Location & Description

The Center is located in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, at the southern end of the Jornada Plain. Now divided by Interstate 25, the Center encompasses almost 100 square miles, with one-forth of the land west of the interstate.

   Land on the Center varies widely, with elevations from 4,000 ft. on the Rio Grande flood plain on the west side to 5,840 ft. at the top of Summerford Mountain in the Doña Ana Mountains on the east side. the nearly levels plains of the north and central parts of the Center are on the Jornada del Muerto basin, with several small playa areas where water collects after rainfall. Soils range from sandy loams to clays overlying caliche hardpan.

Several vegetation types occur on the center. Creosote bush dominates the upper slopes of the mountains and the hills along the river. At lower elevations, the creosote bush type grades into the mesquite type that grows on sandier soils, and into the tarbush type on heavier soils. The plains area, once dominated by black grama, today has been invaded by mesquite. These mesquite stands are interspersed with snakeweed and many species of grasses and forbs.

Wildlife populations on the Center are rich and varied. Among the larger mammals are mule deer, pronghorn antelope, gemsbok, bobcat, coyote, badger, and fox. Mountain lions have been sighted. There are also many rabbit and rodent species. Several bird species migrate throughout the area, but a large number also live and nest on the rangeland. Species such as roadrunners, hawks, and occasionally golden eagles are seen on the Center. Numerous lizard and snake species also inhabit these lands.