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McCarran Ranch Preserve

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Invasive Species at McCarran Ranch Preserve
Tall whitetop, invasive plants and weeds, McCarran Ranch Preserve, Truckee River, Reno, Nevada, NV

Tall whitetop is one of the worst invasive weeds infesting the McCarran Ranch Preserve east of Reno and Sparks, Nevada.

Photo © Stan White

One of the major goals at the McCarran Ranch Preserve project is the control and elimination of invasive species plants. No plant is more a symbol of this problem than tall whitetop. It's not only spread throughout the Preserve, it has infested virtually every corner of Nevada. Along the Truckee River, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) estimates that about 20,000 acres have been overrun with tall whitetop.

Tall whitetop and invasive weeds in general are not a minor issue. They are expensive to control and have significant economic impacts on recreation and agriculture in Nevada and across the country. UNCE reports that invasive weeds cause an adverse economic impact of about $123 billion a year in the United States.

UNCE urges all of us to become involved in eradicating the scourge of tall whitetop - "Help us protect our environment, economy and water quality by joining the war on weeds The key to controlling tall whitetop and other invasive weeds is to catch them when they're a $10 problem, not a $10,000 problem. Be on the lookout. If you spot tall whitetop, dig it out and watch it carefully. If the infestation is large, call your local Cooperative Extension office at (775) 784-4848. Your call will help us map infestations so that control measures can be started and evaluated. It will likely take several years, so let's begin the battle now."

Sources: Nature Conservancy McCarran Ranch Preserve website, Nature Conservancy Field Notes: Conservation News in Nevada.

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