Invasive Species

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Invasive Species are a big threat to the overall health of the Carson River Watershed.  CWSD works to help coordinate identification and treatment of Nevada listed noxious species on a watershed-wide basis.  CWSD provides funding to the Coordinated Weed Management Areas throughout the watershed to further efforts in the watershed.  CWSD staff attends quarterly meetings with each CWMA, and facilitates opportunities for communication between coordinators at CRC working group meetings, CRC forums and other events.

There are four Coordinated Weed Management Areas (CWMA) in the Carson River Watershed:

  • Alpine/Upper Carson Weed Management Area, covering Alpine and Douglas Counties; Contact LeeAnne Mila at 530.621.7403 or
  • Carson City Weed Coalition, covering Carson City; Contact Daniel Anderson at 775.882.2262, ext 7035  or
  • West Central Lyon County Weed Management Area, covering Dayton Valley and a portion of Storey County. Contact Rob Holley at 775.246.1999 or
  • Churchill County Weed Management Area, covering Lahontan Valley. Contact Nancy Upham at 775.423.2828 or

CWSD also works with Nevada State Parks and the Nevada Department of Wildlife to strategize solutions to aquatic invasive species as well.

What are Invasive Species?

Invasive species are plants and animals that are not native to a particular area. They are capable of causing severe damage in areas outside their normal range, harming the economy, the environment, or human health once they become established.

Invasive species are found in water and on land. Invasive species can occur in just about every habitat type, including the Carson River, agricultural fields and even your backyard. A few of the common species found on land in the Carson River Watershed include Canadian Thistle, Medusahead, Perennial Pepperweed, Russian Knapweed, and Hoary Cress. A few of the common species found in the water include Eurasian Water Milfoil and Curly Leaf Pondweed.  For more information about aquatic invasive species, visit NDOW’s website.

How Do Invasive Species Spread?

All species are capable of spreading short distances through natural dispersal mechanisms, such as wind, rain, animals, soil, and water. When species are in their native habitat, short distance is rarely a problem because the surrounding species have evolved to coexist for the most part.

On the other hand, long distance spread of species is typically human assisted.  Because long distance spread can often take the species to a non-native habitat, the native species in that area are not poised to coexist with their new neighbor.  The introduced species have a competitive advantage and are free to expand their population as they lack natural enemies.  They are also able to easily compete for resources, leaving less for the native species in that area.

Why Should I Care?

Nevada, like most states, has statutes which address the control of insects, pest, and noxious weeds.   Every property owner is responsible for controlling noxious weeds on their property.  Noxious weeds are listed by the state as “any species of plant which is, or likely to be, detrimental or destructive and difficult to control or eradicate.”  Click here for a list of Nevada Listed Noxious Weeds.

What You Can Do!

Unless we can slow the spread of invasive species, life as we currently know it will change dramatically; from where we live and work, to the places we go, the products we buy, how we relax and play with our kids. All of it has the potential to change with the spread of invasive species.  Because so much of the spread is associated with the activities of private individuals, it’s up to us to become informed, attentive, and accountable for our potential role in the spread of invasive species.

For additional resources and to learn about Nevada\’s Weed Free Certification Program, click here.