Nicodemus Wilderness Project
Nicodemus Wilderness Project
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Nicodemus Wilderness Project


Invasive Vegetation Removal
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Definition of a Noxious Weed from the 1974 Federal Noxious Weed Act:

Noxious Weed means any living stage, such as seeds and reproductive parts, of any parasitic or other plant of a kind, which is of foreign origin, is new to or not widely prevalent in the United States, and can directly or indirectly injure crops, other useful plants, livestock, or poultry or other interests of agriculture, including irrigation, or navigation, or the fish or wildlife resources of the United States or the public health.

Nonnative vegetation has spread quickly throughout many parts of the world. The native grasses, shrubs, and trees of the area are frequently crowded out by invasive noxious vegetation. In many cases, exotic vegetation is so successful because of environmental degradation that has occurred because of man's activities (e.g., development, river regulation [dams and reservoirs], pollution, grazing etc.). In these disturbed or manipulated habitats, the invasive vegetation can take hold and ultimately displace the native vegetation.

One of the efforts of the Nicodemus Wilderness Project has been to try to eradicate noxious plants in certain semi-wild areas of the American West. Our focus has been on areas that are along the urban-suburban/wilderness interface where disturbance is primarily a result of erosion or proximity to a seed source. What's a seed source? Take a look in your backyard. If you live in an urban or suburban area, chances are that you are the source of the seeds that become exotic vegetation in nearby wilderness and other natural areas. Those flowers, trees, and shrubs might look good at the local nursery but they simply don't belong in your yard. One way you can make a difference is by pulling out that exotic vegetation and replacing it with the beautiful flowers, trees, and shrubs that are native to your area. You will improve the integrity of the local ecosystem and have an amazing looking landscape as your reward.

Exotic vegetation in wilderness and other natural areas can be controlled through persistent removal, treatment, and monitoring. The Nicodemus Wilderness Project has initiated efforts to remove nonnative species such as tree of heaven, Siberian elm, salt cedar, and Russian olive from riparian canyons in the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico. Our efforts are now allowing native plant species such as cottonwood and coyote willow to flourish in an environment where water is scarce and valuable to the native wildlife community. Our goal is to continue exotics removal in a variety of semi-disturbed habitats and to establish a monitoring/follow-up maintenance program for our project areas.