In 2014, with help from the El Paso City Manager, the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition launched a native plant conservation project to encourage El Pasoans to landscape their homes with drought tolerant and water saving native plants.
The project helps homeowners make wiser choices when landscaping while helping to conserve water and lower water bills. The end result creates more habitats for native wildlife in El Paso impacted by urban sprawl.
On its website, CDEC encourages homeowners to purchase native plants from local plant nurseries.
Recommended plants include red yucca, desert willow, mesquite and ceniza. Many species of birds and butterflies benefit from these plants helping to make El Paso a wildlife friendly city while improving the city’s quality of life.
CDEC officials share, “The shade from trees like mesquite and desert willow helps to keep homes cooler in summer which also helps to lower electricity bills. Cutting back on energy consumption helps to lower the city’s carbon footprint and its impact on climate change. As an added benefit native plants help to capture carbon from the atmosphere important to combating climate change.”
An El Paso Channel 15 video on the project is available on YouTube. The Parks and Recreation Department has helped to promote the project by installing seven native plant interpretive signs at Cleveland Square across from the Digital Wall at the History Museum and the baseball stadium.
A free Habitat Certification program encourages people to make their yards Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition Certified Habitats.
Anyone who registers for the free program receives a signed certificate confirming the habitat level on their property and information on how they can get a yard sign designating their property as a certified habitat.