National Park Service

Southern Plains Network (SOPN)

Exotic Plant Monitoring

Cheatgrass at Washita Battlefield NHS
Cheatgrass at Washita Battlefield NHS

Exotic Plants Monitoring Briefs

Exotic Plants Monitoring Reports

Exotic Plants Monitoring Protocols & Procedures

For more information contact:
Tomye Folts-Zettner


Exotic plants represent one of the most significant threats to natural resources in national parks. Exotic plants are a concern due to their abilities to reproduce prolifically, rapidly colonize new areas, displace native species, alter ecosystem processes across multiple scales, and detract from the interpretive value of park resources. In the Great Plains, grasslands have been increasingly degraded and fragmented, which results in increasing chances of exotic plant species invasions. Invasive exotic plant monitoring was recognized across all Southern Plains Network (SOPN) parks as the most important shared monitoring need.

Network Park Units Where Exotic Plants Will Be Monitored

  • Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
  • Capulin Volcano National Monument
  • Chickasaw National Recreation Area
  • Fort Larned National Historic Site
  • Fort Union National Monument
  • Lake Meredith NRA & Alibates Flint Quarries NM
  • Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park
  • Pecos National Historic Park
  • Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
  • Washita Battlefield National Historic Site

Long-term Monitoring

Sampling methods have been designed to detect incipient invasions of exotic plants in areas most favorable for invasion. High-priority introduction vectors have been identified for all parks and sections are annually monitored in three-year rotations to 1) detect exotic species introductions early, 2) determine changes in the status and trend (density, abundance, or extent), and 3) determine changes in species composition. When found, location, extent and abundance data will be collected on exotic populations to assist park management and Exotic Plant Management Teams with eradication efforts. Detection and treatment information is communicated among all parties to better inform monitoring and control efforts.

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Last Updated: April 12, 2017 Contact Webmaster