Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge

Partner or Volunteer with the 
Rio Mora NWR Invasives Project

Rio Mora NWR is ramping up for its 2015 Volunteers and Invasive Plants season.

In addition to identifying, mapping, and removing invasive plants, we will continue an effort to catalog local native plants that can be used to restore disturbed sites, create a herbarium, and collect local native plant seeds.

Everyone is welcome to participate. In addition to removing invasives and gathering seeds, we are looking for volunteers interested in helping with plant catalogs and herbarium development and with our public education and outreach efforts.

Invasive removal workdays have been scheduled for the last Satrudyas of May, June, Jult, and August. A seed harvesting workshop is scheduled for Saturday, September 19. Additional workshops and work days will be scheduled as resources and volunteer interest permit.

Individuals and organizations interested in participating in the project should contact Joe Zebrowski, Friends of Las Vegas NWR, at 505-426-2146 or

For more information about the USFWS Invasive Species program and the importance of invasive species management, see

Information about Rio Mora NWR can be found at and

Additional background on this project:

in 2014, Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge received an Invasive Species Management with Volunteers grant from the USFWS Region 2. The grant, which has been renewed for 2015, is intended to engage volunteers in inventory, monitoring or control of invasive species (plant, animal or pathogen) on a National Wildlife Refuge or Wetland Management District. The USFWS defines an invasive species as “one that is not native to an ecosystem and which causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” 

The Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, in cooperation with the Denver Zoo, submitted a proposal to use locally collected native plant seeds to restore sites treated for invasive plants.

The legacy of overgrazing, disruption of historic fire regimes, and other disturbances at the new Rio Mora NWR have led to encroachment by invasive plants. Treatment of such sites should include some level of restoration that includes seeding and/or replanting with native plant species. Commercial sources for native plants and plants seeds are derived from sources at some distance from the Refuge. We would like to minimize the introduction of genetic material from outside the immediate vicinity by harvesting seed from plants on the Refuge and developing a seed bank that can be used for future restoration.

This project consists of surveying Rio Mora NWR for invasive species and healthy populations of native plants suitable for restoration, developing a plan for the sustainable harvesting of native seed on the Refuge, the training of volunteers in seed harvesting procedures, conducting seed harvesting and plant events, creation of a restoration demonstration site, and the acquisition of supplies and equipment needed for harvesting, storing and planting native species at Rio Mora NWR. As part of this project, a herbarium collection of native and exotic plants present at the Refuge will be established. A seed bank of locally harvested seeds will also be created. Seed collection and storage will follow guidelines established by the highly successful National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management “Seeds of Success” program (

Volunteer workshops and workdays are being scheduled to remove invasive plants from selected sites at Rio Mora NWR, collect native plant seed, and restore treated sites. Volunteers will have the unique opportunity to work at Rio Mora NWR, which is currently closed to the public. In addition to field work involving invasive plant removal, seed collection and site restoration, volunteers will learn skills in plant identification, sustainable seed harvesting, and restoration techniques. Volunteers are also welcome to help with the management of this program and its events.

Rio Mora NWR, photo by Joe Zebrowski

volunteersresultsCheatgrass, Bromus tectorum L. Image courtesy USDA Plants Database

Planning visit to treatment site - photo by Rick McNeill

Treatment Area Mar 28 2014 - photo by Rick McNeill

Friends of Las Vegas (New Mexico) National Wildlife Refuge

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