Over story: none

sparsely vegetated with alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides) and burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolius), or are barren hills (badlands


Over story: none

Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), galleta (Hilaria jamesii), and dropseeds (Sporobolus sp.) are common. Broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) occurs in most areas along with scattered big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and one-seed juniper (Juniperus monosperma) on ridges and rocky areas

The Great Basin Desert Scrub plant community 

high big sage brush, low saltbush

Over story: none

big sagebrush, shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus), and fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens). 

Other sagebrush species found with big sagebrush are black sage (Artemisia arbuscula) and Bigelow sage (A. bigelovii).

saltbush communities. Other shrub species found with saltbush include winterfat (Ceratoides lanata), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus sp.), and Nuttal’s saltbush (Atriplex nuttallii). 

Widespread grasses in this vegetation type include alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides), western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii), Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides), and blue grama (Dick-Peddie 1993).

The Juniper Savannah

One-seed juniper and Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) are typical, as are big sagebrush, Bigelow sagebrush, and shadscale. Blue grama, galleta, Indian ricegrass, and sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) are common grass species (Dick-Peddie 1993).

The Piñon-Juniper Woodland plant community

Dense stands generally occur above 6,600 feet in elevation and the dominant tree species are piñon (Pinus edulis), Utah juniper, Gambel’s oak (Quercus gambellii), and true mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus), with occasional stringers of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). 

Common ground cover species are mutton grass (Poa fendleriana), western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii), buckwheat (Eriogonum sp.), and penstemon (Penstemon sp.) (BLM 1997). 

More open stands are located on drier sites below 6,600 feet elevation where piñon, Utah juniper, big sagebrush and antelope bitterbush (Purshia tridentata) are common.

 Blue grama and galleta are the principal grass species. Relatively large stands of big sagebrush can occur within the open woodlands (BLM 1997).

The Ponderosa Pine Forest 

on BLM land primarily in deep canyons on north and east facing slopes. 

Common tree species are ponderosa pine, piñon, and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). 

The shrub component is dominated by antelope bitterbush, true mountain mahogany, and Gambel’s oak with grass cover dominated by mutton grass and western wheatgrass. 

On the Jicarilla Ranger District and the Cuba Ranger District, this vegetation type occurs in scattered locations in deep canyons on north and east facing slopes. Dominant plant species at these locations are similar to those found on BLM lands.

The subalpine montane grasslands 

 on the very western side of the planning area along the New Mexico Arizona border and in . These grasslands are commonly found above 8,900 feet and up to 11,500 feet on relatively smooth terrain of southwestern exposures with slopes ranging from 20 to 50 percent (Dick-Peddie 1993). 

Dominant grasses in this vegetation unit include fescue (Festuca sp.), oatgrass (Danthonia sp.), tuft-hair grass (Deschampsia sp.), Junegrass (Koeleria sp.), bluegrass (Poa sp.), and muhly (Muhlenbergia sp.). 

Areas of heavy grazing experience vegetation community shifts from Thurber and Arizonia Fescue (Festuca thurberi and F. arizonica respectively), oatgrass and Junegrass to Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) (Dick-Peddie 1993). 

USFS land on the Santa Fe National Forest. The vegetation unit is characterized by elevations of approximately 9,500 feet to timberline, approximately 12,000 feet (Dick-Peddie 1993). Common flora include Englemann spruce (Picea englemanii), Douglas-fir, Juniper species, Corkbark fir (Abies lasiocarpa), currants (Ribes sp.), fringed brome (Bromus ciliatus), mountain trisetum (Trisetum spicatum), and bluegrass (Dick-Peddie 1993). Vegetation communities vary among different alpine regions due to elevation and moisture differences.


Riparian areas are defined by the BLM as “a form of wetland transition between permanently saturated wetlands and upland areas. 

 cottonwoods (Populus spp.), willows (Salix spp.), saltcedar (Tamarix spp.), Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), sedges (Carex spp.), rushes (Juncus spp.), reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea), cattails (Typha spp.), bulrushes (Scirpus spp.), alkali sacaton, galletagrass, Indian rice-grass, sagebrush, greasewood, and four-wing saltbush (BLM 2000b). 

Twenty riparian areas occur along 21 miles of the Rio Puerco, 18 miles of Arroyo Chico, and 3 miles of other ephemeral drainages, for a total of about 42 miles on AFO land (see Table 3-10). There are a total of 1,169 acres of riparian habitat along these drainages, with 601 acres along Arroyo Chico and 523 acres along Rio Puerco. Most of the native cottonwoods and willows have disappeared from these riparian areas and the invasive saltcedar and Russian olive are common in some areas.

The urban, farmland, and open water unit 

the non-native land cover 

  Open water areas are permanently inundated in surface water, such as the Navajo Reservoir. Irrigated cropland represents the farmland located adjacent to the San Juan, Animas, La Plata, and Los Piñas Rivers in this vegetation unit. Urban areas are concentrated in the tricities area (Aztec, Bloomfield, and Farmington).