Invasive Species Monitoring and Management

Salt cedar control/USFWS

Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge places high priority on monitoring and management of invasive species.

Invasive plant monitoring and early detection
The most effective way to reduce the amount of invasive plants is to monitor and detect species before they become an infestation.  Refuge staff uses GPS and GIS units to map and record invasive plants.  Once the species are identified and mapped, the refuge works to remove them before they spread further. Invasive species found on the refuge include salt cedar, phragmites, bull thistle, tree of heaven, Siberian elm, and Russian olive. 

Salt Cedar
Salt cedar (Tamarix spp.), an exotic plant introduced for erosion control, has invaded riparian areas of the refuge displacing the native vegetation and the wildlife that depend on native habitat.  Salt cedar is capable of disrupting the structure and stability of native plant communities because it is a fire-adapted species, outcompetes and replaces native plant species, has long tap roots that can reach deep water tables, monopolizes limited sources of water and interferes with natural aquatic systems.  Although salt cedar provides some shelter, the foliage and flowers of salt cedar provide little food value for native wildlife species that depend on nutrient-rich native plant resources.

Currently, salt cedar is being cleared and these areas are being planted with cottonwood, coyote willow and black willow.  The refuge places high priority on planting native species in areas where invasive species dominated, as restoration is the ultimate goal in preserving the refuge’s natural ecosystems.