Invasive Species Program

Invasive Plants

Invasive plants such as leafy spurge, cheatgrass, brome, and buffelgrass have increased fire vulnerability and diminished grazing value across the western United States. Aquatic invasive plants such as the weed hydrilla and giant fern salvinia are clogging waterways. To help combat these invaders, USGS scientists are using new tools to model the potential spread of high impact invasive species such as buffelgrass, incorporating implications of future climate scenarios on their predictions, as appropriate.

Filter Total Items: 17
Date published: March 26, 2020
Status: Active

Invasive Phragmites Science: Management Tools for the Control of Invasive Phragmites to Foster the Restoration of the Great Lakes

The USGS is developing innovative Phragmites control measures to keep this rapidly spreading invasive plant from further expanding its range into new wetland habitats and to aid in the development of successful restoration strategies. Scientists are conducting studies and field tests to determine if fungi that live within the Phragmites are enabling the plant to take over...

Date published: March 26, 2020
Status: Active

Invasive Phragmites Science: Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative

Addressing a large-scale regional issue such as controlling a persistent invasive plant like Phragmites requires broad cross-sector coordination. Little progress is made and cost efficiencies are reduced when each entity works independently.  The highly successful Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative builds collaboration and facilitates communication on a regional level with a common...

Date published: May 23, 2019
Status: Active

Cheatgrass and Medusahead

Invasive annual grasses, such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), are one of the most significant stressors to rangeland ecosystems in the western U.S. Their expansion and dominance across this area are the most damaging ecosystem agents on this iconic landscape.

Date published: June 28, 2018
Status: Active

Effects of invasive plant species on reproduction of the rare endemic plant Dakota buckwheat (Eriogonum visheri) at Badlands National Park

 Endemism in plants is extremely uncommon in the Great Plains.  Dakota buckwheat is a rare, endemic plant found in only a few locations at Badlands National Park and sites with similar soils outside the park.  In an earlier study, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center inferred that of two common, co-flowering invasive plants, Russian thistle was more likely than yellow sweetclover to...

Contacts: Diane Larson
Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

To control or not to control: response of pollinator communities to invasive plant management

If invasive plants are producing pollen and nectar used by native pollinators, what happens when a manager decides to control the invasive plant?  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center is addressing this question and has found that pollinators are adept at changing their resource acquisition strategies as abundantly flowering invasive species decline.  In addition, it appears that the...

Contacts: Diane Larson
Date published: May 24, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Aquatic Plants

Invasive aquatic species clog waterways and are a concern for water managers. Once established, invasive aquatic species impact local ecosystems, recreation, and impede travel. As part of the USGS effort to empower our partners (Interior, Federal and State agencies), the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database team has botanists ...

Date published: May 24, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Grasses, Vegetation, and Weeds

Invasive plants (e.g. leafy spurge, cheatgrass, brome, and buffelgrass) have dramatic impacts on Western landscapes through increased fire vulnerability, changes in ecosystem structure and diminished livestock grazing value. USGS researchers are working with DOI land managers, and federal and state partners to find solutions to this growing problem.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: April 18, 2018
Status: Active

Effect of Elodea spp. on Fish Performance Mediated Through Food Web Interactions

The potential for invasive species introductions in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems is growing as climate change manifests and human activity increases in high latitudes.

Contacts: Michael P Carey, Ph.D., Suresh Andrew Sethi, Ph.D., Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., Dan Young, Gordon Reeves, Theresa Tanner
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Invasive Plants and Fire

Fire has had a very different influence on the forests and shrublands of California. Unlike the case in many forests where fires have been excluded for over a century, shrublands throughout the state have experienced the opposite impact. Invasive grasses that burn more readily than native plants have increased the frequency of wildfires in southern California shrublands. As fire clears swathes...

Contacts: Jon Keeley
Date published: May 18, 2017
Status: Active

Buffelgrass

Mapping When and Where Invasive Buffelgrass is Green at Saguaro National Park in Arizona.

Contacts: Cynthia Wallace
Date published: April 10, 2017
Status: Active

Occurrence, fate, transport, and ecological effects of aerially applied herbicides in the effort to control invasive buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare syn. Cenchrus ciliaris) in Saguaro National Park

The Sonoran Desert lands that the Saguaro National Park (SAGU) has been tasked to protect are facing an unprecedented threat from buffelgrass (Cenhrus ciliaris), an invasive perennial grass that was added to Arizona’s noxious weed list in 2005. The buffelgrass invasion has been so pervasive that the U.S. Department of Interior issued a declaration in 2010 which highlighted a need for...

Date published: December 7, 2016
Status: Active

Effects of Nonnative Vegetation Management

The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo (hereafter referred to as the Rio Grande) in the Big Bend region of Texas, USA, and Chihuahua, and Coahuila, MX has substantially narrowed since the early 1900s. This narrowing has been exacerbated by the widespread establishment of non-native giant cane (Arundo donax) and tamarisk (Tamarix spp.), both of which help trap sediment and protect banks from natural...