Invasive Species Growing at Philmont
Like most private landowners in the United States, Philmont began battling invasive weeds decades ago. In 2010, the
Ranch hired three seasonal staff members to study and address its specific weed problems. Based in the Conservation
Department, the three specialists laid down the groundwork of invasive plant research and control on the Ranch.
The Invasive Species Team collects data in order to gain an accurate idea of the spatial distribution of invasive
species across Philmont Scout Ranch. Partnering with both participants and other Philmont staff, the Invasive Species
team works to both provide education about these species and involvement in collecting information. The data that is
collected is then used to provide information to the Ranch for statistical analysis and for the future creation of a
control plan of the invasive species found on the property. A day in the life of an Invasive Species Team member could
involve either mapping excursions, invasive removal, or office work, which could consist of researching control
methods, preparing information for backcountry camps, or writing reports.
The overarching goal of the Invasive Species Team is to inventory known and unknown populations of invasive plants
across the ranch and to organize the data in a geographic information system (GIS). The Team uses geographic
positioning system (GPS) devices to map the populations of plants, and then submits the data to the Philmont GIS
staff. In 2010, they monitored 214.4 miles of invasive plant spreading avenues, or trails, roads, and river corridors.
In August of 2010, the Invasive Species Team released biological control agents on two types of plants: spotted
knapweed and Canada thistle. The bugs were the spotted knapweed seed head weevils, Larinus minutes/obtusus, spotted
knapweed root weevils, Cyphocleonus achates (both released in the Cimarron Canyon), and Canada thistle stem weevils,
Hadroplontus litura (released at Miranda and Rich Cabins). The Team also works with volunteers and staff members to
remove invasive weeds. In 2010, the Team worked with over 550 volunteers and staff members and complied over 3,000
hours of invasive weed removal.