The Southwest Region includes Catron, Socorro, Dona Ana, Sierra, Luna, Grant and Hidalgo counties. This geographically diverse region encompasses the Middle and Lower Rio Grande valleys, the Gila River watershed, the San Mateo, Gila and Peloncillo mountains, and large areas of Chihuahuan Desert. The wide variety of ecological communities makes for some of the highest biological diversity in the state and North America. Land ownership is a mix of Cibola and Gila National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, State Trust, Department of Defense and private lands. Primary rural economic activities and land uses include ranching, farming, mining, tourism and ranchette development. NMLC has protected over 63,000 acres of land in this region and will continue working to preserve significant agricultural land, wildlife habitat and open space in this unique part of the state.