Resource Management

Coachella Valley Milkvetch 512

The Coachella Valley dunes are home to the endangered Coachella Valley Miklvetch.

Current resource management efforts at Coachella Valley NWR are directed primarily at controlling invasive plants. 


The invasive salt cedar (Tamarix ramosissima) gets established in low depressions between dune systems or in gullies coming out of the Indio Hills. Annually the refuge staff trek the dunes with chainsaws and herbicide in an effort to remove these small trees to keep them from spreading as well as remove perches that predatory birds may use to predate on threatened Coachella Valley Fringe-toed lizards.  

Another invasive plant is Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii). In the last decade its population has exploded during years with ample rainfall, occupying nearly 100% of refuge lands. Staff  are concerned about the potential negative effect of this species on local native flora and fauna and have developed strategies for controlling it in the future. This plant has the potential to stabilize the active dunes that are home to the threatened fringe-toed lizard as well as the endangered Coachella Valley milkvetch. Control in the future will be accomplished by herbicide while avoiding native vegetation, particularly the endangered milkvetch. The aggressive nature of the invasive mustard prompts it to germinate much earlier in the fall/winter following a soaking rainfall than native plants. This life strategy of the mustard will allow refuge managers a window of opportunity to treat sensitive dune areas that are threatened with stabilization before native plants have germinated.