Invasive plants pose a significant threat to Yosemite’s cherished high-elevation meadows, where they out-compete native flora for valuable resources. If left untreated, invasive grasses and flowers can throw entire ecosystems out of balance, replacing native plants and reducing food and habitat availability for an array of animals, including rare amphibians and pollinators.

This 2016 grant allowed park crews to continue restoring and protecting Yosemite’s high country meadows by eliminating invasive plants. Work focused on the small but threatening subset of Yosemite’s 275 non-native plant species growing in isolated populations at high elevations.

Park staff and volunteers surveyed more than 2,100 acres of high-altitude habitat, searching for invasive plants in popular roadside places, such as Tuolumne Meadows, and in more remote backcountry areas, such as along the Pacific Crest Trail. As part of their efforts, the crews paid special attention to locating and treating several high priority non-native plants, including dandelion, cheatgrass and velvet grass.

In addition to engaging 12 different volunteer groups, this project gave three Student Conservation Association (SCA) interns the chance to gain valuable experience in habitat restoration and wilderness preservation. As they worked together to preserve Yosemite’s alpine biodiversity, the staff, volunteers and interns made tangible progress toward ensuring that native wildflowers and wildlife can thrive in their high-altitude homes.

Your gifts helped protect important habitat in an inspiring alpine landscape. Thank you for supporting your park!

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park and Student Conservation Association.

Garrett Dickman

Division of Resources Management and Science

Project Notes

A decade ago, high elevation areas were considered immune to invasive plants because conditions were too harsh. We now know montane to alpine ecosystems are indeed vulnerable to invasion. Tuolumne and Merced are the highest priorities for treatment because of their remoteness and the high quality habitat at risk. If we do not treat them now, we could lose high elevation habitat to these invaders.