You are here



  • Protecting Wildlife When Using Herbicides for Invasive Plant Management

    Produced by the California Invasive Plant Council & Pesticide Research Institute

    Controlling invasive plants is often a high priority when protecting wildlife habitat, and those working to protect wildlife from invasive plants want to be sure their approach is safe for wildlife. This manual of Best Management Practices focuses on how land managers can best protect wildlife when using herbicides to control invasive plants. While any invasive plant control method can potentially impact wildlife, chemical control methods are the focus of this report. The toxicology information presented shows data on herbicides most commonly used for invasive plant management in California natural areas.

    The Best Management Practices are drawn from methods used by experienced land managers. Along with providing guidance for land managers, this document is designed to inform the interested public about how herbicides are used to control invasive plants in natural areas.  

  • This guidebook provides a practical synthesis of the best available science for using beaver to improve ecosystem functions. If you are a restoration practitioner, land manager, landowner, restoration funder, project developer, regulator, or other interested cooperators, this guidebook is for you. The overall goal of this document is to provide an accessible, useful resource for those involved in using beaver to restore streams, floodplains, wetlands, and riparian ecosystems. Although the guidebook summarizes current information about how to use beaver in restoration and conservation, the knowledge base on this subject is rapidly expanding. This means that not all of the information provided has been peer reviewed in scientific journals; some of it is instead based on the real-life experience of restoration practitioners who are conducting ongoing experiments on using beaver to restore habitat. Thus the guidebook is a compilation of the current best available science, and we expect to update it regularly as the science progresses, readers provide information from their ongoing restoration experiments, or from restoration efforts of which the authors are currently unaware. 
  • This helpful guide helps users identify bees of the western United States; a key is provided, as are numerous photos and descriptions of defining characteristics. 

  • This site provides information on Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas history, methods, results, and the latest publication. With a publication date of November 2016, by the Colorado Bird Atlas Partnership and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, The Second Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas (L. E. Wickersham, Ed.) provides a wealth of information on the distribution, habitat use, and breeding phenology of Colorado’s birds.

  • This Trout Unlimited Report describes the many and varied threats facing native and wild trout in this country. Threats have evolved over time, from agriculture and mining practices of the past to a new suite of problems related to four primary issues: energy development, introduction of non-native species, increasing water use and demand, and climate change. Legacy problems remain in many areas and their impacts are compounded by these emerging challenges.

  • Focused on Texas, this guide describes approaches to manage riparian habitat for wildlife species. 

  • This biodiversity scorecard provides a snapshot of the current conservation status of Colorado's rare and imperiled species, and its most widespread ecological systems. The Colorado Natural Heritage Program
    took a systematic and repeatable approach to these assessments, focusing on: quality, quantity, threats, and level of current protection. Resulting scores for these factors were then combined to produce an overall conservation status score. Successful implementation of a comprehensive conservation strategy should result in maintaining or improving these scores over time.
  • This paper presents results of research on total insect abundance in both invasive and native dominated riparian areas.

  • Authors:

    Sharlene E. Sing, Research Entomologist, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Bozeman Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Montana State University Campus – FSL, Bozeman, MT
    Kevin J. Delaney, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Pest Management Research Unit, Northern Plains Agricultural Laboratory, 1500 N. Central Avenue, Sidney, MT 59270, Environmental Services Department, Costco Wholesale, Issaquah, WA


    Abstract: The primary goals of a two-day Russian olive symposium held in February 2014 were to disseminate current knowledge and identify data gaps regarding Russian olive biology and ecology, distributions, integrated management, and to ascertain the feasibility and acceptance of a proposed program for classical biological control of Russian olive. The symposium was hosted by the Northern Rockies Invasive Plant Council in conjunction with NRIPC’s 3rd Invasive Species in Natural Areas Conference, held February 10-15, 2014, in Spokane, WA. Funding to support the Russian olive symposium was received through a USDA NIFA AFRI Foundational Program grant awarded in response to the ‘Controlling Weedy and Invasive Plants’ (A1131) program priority area. Talks delivered by invited research subject experts were interspersed with facilitated large group and smaller breakout group discussions. Key invited management and stakeholder representatives also discussed first-hand experiences with Russian olive as a conflict (invasive and beneficial) species in the western U.S., and provided details about the implementation and efficacy of current Russian olive IPM options. The symposium was ultimately initiated to help establish an atmosphere of dialogue and trust among researchers, policy makers, stakeholders and resource managers. This highly focused forum allowed participants to gain a common and updated understanding of many important aspects of the biology, ecology and management of Russian olive. This in turn contributed to productive dialogue, identifying, and hopefully mitigating conflicts of interests about the potential biological control of Russian olive.

  • Authors:
    Kent R. Mosher, Heather L. Bateman
    Amphibians and reptiles (herpetofauna) have been linked to specific microhabitat characteristics, microclimates, and water resources in riparian forests. Our objective was to relate variation in herpetofauna abundance to changes in habitat caused by a beetle used for Tamarix biocontrol (Diorhabda carinulata; Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and riparian restoration. During 2013 and 2014, we measured vegetation and monitored herpetofauna via trapping and visual encounter surveys (VES) at locations affected by biocontrol along the Virgin River in the Mojave Desert of the southwestern United States. Twenty-one sites were divided into four riparian stand types based on density and percent cover of dominant trees (Tamarix, Prosopis, Populus, and Salix) and presence or absence of restoration. Restoration activities consisted of mechanically removing non-native trees, transplanting native trees, and restoring hydrologic flows. Restored sites had three times more total lizard and eight times more yellow-backed spiny lizard (Sceloporus uniformis) captures than other stand types. Woodhouse’s toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii) captures were greatest in unrestored and restored Tam-Pop/Sal sites. Results from VES indicated that herpetofauna abundance was greatest in the restored Tam-Pop/Sal site compared with the adjacent unrestored Tam-Pop/Sal site. Tam sites were characterized by having high Tamarix cover, percent canopy cover, and shade. Restored Tam-Pop/Sal sites were most similar in habitat to Tam-Pop/Sal sites. Two species of herpetofauna (spiny lizard and toad) were found to prefer habitat components characteristic of restored Tam-Pop/Sal sites. Restored sites likely supported higher abundances of these species because restoration activities reduced canopy cover, increased native tree density, and restored surface water.
  • The focus of this report is to describe management techniques for ducks and geese that breed in or migrate through Colorado, although much of the information is applicable to waterfowl management elsewhere in North America.

    • Invasive species disturb ecosystems and threaten biodiversity. Invasive species management, such as biological control, can cause additional disturbances, so quantifying how native species respond to invasive control is important
    to inform best management practices
    • We quantifed southwestern bird communities in sites that varied in the amount of the non-native plant tamarisk (Tamarix spp.), before and after biological control efforts
    • Following biocontrol, we found significant differences in community composition and diversity, and several bird species declined by ≥30%
    • Bird declines were ameliorated in the presence of native vegetation, consistent with the hypothesis that tamarisk biocontrol decreases prey availability and alters microclimate
    • We recommend land managers monitor areas dominated by tamarisk after biocontrol, and if re-establishment of native vegetation is slow or lacking, consider the feasibility of active restoration
  • Bringing Birds Home is a manual that describes how to proactively improve riparian habitat for bird species in Mesa County, Colorado.  

    This guide was made possible by a grant from the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and was produced by RiversEdge West, with help from the Grand Valley Audubon Society, Tucson Audubon Society, and Audubon Arizona.

    Author(s): R. Roy Johnson; Steven W. Carothers; Deborah M. Finch; Kenneth J. Kingsley; John T. Stanley
    Fifty years ago, riparian habitats were not recognized for their extensive and critical contributions to wildlife and the ecosystem function of watersheds. This changed as riparian values were identified and documented, and the science of riparian ecology developed steadily. Papers in this volume range from the more mesic northwestern United States to the arid Southwest and Mexico. More than two dozen authors - most with decades of experience - review the origins of riparian science in the western United States, document what is currently known about riparian ecosystems, and project future needs. Topics are widespread and include: interactions with fire, climate change, and declining water; impacts from exotic species; unintended consequences of biological control; the role of small mammals; watershed response to beavers; watershed and riparian changes; changes below large dams; water birds of the Colorado River Delta; and terrestrial vertebrates of mesquite bosques. Appendices and references chronicle the field’s literature, authors, "riparian pioneers," and conferences. >> Volume 2 is also available on Treesearch:
  • The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has published a new handbook for Habitat Restoration and Management of Native and Non-native Trees in Southwestern Riparian Ecosystems. This Handbook addresses wildlife use of non-native riparian habitats, including tamarisk, Russian olive, and Siberian elm. It also provides recommendations for restoration of riparian habitats following chemical, mechanical, and/or biological control of non-native trees. This handbook is available as an attachment to this email and will also be posted at along with other guidelines for minimizing impacts of specific land use practices on wildlife and wildlife habitats.

    Changes in Large And Medium-Sized Mammals Associated with Riparian Revegetation Activities along The Las Vegas Wash, Nevada
    Jason Eckberg1* and Julia Lantow1
    1 Southern Nevada Water Authority, Las Vegas, NV, USA;,
    Over the past 20 years, restoration efforts along the Las Vegas Wash have resulted in significant habitat changes. Over 500 acres of wetland, upland, and riparian habitat has been restored along seven miles of this urban waterway. The Las Vegas Wash Wildlife Management Plan was created in 2008, established management objectives and laid out additional baseline monitoring of wildlife in this changing environment. From 2009 to 2011, the first iteration of a large and medium-sized mammal study was conducted using motion-triggered camera traps. This study recorded eight target species including three species not seen in the subject area since the early 1970s; striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), Western spotted skunk (Spilogale gracilis), and ring-tailed cat (Bassariscus astutus) and recommended that future work focus on riparian habitat where these were all found. The second iteration of the study ran from 2018 through 2019 and recorded eight target species, all in restored riparian habitats. Five of the eight species recorded in the previous study were identified again with the two skunks and ring-tailed cat not being among them. Three new species were identified in this second iteration; gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), bobcat (Lynx rufus) and black rat (Rattus rattus). The results exemplify the ever-changing habitat and associated wildlife along the Las Vegas Wash as restoration efforts are implemented and riparian vegetation matures.
  • This Audubon report synthesizes scientific linkages between water and birds in the arid West at a regional scale. It documents the changes that have taken place that threaten the ability of these critical habitats to support healthy populations of birds, focusing on two main geographies: riparian systems of the Colorado River Basin and a network of saline lakes in the Intermountain West. The report complements Audubon's work in the region, by describing key places and species, and establishing relationships between water, habitat, and birds. 

  • Valerie J. Horncastle, Carol L. Chambers, Brett G. Dickson

    First published: 13 January 2019



    Livestock grazing and fire can intensively modify montane meadows. Understanding how these factors affect habitat, species richness, and diversity of small mammals can inform management decisions. Few studies have investigated the independent and synergistic effects of grazing and wildfire on vegetation and small‐mammal communities, and none have focused on montane meadows in the southwestern United States. In 2012 and 2013, we captured small mammals at 105 sites to contrast occupancy, species richness, and diversity among livestock grazing levels (present, absent), wildfire severity (unburned, low, or moderate), and meadow classifications (small or large, wet or dry) in Arizona, USA. During 13,741 trap nights, we captured 1,885 rodents of 8 species. Two species represented 88% of captures: deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) and Arizona montane vole (Microtus montanus arizonensis). Deer mice, Navajo Mogollon voles (Microtus mogollonensis navaho), and thirteen‐lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus monticola; a subspecies endemic to the White Mountains, AZ) had higher occupancy in large, ungrazed meadows compared to small, grazed meadows. Species richness was greater in unburned than burned sites and small meadows than large. However, higher diversity occurred in ungrazed and dry compared to grazed and wet meadows. Three species demonstrated weak relationships between wildfire and occupancy, suggesting short‐term (<2 yrs) effects of low to moderate burn severity for these species or their habitat. Livestock grazing had a greater effect than wildfire on the small‐mammal community by altering vegetation or other habitat elements and thus decreasing population sizes. Reducing livestock grazing would benefit small‐mammal species and increase diversity and abundance of the small‐mammal community in montane meadows. © 2019 The Wildlife Society.

  • Mesquite bosques are characterized by stands of mature mesquite trees with low-stem density and a dense, closed canopy. These habitats are known to support a diversity of native plants in the understory and wildlife. In an effort to restore a bosque structure to a velvet mesquite community, scientists with The Nature Conservancy implemented a tree thinning experiment in 1998 at Bingham Cienega Natural Preserve (the Preserve), a 115-ha site on the San Pedro River owned by the Pima County Flood Control District. The site was revisited for monitoring in 2017, 19 years after the thinning occurred.

  • Author(s): Steven W. Carothers; R. Roy Johnson; Deborah M. Finch; Kenneth J. Kingsley; Robert H. Hamre
    In the Preface to volume 1, we discuss the development of riparian ecology as one of the newest of ecological fields that gained significant momentum in the 1950s and 1960s as part of the general “riparian movement” in the United States. The field expanded rapidly throughout the latter half of the 1900s. Volume 2 involves more than two dozen authors - most with decades of experience - who expand upon riparian and other topics introduced in volume 1. Two important recent developments are global climate change and impacts of introduced tamarisk leaf beetles (Diorhabda spp.) in the American West. Other chapters in volume 2 that provide current information evaluate the losses of riparian habitat, including “extirpation” of a large number of mesquite bosques (woodlands) in the Southwest; the restoration of riparian ecosystems damaged by anthropogenic activities; the importance of a watershed; and the importance of riparian ecosystems to recreation. The combination of volumes 1 and 2 examines the evolving understanding of scientific implications and anthropogenic threats to those ecosystems from Euro-American settlement of the region to present. >> Volume 1 is also available in Treesearch:
  • This site allows users to enter their zip code to view a list of the best plants for birds in their area, as well as local resources and links to more information. 

    Private Lands Stewardship: Connecting People, Birds and Land
    Kelsea Holloway1*, Lauren Connell2, Angela Dwyer3
    1Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Greeley, Colorado, US;
    2Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Fort Collins, Colorado, US; lauren.connell@birdconservancy .org
    3Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Fort Collins, Colorado, US; angela.dwyer@birdconservancy .org
    Reversing the decline of bird populations in North America requires creative solutions that transcend fence lines, funding sources, and individual agency goals. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies partners with federal, state, non-governmental agencies, and private landowners to conserve birds and their habitats through an integrated model of science, education and private lands stewardship. Private lands stewardship is vital to bird conservation, as more than 70% of land in the U.S. is privately owned. Due primarily to habitat loss both bird abundance and wetland and riparian habitats have significantly declined since the mid-1900s. We present a collaborative model for addressing declines of wetland and riparian habitats on private lands by connecting landowners with conservation planning, funding opportunities, and other resources to mutually benefit their agricultural operations, land, water and wildlife habitat. We will present examples of collaborative solutions including prescribed riparian grazing plans, wetland restorations and management, invasive species control, and educational workshops. Our biologists achieve increased conservation as integrated members of their agricultural communities, where they build relationships that influence hearts and minds. Together we can provide a world where birds are forever abundant, healthy landscapes persist, and humans can be inspired by their curiosity and love of nature.

RiversEdge West's

mission is to advance the restoration of riparian lands through collaboration, education, and technical assistance.