The Colorado Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office works on several Department of Defense military installations across the state of Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas. Under the Sikes Act and consistent with their mission, military bases are required to implement natural resource management on installation lands. Our biologists work with military personnel and other cooperators to implement natural resource management goals including control of invasive species.
Control and management of invasive species is accomplished using modern resource management methods. Several complementary methods may be implemented in an overall strategy to protect ecosystems and aid in their recovery. Below are just some examples of where the conservation office is working to control invasive species on Department of Defense lands..
Ips Pine Engraver Beetle
The Ips beetle continues to be a problem across the west forests due to their negative effects on our trees. As the beetles tunnel through the tree, it leaves behind a residue that infects and eventually kills the tree. These pests have been particularly challenging over the past several years due to drought conditions in which they thrive. Although this species produces multiple generations annually, various proactive measures are taking place to prevent further destruction, including removal of infected limbs as well as entire trees to prevent further infection. In addition, approximately 200 high-risk or high-profile trees to be sprayed in order to prevent beetle attack on the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA).
• Colorado Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office staff administer tree thinning and brush removal in order to prevent the beetles from easily migrating from one tree to the next.
• Field surveys are conducted to seek out infested trees by the Ips beetle, twig beetle, dwarf mistletoe, and other forest health pests.
Biocontrol of Noxious Weeds
Noxious weeds such as Canada thistle, sweet brome and Russian thistle have become established throughout the west. To help forest all their spread, the Colorado Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office works with Dr. Jerry Michaels from Texas AgriLife (part of Texas A&M) to use biocontrols as a means to address noxious weeds on Department of Defense lands. Projects include:
• Tamarisk or salt cedar is an ornamental plant that rapidly spreads throughout a riparian area and outcompetes the native vegetation such as cottonwood and willow. Texas AgriLife has released small beetles near Chico Creek on Pueblo Chemical Depot which attack the tamarisk tree, defoliate it and eventually kill the tree.
• Annual biocontrol also occurs at Buckley Air Force Base and has been very successful in reducing the overall acreage of noxious weeds on this installation.