A modern browser is required to view this site.

Please update your browser.

Protect Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante - Take action »
New Mexico

Carlsbad Caves and Rivers

© Gosia Allison-Kosior
Tell the BLM to protect New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caves and Rivers from reckless drilling

Carlsbad Caves and Rivers region in southeastern New Mexico offers an intricate cave system and a lush river oasis in the middle of a desert. We now have the opportunity to protect the last remaining wild areas from encroaching oil and gas drilling. The Bureau of Land Management is considering handing even more land over to the oil and gas industry to drill, threatening these rare desert river systems and sensitive cave ecosystems. These lands are too wild to drill. Help us protect them for future generations!

Highlighted Value

Climate Adaptation

Southern New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caves and Rivers, a vast expanse of rolling grasslands dotted with remote desert mountains, is a unique and highly threatened ecosystem. South of Carlsbad, the public lands around Carlsbad Caverns National Park are home to a thriving Chihuahuan Desert river system.

The Threat

Oil and Gas Drilling

The federal and state lands surrounding the rivers are largely leased for oil and gas. Twisted among the wells and pads is a spider web of pipelines and roads that contribute to habitat loss and fragmentation. The Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico is one of the most developed oil and gas regions in the western U.S., and continues to rapidly expand.

According to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) own analysis, the Carlsbad area is expected to see 800 new oil and gas wells per year moving forward. These developments show no sign of slowing as large companies flock to this production hot spot.

Riparian areas in the Chihuahuan Desert, while rare, are some of the most biologically rich places in North America.