The riparian area of the Mojave Desert has been seriously damaged through the years by off-road vehicle use, grazing, reduced water flow and the invasion of exotic plant species, resulting in reduced biological diversity. The dwindling numbers of native bighorn sheep, because of inhibited travel due to the populations of exotic tree species, exemplifies this species decline. Afton Canyon is a rare and critical oasis for numerous bird and other wildlife species, several of which are threatened. The major objective of this BLM project is the removal of exotic saltcedar, a water-demanding tree species which contributes to the reduced river flows, and the re-establishment of native tree species through proper management techniques. An additional 3,000 native cottonwood and willow poles were planted within Afton Canyon during the 1997-99 field seasons.
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