Arundo donax (Carrizo Grande / Giant Cane) in Cuatro Ciénegas


See also related documents from the Cuatro Ciénegas Arundo Control Working Group:

Minutes of the June 2005 Arundo Control Symposium in Cuatro Ciénegas

September 1, 2005 - Draft Cuatro Ciénegas Arundo Control Plan

July 3, 2006 - Report on experiments on Glyphosate toxicity to Cuatro Ciénegas cyanobacteria

September 30, 2006 - pre-press, bilingual version of:

Suzanne McGaugh, Dean A. Hendrickson, Gary Bell, Hernando Cabral, Kelly Lyons, Lucas McEachron, and Oscar Muñoz J. (in press 10/2006). Fighting an aggressive wetlands invader: A case study of Giant Reed (Arundo donax) and its threat to Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, México / Luchando contra una especie ribereña, invasora y agresiva: Un estudio de caso del Carrizo Grande (Arundo donax) y la amenaza que representa para Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, México. In: Studies of North American Desert Fishes in Honor of E. P. (Phil) Pister, Conservationist, edited by Ma. de Lourdes Lozano-Vilano and A. J. Contreras-Balderas, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México:Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas.

October 16, 2007:

Alberto Contreras-Arquieta and Miguel A. Cruz-Nieto. 2007. Control de la planta invasora Arundo donax, en Cuatro Ciénegas, un centro de gran biodiversidad de especies endémicas de flora y fauna de Norteamérica. Monterrey, NL, México:Proanatura Noreste, A.C. Acuerdo 98210-6G058 - Reporte a US Fish and Wildlife Service:1-58.

October 17, 2007:

Alberto Contreras-Arquieta. 2007. Investigación sobre la distribución de la planta invasora Arundo donax (carrizo gigante) en la cuenca del Río Bravo / Investigation of the distribution of the invasive Weed Arundo donax (Giant Reed) in the Río Grande Basin. Monterrey, NL, México:Proanatura Noreste, A.C. Proyecto de Colaboración USDA - PNE; Project No. 6204-22000-019-10S:1-15.


By: Dean Hendrickson and Suzanne McGaugh (July 2005)

Table of Contents

What is Arundo? / ¿Que es Arundo?

Where did Arundo come from? / ¿De donde es Arundo?

Why worry about it? / ¿Porque preocupe?

Santa Ana Watershed case study / Estudio del caso de la cuenca de Santa Ana

What is the history of Arundo in Cuatro Ciénegas, where is it established now, and what is the future outlook? / ¿Que es la historia de Arundo en Cuatro Ciénegas, donde está establecido ahora, y que es el pronóstico?

Will Arundo heavily impact Cuatro Ciénegas and downstream areas? / ¿Impactará fuertemente a Cuatro Ciénegas y áreas por abajo?

Projected Cuatro Ciénegas water losses due to evapotranspiration (ET) by Arundo and comparisons with ET of native vegetation / Proyecciontes de pérdidas de agua en Cuatro Ciénegas debido a evapotranspiración (ET) por Arundo y comparaciones con ET de vegetación nativa

What can be done about Arundo in the Cuatro Ciénegas area? / ¿Que se puede hacer sobre el problema de Arundo en el Area de Cuatro Ciénegas?

Where has Arundo been found in the Cuatro Ciénegas Protected Area? / ¿Donde se encuentra Arundo en el Área Protegido de Cuatro Ciénegas?

How to Identify Arundo in Cuatro Ciénegas / Como identificar Arundo en Cuatro Ciénegas

Other resources / Otros Recursos

Literature cited / Literatura Citada

What is Arundo?

Giant reed (Arundo donax) is a robust perennial grass from about 3 to more than 9 meters tall, growing in many-stemmed, cane-like clumps, spreading from horizontal rootstocks below the soil, and often forming large colonies many meters across. Individual stems or culms are tough and hollow, divided by partitions at nodes like bamboo. The pale green to blue-green leaves, which broadly clasp the stem with a heart-shaped base and taper to the tip, are up to two feet or more in length. Giant reed produces a tall, plume-like flowerhead at the upper tips of stems, the flowers closely packed in a cream to brown cluster borne from early summer to early fall. Culms may remain green throughout the year, but often fade with semi-dormancy during the winter months or in drought. Giant reed can be confused with cultivated bamboos and corn, and in earlier stages with some large-stature grasses such as Leymus (ryegrass), and especially with Phragmites (common reed), which is native to North America, less than three meters tall and has panicles less than about 30 cm long with long hairs between the florets. Compared to Arundo florets, those of Phragmites are much more open. (we elsewhere provide more information on how to distinguish Arundo from Phragmites and a brief discussion of the apparent recent expansion of Phragmites in the Cuatro Ciénegas valley).

At almost 3.4 tons dry weight per hectare , Arundo standing biomass ranks among the highest recorded on this planet, and it is one of the world's fasted growing plants with new stems growing up to 70 cm / week. Much more information about the biology and ecology of this startling invasive is available in a summary authored by Thomas Dudley on the California Invasive Plant Council website. Much of the information presented here comes from that paper.

Where did Arundo come from?

Giant Reed is often considered indigenous to the Mediterranean Basin (Hickman 1993) or to warmer regions of the Old World, but apparently it is an ancient introduction into Europe from the Indian sub-continent (Bell 1998). It is naturalized and invasive in many regions, including southern Africa, subtropical United States through Mexico, the Caribbean islands and South America, Pacific Islands, Australia, and Southeast Asia (Hafliger and Scholz 1981). Giant reed was brought to North America quite early, as it was abundant by 1820 in the Los Angeles River, where it was harvested for roofing material and fodder. Arundo and Phragmites are both used for roofing in the Cuatro Ciénegas area, with an apparent preference for the larger Arundo. Many roofs in the central, older parts of the town of Cuatro Ciénegas were built more than 100 years ago with cane. Careful study of roofs with known construction or repair dates might be one way to shed light on the date of arrival of Arundo in the region.


Why worry about it?

The impacts of Arundo are extensive and costly in many ways. It has had heavy impacts on native and endangered species, wastes massive quantities of water, causes extremely hot and damaging fires, and greatly increases flood damages.Such impacts are now very well documented for many places elsewhere in North America and much information is readily available via Internet. Millions of dollars are being spent to control this invasive plant and the damages it causes. We refer those interested in learning more about Arundo and its control to the extensive information and links to other sites avaiable through excellent web-based resources such as those of Team Arundo del Norte and the Team Arundo pages published by the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority.

Realizing that many interested in the potential impacts of this invasive plant in Cuatro Ciénegas may not have time or ability to peruse all of the extensive information available on the web (almost all of it available only in English), we here provide a succinct summary of the impacts of Arundo and the importance of controlling it via a brief account of a single, very well documented case study from California:


Santa Ana Watershed case study:

The Santa Ana River is southern California's largest river. Though only about 160 km long, it drains an area of 686,347 hectares that extends from the arid and hot Mohave desert and adjacent high mountains into the city of Los Angeles where it is an important contributor to that city's water supply. Its great importance to the City of Los Angeles has resulted in it being very well studied and intensively managed. In 2001 Arundo was estimated to cover about 4,047 hectares in this watershed and the water lost to evapotranspiration by this plant was estimated at 37,096,920 m3 per year. Evapotranspiraton by Arundo here is estimated to be about 3 times that of native vegetation and the Santa Ana River Project Water Authority (SAWPA) estimated the value of that annual water loss to Arundo in the watershed at $18.2 million dollars. Elimination of Arundo and conversion back to native riparian vegetation here could thus save $12 million dollars annually. Additionally, Arundo exacerbates the impacts of floods and is highly flammable and so contributed to extensive property damage in the basin, and it has multiple adverse impacts on native and endangered fauna and flora. Consequently, local government and non-profit groups joined forces ( to control this invasive weed, and in 2002 a 5-year plan to remove Arundo from the watershed was implemented with $20 million dollars allocated to the first three years of this effort.

What is the history of Arundo in Cuatro Ciénegas, where is it established now, and what is the future outlook?

We have yet to thoroughly survey the entire ANP for presence of Arundo, but what was know as of summer of 2004 was reported by McEachron, Hendrickson and McGaugh at the 2004 meeting of Cuatro Ciénegas researchers, and Hendrickson's presentation at that same meeting reviewed what he could find out about the history of Arundo in the region and its potential environmental impacts. It is not known exactly when Arundo first invaded the Cuatro Ciénegas valley, but photographic documentation from not far downstream between El Cariño de la Montaña and Celemania provides some clues. As seen in a this series of photos

the type locality for the later-named endangered endemic darter, Etheostoma segrex, was photographed in 1961 by its first collector, Dr. Robert R. Miller. His photo shows a small river flowing through an open mesquite grassland with ample shallow riffle habitat with little shading by riparian vegetation. In Miller's photo, one very small stand of Phragmites or Arundo is visible in the lower right corner, but by 1968, the locality had been converted to a massive stand of the native reed, Phragmites,

as photographically documented a short distance upstream by the botanist, Donald Pinkava, well known for his botanical explorations of the area. Phragmites is very similar to Arundo, and though it seems unlikely that Dr. Pinkava erred and identified what was really Arundo as Phragmites, the possibility remains and specimens that Pinkava may have deposited at Arizona State University should be verified. Nonetheless, by 2001, the entire river bottom along the highway through this area had been converted to the monspecific and very dense stand of Arundo donax that everyone who drives the highway through the canyon sees today.

The river is now dammed by a small structure almost exactly at the darter's type locality photographed by Miller in 1961, and above the small impounded area

the river now flows at very high velocity through a narrow, deep and almost completely shaded channel, made that way by the dense encroachment of Arundo.

Access to the river anywhere in the canyon is extremely difficult due to the wide and very dense Arundo, the riffles on which the darter used to live are now gone, the stream is almost completely shaded, and the species is exceedingly rare (Hendrickson 2002 pers. observ.). Transition from native riparian communities to mono-specific, impenetrable stands of Arundo that drastically alter the natural morphology and habitat availability of hydrologic systems can thus obviously occur very rapidly in the region.


Will Arundo heavily impact Cuatro Ciénegas and downstream areas?

Though mostly still small, stands of Arundo now know to be established at widely scattered locations in the ANP could eventually expand to transform the sun-drenched and stromatolite-harboring Rio Mesquites and other rios and pozas of the ANP into habitats more closely resembling the Río Salado that now flows past El Cariño de la Montaña and Celemania (see photos above). If so, most all of the native, endemic organisms that now live there will disappear and the water flowing out of the valley will be greatly reduced by the high evapotranspiration rate of Arundo.

Arundo has clearly established massive stands with heavy impacts just downstream of the ANP and widely scattered small stands have been discovered in the ANP over the last few years. The arid environment of Cuatro Ciénegas is similar to that of the Santa Ana River basin in California. There is no reason to expect, nor data to indicate, that Arundo stands in the ANP will not expand as the species has done in the El Cariño and Celemania areas. The native riparian vegetation of the ANP's valley floor consists of very low clump grasses and low-lying salt-tolerant plants which (though quantitative studies have yet to be done) undoubtedly transpire far less water than does Arundo. Arundo could easily change the fully exposed rivers and pozas of the ANP to highly shaded, much narrower and higher velocity stream systems unfavorable to persistence of the native aquatic flora and fauna. Nutrient cycling in the valley's aquatic ecosystems will be dramatically altered. Arundo's record-setting high metabolism and extremely high standing biomass will quickly lock up large stores of nutrients formerly available to the native biota. Arundo is inedible to all but a handful of organisms, so nutrients once stored in edible materials will be largely unavailable. Not only will human access to these water bodies be highly impeded by impenatrable walls of Arundo, but the shading will kill stromatolites and there will be cascading effects throughout the rest of the ecosystem. Unlike the native bunch grasses, the high stem density and homogeneous nature of Arundo stands will impede movement of native biota, such as the highly mobile endemic box turtle. Arundo will be the tallest plant growing on the valley floor, and thus likely to attract the frequent lightning commonly associated with summer monsoons. This, combined with the record-setting high standing biomass of Arundo and it's incredible flamability, will increase fire frequency and intensity (heat) throughout the valley, focus fires on sensitive riparian areas, and make them much harder to control. Arundo is barely affected by fire, as evidenced by this photo of Benigno Vasquez showing participants in the Arundo workshop of June 2005 how quickly it regrows after burning.

Benigno manages the canal above Cuatro Ciénegas for the city and claims that evapotranspiration by Arundo removes 50% of the discharge of that now small canal. His observations concur with documentation of Arundo's high evapotranspiration rates in the scientific literature (below). Especially in the dry and windy desert air of this area Arundo would greatly decrease surface flows, resulting in less aquatic habitat for native biota. Diminished discharges will have increased water temperature variance and adverse impacts on the many endemics that are highly adapted to the stable temperatures of the valley's springs and their outflows.


Projected Cuatro Ciénegas water losses due to evapotranspiration (ET) by Arundo and comparisons with ET of native vegetation

Though the extremely high evapotranspiration (ET) of Arundo donax is widely cited in gray literature, citations of source data are rarely provided and/or the data are in terms that are not useful (e.g. lacking areal or temporal dimensions – e.g. “…as much as 2,000 L/meter of standing A. donax” (Iverson 1994)) for comparing the ET of Arundo to that of other types of vegetation. We could find only two studies that appear to provide potentially valid or usefully quantified estimates. A European study focusing on the potential of the plant for biomass production contains the statement, “Maximum water consumption (3.22 l/day/m2) was recorded between 13 August and 12 September, due to the higher evapotranspiration [that] occurred at that period” (Anonymous 2005), but with no indication of how the estimate was obtained. Tricia Zimmerman (pers. comm. 2005), provided information from her studies of Arundo and Salix growing in experimental plots at Sonoma Creek, Sonoma Co., California. This is part of her work in progress in the Masters of Science degree program at San Francisco State University, California, preliminary results of which were published (Zimmerman 1999). The data she provided are for mid-day water loss for 2 days during June. The stands she studied are very similar in stature and stem density to those of the Cuatro Ciénegas area, but temperatures in her study area were lower and humidities higher than in Cuatro Ciénegas, so ET of Arundo in Cuatro Ciénegas would likely exceed what she found. We used her data to conservatively calculate yearly ET by assuming that Arundo in CC might evapotranspire at the levels she recorded during the period from 1 hr after sunrise to 1 hr before sunset during 8 months of the year. Our estimates consider that Arundo would be dormant (not transpiring at all) outside of those daily hours and during all of 4 months of the year. This is obviously a huge, but reasonable simplification that, if anything, would likely underestimate actual ET in Cuatro Ciénegas. Applying the reasoning just explained to Zimmerman’s data, however, produced an estimate of Arundo ET in Cuatro Ciénegas of 6,326 liters/m2/year or, on average, 17.3 liters/m2/day.

As recently comprehensively reviewed by Shafroth et al. ( 2005) (see Table 1), other riparian vegetation common in the area of Cuatro Ciénegas has been demonstrated to have generally far lower ET. They found 9 studies that estimated ET for the notoriously invasive Salt cedar. Evapotranspiration estimates for that plant range from 0.6 to 3.4 and average 1.21 m/year (= 3.3 liters/m2/day). As reviewed in the same study, millions of dollars are invested every year in the U.S. and elsewhere in Salt cedar control efforts, primarily because of its high ET. The same study reported results of two studies of mesquite ET and 6 of ET for mixed mesquite, salt grass, sacatón and annuals (including several estimates from northern México) – communities very much like those found natively in riparian areas throughout the APFFCC and formerly downstream. The ET estimates for these communities ranged from 0.11 to 1.6, and average 0.6 m/year (= 1.64 liters/m2/day), or about half the average for Tamarisk (Salt cedar). The data we have found for Arundo thus indicate its ET to be anywhere from equal, to more than 10x, that of Tamarisk, and more than 20x as great as the ET of the native riparian vegetation of CC.

Table 1 - Adapted from Shafroth et al. 2005.

ET estimates
(m/yr) mm/d
Vegetation type min mean or single value max min mean or single value max
Saltcedar 1.20 2.10 3.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Saltcedar 1.00 2.20 3.40 2.74 6.03 9.32
Saltcedar 0.70 1.92
Saltcedar 1.30 3.56
Saltcedar 1.70 4.66
Saltcedar 0.70 1.05 1.40 0.00 6.25 12.50
Saltcedar 1.10 1.15 1.20 1.00 5.50 10.00
Saltcedar 0.60 0.85 1.10 1.64 2.33 3.01
Saltcedar*** 9.05 24.80
means (excluding ***) 0.80 1.21 1.23 0.88 4.46 8.50
Cottonwood 1.40 2.35 3.30 3.84 6.44 9.04
Cottonwood 1.13 1.61 2.08 3.10 4.40 5.70
Cottonwood 1.00 1.10 1.20 1.00 5.00 9.00
Cottonwood*** 7.12 19.50
means (excluding ***) 1.18 1.69 2.19 2.65 5.28 7.91
Mesquite 0.58 0.40 0.88 1.60 1.10 2.40
Mesquite 0.60 0.65 0.70 1.64 1.78 1.92
means 0.59 0.53 0.79 1.62 1.44 2.16
Salt grass / saltcedar 0.70 0.75 0.80 1.00 3.50 6.00
Salt grass 0.30 0.75 1.20 0.82 2.05 3.29
Salt grass 0.40 1.02 1.64 1.10 2.80 4.50
Sacaton grass 0.11 0.35 0.58 0.30 0.95 1.60
Bare soil & sparse annual weeds 0.22 0.60
Annual weeds, grasses & bare soil 0.60 0.65 0.70 1.64 1.78 1.92
means 0.42 0.62 0.99 0.97 1.95 3.46
Mean Mesquite,salt grass, weeds 0.47 0.60 0.93 1.16 1.82 3.09
= from Shafroth et al. 2005, otherwise calculated here from their data
= outliers (generally indicating inconsistency in units within study or out of line with others for same veg type



To apply these ET estimates for various riparian vegetation communities to Cuatro Ciénegas, and for various hypothetical scenarios of Arundo invasion there, we measured (from INEGI topographic maps) the Saca Salada canal from its diversion (at Puente Dos Cuates) to its confluence with the Santa Tecla canal, finding it to be slightly less than 23 km long. Below the confluence of those two canals near where they discharge from the valley, these two canals together carry about 152 million liters/day from the Cuatro Ciénegas valley into the Río Salado de los Nadadores system (Brad Wolaver, University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D. student, unpublished data, pers. comm. 8/7/2005). The Saca Salada canal contributes about 80% of that total (Brad Wolaver, unpublished data, pers. comm. 8/7/2005).

Arundo is now established at both ends of the Saca Salada canal with isolated stands of various sizes found intermittently along it. Should Arundo establish a continous stand along the banks of Saca Salada canal and extend only 1 m from the water’s edge (a very conservative estimate), such a stand would have an area of slightly less than 46,000 m2. Using the two available ET estimates, such a stand of Arundo would evapotranspire anywhere from 147,798 to 795,516 liters per day (or about 0.1 – 0.5% of the combined canals’ total discharge from the CC valley). Further downstream on the same system is the large stand of Arundo that fills the valley floor in the canyon alongside the CC-Monclova highway in the area of Celemania and Cariño de la Montaña. From satelite imagery we estimate this stand to cover about 1,012,500 m2 (101 ha). The same ET estimates applied to this stand indicate that Arundo there evapotranspires anywhere from 3,260,250 to 17,548,150 liters per day, or from 2.4 to 11.54% of the discharge from the CC valley. ET losses to Arundo lining the Saca Salada canal and in the Cariño de la Montaña valley would thus sum to about 2.5 to 12% of the total water that leaves the CC valley. By comparison, if the same areas were vegetated by native vegetation, only 0.05% would be lost along Saca Salada canal and 1.09% more would be lost in the Cariño de la Montaña valley. Thus, if native vegetation lined the canals and replaced Arundo downstream of the CC valley, at least 10% of the water now leaving the APFFCC could be retained for conservation uses there and the current deliveries to downstream water users could be maintained.

Finally, when interpretting the estimates made here, it’s important to note that our estimates of current and potential future losses of water to Arundo in the CC area are likely conservative due to: 1) the highly conservative estimate of the width of the stand that might establish along Saca Salada canal; 2) our certain underestimate of the extent of Arundo in the El Cariño – Celemania area; and 3) the total lack of accounting in our estimates for expansion of Arundo in the APFFCC, which is highly probable unless control efforts are soon implemented. There is no reason to expect that the total areal extent of Arundo in the APFFCC, with its broad areas of very shallow groundwater, will not eventually greatly exceed that of the stand in the El Cariño – Celemania area. Using estimates based on Zimmerman’s studies (as explained above), we calculate that Arundo coverage amounting to only 0.85% of the 84,000 hectare APFFCC in the Río Mesquites system would completely dry the Rio Mesquites system above its diversion into the Saca Salada canal. Even if Zimmerman’s estimates are wrong and Arundo ET is no more than that indicated by the many sound studies of Tamarisk ET (Shafroth et al. 2005), only about 4.5% coverage of the APFFCC by Arundo (or Tamarisk) would be required to dry the Río Mesquites before it reaches the Saca Salada canal. Obviously, regardless of the ET data source chosen for the estimates, agricultural areas downstream of the CC valley would be severely impacted, if not completely eliminated, by continued displacement of native riparian vegetation by Arundo in the CC area, and many of CC’s endangered, endemic species would undoubtedly be lost to the drying, shading and other impacts of Arundo.

What can be done about Arundo in the Cuatro Ciénegas area?

In June of 2005, a workshop was held in Cuatro Ciénegas to discuss the invasion of Arundo in the region. Minutes of the event are available here. Funding from The Nature Conservancy and Pronatura allowed us to invite experts familiar with Arundo control in the United States, as well as other interested persons from diverse parts of Mexico, to participate in the workshop. We first took visiting experts to see the Arundo stands that we had documented within the Reserve, as well as the well-established stand between El Cariño and Celemania. We then held a public discussion, at which experts provided basic information and recommendations, and the group began the process of developing the outline of a draft Cuatro Ciénegas Arundo Control Plan. The plan includes a list of participants and minutes from the workshop. The extensive experience with Arundo control elsewhere clearly indicates that a "Best Available Technologies" approach should be applied in all control programs and the workshop participants agreed that this advice will be followed in Cuatro Ciénegas. However, Cuatro Ciénegas is obviously a very special and sensitive Protected Area and the workshop participants therefore recognized that the technologies that might be applied may thus be limited and that their impacts on the highly specialized and unique Cuatro Ciénegas ecosystem should be carefully considered and evaluated before actions are taken. Though mechanical removal and other methods may be useful in some settings, the SAWPA plan and all other control plans that have acheived any degree of success all agree that herbicide applications MUST be used in all cases to achieve successful control, and the workshop participants all agreed that herbicide applications would thus be necessary within the Natural Protected Area (ANP). As agreed at the meeting, the permitting process for herbicide application in the ANP was started immediately by staff of the ANP office, and plans to conduct preliminary studies of the potential impacts of the chosen herbicide on stromatolites and other components of the native Cuatro Ciénegas ecosystem were also put in motion. At least, thanks to early detection, herbicide application in core parts of the Reserve appears to be needed only for very small, isolated stands of Arundo, such as this one in the river immediately above its diversion into the Saca Salada canal (at Puente Cuatas)

though these are scattered widely across the ANP. In more peripheral areas of the APFFCC, such as the lowermost portions of the Saca Salada canal

Arundo along the lower reaches of the Saca Salda canal in summer 2005

and agricultural areas SE of the municipio of Cuatro Ciénegas, much larger stands have established that will require considerable effort and perhaps additional technologies to eradicate. Downstream of the ANP, the very large stand of Arundo between El Cariño and Celemania (see photos above), and throughout the riparian areas between the ANP and that stand, and continuing downstream from Celemania, have not been thoroughly surveyed, but obviously Arundo erradication there will require massive efforts. But, since control efforts should proceed from headwaters (i.e. in the ANP) downstream, it may be some time before control efforts reach the El Cariño/Celemania area. It is, however, a concern that Arundo may quite rapidly cause the extinction of the endemic Rio Salado darter found only in this small area. If status surveys for this species show that to be the case, more rapid Arundo control action there may be necessary to prevent extinction of the fish.


Where has Arundo been found in the Cuatro Ciénegas Protected Area?

Small patches of Arundo donax are widely established in the Cuatro Ciénegas Valley. If you have the program Google Earth (GE) installed on your computer, click here for an interactive map (.kmz) file that will open in GE. In GE you can zoom in and out and explore the descriptions of each locality, including exact coordinates of each site and often images. Alternatively, get Google Earth for free, install it and come back, or have a look at the static image below captured from Google Earth (in which a number of sites overlap).

Google Earth view of Arundo localities


How to Identify Arundo in Cuatro Ciénegas

The similar native plant, Phragmities australis, is sometimes difficult to distinquish from Arundo donax in Cuatro Ciénegas. If flowers spikes or seeds are present, identification is easy, but if not, one must look more closely. Photos taken by Dean Hendrickson of two side by side stands of the two species near Poza Santa Tecla in the far southeast corner of the Cuatro Ciénegas valley in May 2006 nicely illustrate the differences.


Other resources:

The comprehensive and carefully researched SAWPA and Team Arundo del Norte websites provided much of the information that went into development of the Cuatro Ciénegas Arundo workshop and development of the Cuatro Ciénegas Arundo control plan. Additionally, much of the other material available from SAWPA and Team Arundo del Norte, such as public education materials (e.g. "wanted posters") and other information could be readily adapted for use in Cuatro Ciénegas control and public education efforts. The Landowners handbook and other educational materials from Team Arundo del Norte were also particularly helpful.


Literature cited:

Anonymous (2005) Giant reed (Arundo donax L) network improvement of productivity and biomass quality, - Biological Materials for Non-Food Products; BioMatNet c/o CPL Press, Liberty House, The Enterprise Centre, New Greenham Park, Newbury, Berks RG19 6HW, UK. Tel: +44 1635 817408, Fax: +44 1635 817409. Available from accessed (22 August 2005).

Iverson, M.E. (1994) The impact of Arundo donax on water resources. IN: Jackson, N. E., Frandsen, P. & Douthit, S. (Ed) November 1993 Arundo donax Workshop Proceedings, Ontario, California, 19-25.

Shafroth, P.B., Cleverly, J.R., Dudley, T.L., Taylor, J.P., Van Riper, C., III, Weeks, E.P. & Stuart, J.N. (2005) Control of Tamarix in the Western United States: Implications for Water Salvage, Wildlife Use, and Riparian Restoration. Environmental Management, 35, 231-246.

Zimmerman, P. (1999) Rates of transpiration by a native willow, Salix exigua, and by a non-native invasive, Arundo donax, in a riparian corridor of northern California. IN:Proceedings of the California Exotic Pest Plant Council. California Exotic Pest Plant Council, Sacramento, California

Return to / Regrese a Cuatro Ciénegas Home Page | DFC Home | TNHC FISH Home maintained by / página a cargo de Dean A. Hendrickson