In our region true plains grassland is restricted a few areas, primarily in northwest Chihuahua, the bootheel of New Mexico and valleys south and west of the Huachuca Mountains, along with smaller patches in northeast Sonora and southest Arizona.
Historically true grassland was more widespread and dominated the upper Santa Cruz River valley in Sonora, the Sulfer Springs, San Simon, and Animas Valleys, among other nearby areas. Most of these grasslands have been converted to shrubland, barren ground, agriculture, or more of a semi-desert grassland.
Grasslands have rich soil and support abundant wildlife, which is why they were some of the first places to get seriously degraded when Europeans started settling the region. With quick money to be made, heavy stocking, especially during the end of the 1800s, decimated most grasslands in our region. With the sudden change fertile topsoil quickly eroded away leaving the land unable to support the robust grassland community it once did.
Existing grasslands continue to bring another suite of species to our region, helping to increase our already high biodiversity.