Invasive Species

Nutria-Millsx512

Invasive Plant Species

At Cameron Prairie, invasive plant species include the Chinese tallow tree, water hyacinth, hydrilla, Eurasian milfoil, frogbit, cattail, maidencane, cutgrass, California bulrush and common salvinia.

The Chinese tallow tree, a non-native small to medium-sized tree, has been reduced in occurrence on the Refuge through moist soil managment, but remains a problem on several levees around moist soil units. The tallow tree typically grows on elevated and undisturbed ground along fence rows and levees. The best control methods for this species on the Refuge have been herbicides on the levees and manipulation of the fields. However, the tallow tree is a very resilient species, and tends to re-sprout shortly after the herbicide is no longer available.

Water hyacinth and common salvinia have clogged the majority of Refuge canals, delaying water movement to the point that pumping operations have become more expensive to operate. The Refuge currently uses herbicides to try to control water hyacinth. Hydrilla and Eurasian milfoil exclude native and more beneficial species from establishing where they occur.

Invasive Animal Species

One exotic animal species found on the refuge is the Nutria. This large semi-aquatic rodent is highly prolific and consumes approximately 25% of its weight in vegetation daily, and construct burrows in levees, dikes and embankments. Although they can be destructive to levees and vegetation, the species is beneficial as a food source for the Refuge's alligator population.