Eliminate New Starts of Invasive Plants in Grand Canyon
Invasive, non-native plant species, also called exotic or alien species, are plants that aggressively invade native habitat, displace native species, and overtake their resources. Not only are native plants at risk, but so are native insects, fish, and other animals whose life cycles are closely intertwined. The spread of these "alien invaders" is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and the preservation of intact, native ecosystems. Eliminating new starts of exotic plant species is now considered to be one of the most important issues facing natural resource managers across the nation.
Of the 156 exotic plant species at Grand Canyon National Park, approximately 30 of these are considered to be high threat invasive species. Park biologists are directed to give priority to minimizing and controlling the spread of these exotic plants, but the park does not have sufficient funding to target all of the top 30 invasive species while control is still possible.
Dalmation Toadflax is an invasive plant species at Grand Canyon
|The Action Plan|
As with many conservation projects, education and active participation with the public is often the key to success. The Grand Canyon National Park Foundation is currently seeking funds to support expanded monitoring and control of exotics coupled with a volunteer program that gives visitors "hands-on" work experience to preserve and restore native plants at the Grand Canyon.
Volunteers with the park's Habitat Restoration Team have fun getting down 'n dirty weeding invasive plants on the North Rim
|This popular, but under-funded "Alien Invaders" program -- which brings volunteers and park service staff together as part of the Habitat Restoration Team at Grand Canyon -- offers a way to educate visitors about the importance of native plant preservation while ensuring the most environmentally sound methods are used to reduce the spread of exotic plants. The primary focus of this program is the manual removal of non-native plant species and subsequent revegetation with native species. Through this program, volunteers also collect and clean native plant seeds, which are later planted in project areas or stored for future propagation.|
|You Can Help!
Your support helps to restore and preserve Grand Canyon's pristine ecosystem!
- Make a donation! Support the park's "Alien Invaders" interpretive program by going to our Giving Page and donating online.
- Become a volunteer! Students, families, individuals, corporate work-groups, conservation clubs, anyone can join the park's Habitat Restoration Team and get involved with this effort. Call the park's Reveg Crew at 928-638-7857 or email the Foundation for more information.
- Learn to recognize invasive, non-native plants such as tamarisk, camel thorn, Mediterranean sage, and toadflax. When you visit the park, ask for a pictured list of invasive plant species.
- Avoid activities (like short-cutting trails) that disturb soil and native plants. Such disturbances encourage the spread invasive plants.
- Try not to transport non-native plants and seeds into native habitat, especially at trailheads leading into the backcountry. Seeds and plant parts are easily caught in shoes, clothing, camping gear, horse and dog hair, and the undersides of vehicles and bicycles.
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