Invasive species are plants, animals or other organisms that are non-native to a given ecosystem and whose introduction causes economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. Invasive aquatic and riparian species like northern pike, smallmouth bass, quagga mussels, tamarisk or Russian olive in Colorado streams and rivers presents management challenges to landowners, conservation groups, resource agencies, and other stakeholders. The dense growth patterns of invasive plants displace native plant species along rivers and streams, reducing plant and wildlife diversity, blocking river access for recreation and agriculture, channelizing waterways, and increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires. Aquatic fish species classified as pests regularly outcompete native species and sport fish alike, changing recreational angling opportunities.
Assessments of the presence/absence/extent of invasive species
Time series species extent comparisons
Vegetation success modeling
Potential Data Sources
The 2009 Colorado River Basin Tamarisk and Russian Olive Assessment houses comprehensive databases and maps characterizing tamarisk and Russian olive infestations throughout the entire Colorado River Basin.
Colorado Dept. of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed Program has data and mapping resources for invasive plant species in Colorado counties
LandFire Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools
Interviews with local land owners
Rio Grande, Conejos River, and Saguache Creek Stream Management Plans
Using a contractor, this SMP conducted a site-level riparian vegetation assessment, with sites distributed across the priority streams. In addition, remote sensing was used to assess a wider landscape. Both assessments looked at the presence/absence of invasive vegetation, among many other variables.