The Southwestern Crown is defined by the wildlife that lives within its borders. It’s one of a handful of places in North America that has no known extinctions of its iconic, native plant and animal species in modern times. But while this legacy of wildness has persisted over time, introduced species pose a serious threat to the productivity and resilience of the landscape. Our goal is to ensure that our wildlife legacy continues to endure in the coming centuries.
Numerous invasive plant species, such as spotted knapweed, leafy spurge and what seems like a constant barrage of new invaders, are out-competing native species of wildflowers and grasses, resulting in altered ecosystem structure and function. Landowners, managers, and biologists understand how noxious weeds reduce diversity and abundance of native species and diminish the ecosystem services the region provides – including the high quality forage for both wildlife and livestock. Noxious weeds can even contribute to soil erosion by outcompeting native plants that naturally stabilize the soil.
In addition to fighting noxious weeds, much of our work to remove old roads and help thin thick underbrush can help enhance and revitalize habitat for a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic species.