species. Invasive species can outcompete native plants, reducing diversity and complexity of wildlife habitat.