Non-native Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is found throughout the United States, and tamarisk (Tamarix sp) invasions occur mostly in the western United States. The invasion into the San Juan Watershed occurred in the early 1900s and is currently among the most densely invaded areas in the United States. The invasion is extensive throughout the watershed, but the intensity varies from none in some areas, to low intensity, to dense stands in many mid and downstream areas.
The effects of woody-invasive infestations are well known: loss of biodiversity, alteration of stream function, alteration of stream and riparian ecosystems, degradation of water and soil quality, and in some situations (especially during drought) lowering the water table. Therefore, there are numerous compelling reasons to control these woody-invasive infestations:
restoration of native plant communities; improvement of water quality, channel geomorphology, conditions for wildlife, recreation, and for aesthetic reasons; wildfire mitigation; reclamation of farmland; and maintenance of irrigation ditches.
The San Juan Watershed Woody-Invasives Initiative (SJWWII) formed in May, 2006, and is a unique group, consisting of over fifty partners from four states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) and four tribal units (Jicarilla Apache Nation, Navajo Nation, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe [including White Mesa Ute]). The formation of SJWWII is meant to facilitate coordination among partners across these boundaries.
The purposes of this Strategic Plan are to (1) provide over-arching riparian restoration goals for the entire San Juan Watershed, (2) provide guidelines for management, (3) provide a mechanism for coordination among all partners in the regional area, and (4) provide a basic structure for a plan that can be used by smaller watershed divisions within the San Juan Watershed and modified to suit the needs of each unique community. The SJWWII will also map infestations throughout the San Juan Watershed, maintain databases of resources, projects, partners, funding sources, and program efficacy.
The Strategic Plan provides user-friendly information for any entity planning a woody-invasive management project, including use of GIS mapping, categorizing levels of infestation, developing work plans, maintaining databases, developing work plans, coordination with state plans, determining priorities, assessing the physical integrity of a proposed project, Federal laws to consider, methods of control, projecting costs, working with landowners, long-term monitoring and maintenance, and educational and research opportunities.Although the Strategic Plan is written specifically for the San Juan Basin, it can also serve as a model for other large eco-regions. The projects that result from this coordinated effort will be closely monitored and can also serve as models for other regions.
Mission Statement: To develop a watershed-wide Strategic Plan for management of woody-invasive species in the San Juan Basin, to provide resources and technical assistance, to maintain databases, to facilitate discussion and coordination among partners.
Website hosted by
Fort Lewis College