The Southwest Region reaches from the plains of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas to coastal California and tropical Hawaii, and terrain includes shrub lands, deserts, canyons, and plateaus as well as forested mountains.
While the majority of the region’s agricultural land is used for grazing livestock, crops grown include alfalfa, wheat, sorghum, milo, cotton, and corn. The Southwest, in particular California, is also a leading producer of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and dairy products. In addition to working lands, many of the nation’s most awe-inspiring parks and protected areas, including Yosemite, Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Park, are found in this region.
Despite the landscape and agricultural diversity, a central concern for much of this semiarid to arid region is water, most often the lack of water. The Southwest depends upon irrigation for crop production, which depletes both surface water and groundwater supplies, including the Colorado River and Ogallala Aquifer. Additionally, competition between urban and agricultural land and water uses has increased as populations and cities grow. Other challenges unique to the region include wind erosion, high soil salinity, rangeland soil health, brush control, and wildfire impacts.
Conservation initiatives across the region by SWCS members and others encourage changes to ensure long-term productivity of Southwestern landscapes. Producers are increasingly adopting new irrigation technology to improve water use efficiency, and ranchers protect water quality through improved livestock management. Soil health practices, such as no-tillage and cover crops, improve soil structure as well as provide resilience in the face of variable weather patterns. Chapters in the Southwest Region bring conservation leaders together for training, education, and discussion necessary to address natural resource concerns and achieve sustainability.
Arizona Student Chapter
Humboldt State University Student Chapter
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo Earth Student Chapter
New Mexico Chapter
New Mexico State Chapter
Oklahoma State Chapter