Leveraging the results of an invasive saltcedar leaf beetle impact monitoring study to create a risk assessment and restoration prioritization tool on the Middle Rio Grande, NM

Project ID: 22025
Principal Investigator: Kristen Dillon
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2022, 2023 and 2024
Keywords: None

Research Question

How can we mitigate the impacts of the invasive saltcedar leaf beetle (Diorhabda spp.) on the largest remaining Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (SWFL) breeding population before the population experiences catastrophic habitat loss? Given limited time and resources, how can we evaluate risk to the species and prioritize action?

We hypothesize that we can integrate the results of our ongoing Diorhabda impact assessment research, 25 years of SWFL research on the Rio Grande, and detailed habitat maps to develop an actionable tool that can be used to prevent SWFL population decline, rather than taking less effective and more costly reactionary steps to recover the population after severe loss has already occurred. This project will develop a two-part tool that will evaluate and rank risk to occupied SWFL habitat and prioritize native-dominated habitat for restoration and expansion. Uniquely, it will create an actionable plan for proactive conservation of this endangered species, rather than default to reaction in the face of catastrophic population decline as has occurred in other regions.

Need and Benefit

The specific research needs that the project meets include: invasive species impact assessment, monitoring, risk assessment, and response tool development. This proposal fulfills one of the top four Invasive Species Priorities in the EN Roadmap: it determines the impacts of invasive species and mitigation measures to protect site-specific threatened and endangered species. This proposal was coordinated with Sherri Pucherelli, the Invasive Species Coordinator, throughout development.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 6/22/20