Otero Mesa: Preserving America's Wildest Grassland

Gregory McNamee, Author, Stephen Strom, Photographer, Stephen Capra, Photographer
Gregory McNamee, Author, Stephen Strom, Photographer, Stephen Capra, Photographer University of New Mexico Press $24.95 (92p) ISBN 978-0-8263-4397-0
Reviewed on: 11/03/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
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The Otero Mesa, in the heart of New Mexico, is one of the few pristine native grasslands remaining in the U.S. Unfortunately, this accidentally-preserved part of the Trans-Pecos is bisected from north to south by the New Mexico Rift, a series of sedimentary basins which are now the object of oil and gas development. Otero Mesa has already been designated as a Global 2000 Ecoregion by the World Wildlife Fund because of its remarkable species diversity, and Gov. Bill Richardson (who wrote the foreword) attempted in 2004 to designate it a National Conservation Area, a matter now being disputed in the courts. McNamee's lyrical text tells the story of the region, introduces the ecosystem's plants and animals, and recounts the efforts of old ranching families to fight industry development. The area's beauty and boundless skies are captured in brilliant photos by Strom and Capra, including dramatic images of mountains, storm clouds, open horizon and leaking storage tanks. Nature writing and photography that's both artistic and evocative, this is a rare armchair journey and a compelling appeal to action.
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