Invasive weeds are one of the most widespread and difficult challenges to conservation across the United States, and Northwest New Mexico is no exception! Managing the invasive weeds in our area requires a multi-pronged, collaborative, and persistent approach. San Juan SWCD partners with Bureau of Land Management, private landowners, U.S. Forest Service and NM State Forestry, contractors, oil companies, and others, forming the San Juan Basin Cooperative Weed Management Area. This cooperative agreement allows us to successfully manage invasives in the region.
Below are the three main project areas that San Juan SWCD focuses on to manage invasives. For information about our Herbicide Cost-Share Program, click here.
Inventory & Mapping
San Juan SWCD uses AgTerra Technologies, Inc.'s MapItFast GIS/GPS data logging system to create yearly comprehensive maps of weed infestations in our district and in nearby areas. With this technology, we can track severity and development of infestations of different species, produce new documentation of road and infrastructure disturbances, and accurately calculate acreage of infestation and treatment when we work with contractors to manage weeds.
Managing Disturbed Areas
Ecologically disturbed areas (such as roads, well pads, and gravel pits) give invasive species a chance to establish themselves, since native plants are taken out and normal conditions are altered. Once invasives are established, they can more easily spread and infest other areas. A priority of the District, then, is managing disturbance infestations before they get bigger. First, our field crew documents invasives along oil & gas roads and well pads, road right-of-ways, and gravel pits. We then work with contractors from around the Four Corners to treat and manage these infestations using methods that are chemically and seasonally appropriate to each weed species.
Historic overgrazing in our District has put native grass populations under pressure, allowing a native shrub, big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), to grow more densely. This shift in the ratio of grasses to sagebrush not only disrupts the ecological processes that those plants are part of, but also leaves less available biomass for livestock grazing. San Juan SWCD partners with various agencies to aerially treat sagebrush, which gives native grasses the opportunity to reestablish themselves.