Invasive species - salt cedar (Tamarix rasimossa). Photo Credit: M. Weisenberger, USFWS
San Andres Refuge's Invasive Species Control
The Refuge has programs to combat invasive species. Invasive's are plants and animals that are not native to the area, have become established in an area, and present many problems for native plants and animals. Invasive's have the ability to rapidly expand in population size and crowd out native species in the process. San Andres National Wildlife Refuge is working to control two invasive species.
Salt cedar (Tamarix rasimossa), is a tree native to Central Asia. This plant was introduced into the western United States for erosion control in the early 1900’s. It
has spread throughout the western United States and has established in large areas where it has completely eliminated all other trees. Salt cedar on the Refuge has become established primarily along springs and streams. It uses large amounts of water and when salt cedar takes over a spring, the surface water can often times disappear. To combat this invader, Refuge staff use chainsaws to cut the salt cedar trees down just above the surface of the ground and then a herbicide is applied to the stump to permeate into the plant’s roots.
Gemsbok or oryx (Oryx gazella) is an antelope native to southern Africa, that was released on White Sands Missile Range in the late 1960’s. This large mammal has adapted extremely well to the area and has grown in numbers since its release. Concerns regarding oryx relate to the possibility of transmitting disease to native desert bighorn sheep and mule deer, and habitat damage due to trailing and feeding in sensitive riparian corridors. The Refuge is currently trying to reduce the oryx population by conducting population reduction hunts in cooperation with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
Oryx-Oryx gazella. Photo Credit: L. Smythe, USFWS
Movie of oryx on Refuge. Photo Credit: Refuge remote camera, USFWS
The Refuge, in cooperation with White Sands Missile Range, has treated over 40 miles of salt cedar in springs, seeps, and riparian areas within the San Andres Mountains.