Invasive Species

Donation Goal: $65,920

Borrego Springs is uniquely positioned to develop Nature Tourism – a low-water-use activity that capitalizes on Borrego Springs’ geographic location at the heart of the thousand square mile Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Borrego Springs is known worldwide for its spectacular display of springtime wildflowers. This internationally acclaimed extravaganza of natural beauty is one of the many reasons why Borrego Springs can develop Nature Tourism as its next economic driver. It is also the epicenter of an infestation of an invasive plant – Volutaria tubulifora – an “A-rated” invasive weed present in sufficiently limited distribution that eradication or containment is possible.


Volutaria tubuliflora is a new invasive plant species that threatens the Borrego Springs region's flora and fauna, including the springtime displays of wildflowers. The known economic and environmental detriment caused by Volutaria earned it the state of California designation of “A-rated,” indicating the highest level of urgency in eradicating this threat before it spreads out of control. The largest population of Volutaria tubuliflora in North America spreads over several thousand acres in Borrego Springs. Without sustained containment effort, this Volutaria will spread unchecked into the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and throughout the deserts of the Southwestern United States.


Failure to control Volutaria will result in less water in the soil for wildflowers to grow and perennials to thrive and reproduce. Dense patches of Volutaria can out-compete native desert plants for water, exacerbating the effects of climate change on desert flora. Containment for this invasive species will occur in two steps:

  1. Limiting the spread of Volutaria at the periphery of the infestation

  2. Stopping the accidental hitchhiking/spreading of seeds from highly visited sites such as wildflower fields or the Galleta Meadows statues.


Efforts to control Volutaria have thus far involved a diverse community and organizational response. To execute the objectives proposed, the Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy will partner with numerous organizations including the Anza-Borrego Foundation, Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Borrego Springs Invasive Plant Task Force, the California Invasive Plant Council, the UCI Steele/Bernand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, the San Diego Agriculture Commissioner’s Office, and the University of California Cooperative Extension.


There are four main components of this proposed work plan:

  1. Contain the spread along the perimeter of the infestation

  2. Contact, and partner with, private landowners whose properties are infested

  3. Continue removal efforts in high priority areas

  4. Secure significant government funding to exterminate Volutaria from the Borrego Springs Region