Alongside the diverse and beautiful native plants for which Jefferson County and Jeffco Open Space parks are known, a range of nonnative and invasive species also occur. Some species are a legacy of past land-use, while others are more recent invaders of Front Range ecosystems. These species have substantial negative impacts on native species and habitats, as well as additional impacts on people and communities. For example, invasive species displace native plants, degrade wildlife habitat, reduce the beauty of Jefferson County landscapes, and can even increase the risk of wildfire.
The Natural Resources team uses a science-based integrated management approach consisting of mowing, targeted herbicide application, biocontrol, hand-removal, and cultural control (such as using native plant species). The team carefully plans invasive species treatments to maximize human safety and treatment effectiveness, while minimizing disturbances to Park visitors and impacts to the surrounding landscape. Long-term monitoring of treated areas helps guide adaptive management, and integrated research allows for new methods to be tested prior to being integrated into standard operating procedures. The Natural Resources team also collaborates closely with the County Invasive Species Management Coordinator across all phases of planning and implementing treatments.