Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Galisteo Dam: Got Cows.

We visited the Galisteo Dam yesterday. We found the heavy activity of a dozen cows on grass. Where we had been discouraging burrs and hardly touching the grass cows have spent months not touching the burrs and have eaten all the grass. Stubble of green is rising, but cannot get far with the cow pressure.

The pointy stakes remain from a dangerous extraction of Tamarix several years ago. Horses, cows, goats and people all trip over these things. Amazing none of us has fallen on them...

No Grass. No mulch. No tilth. When will it recover? If the water dries up, cows go away... 

Overview of the "wetlands" where cows spent the winter.

Showing the growth of Tamarix since the removal of the goats last July. Continual pressure needed, otherwise a few good rainstorms reverse the work of the goat. When we left the vitality was leaving the trees and our effect had become obvious.

Here are tumbleweeds. In this case it is a very positive sign. This area had been totally bare, the top crust hard. This is the first of annual weeds which are part of the succession which changes non productive land into viable soil for local perennials such as grasses and brush can start in. Winterfat has begun to take back over on the far end of the picture- much improved by the browsing goats.

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