Community Stewardship


Community based stewardship involves people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives learning and working together on local initiatives, and actively participating in decisions that affect their lives.  It assumes that communities that possess good information, broad based dialogue, inspired leadership and strategic support are best able to set themselves on a path toward ecological, social and economic sustainability.

Stewardship In Action

Field Experiences For Youth Groups
Habitat Restoration Field Experiences are hands-on, service -learning opportunities for school classes, scout troops, church groups or youth organizations and can be tailored to meet the education goals of your class.  All events occur rain or shine, over roughly a three hours at a designated project site.
What to Bring/wear:
  • refillable watter bottle and sack lunch
  • work clothes, closed toe shoes
  • copy of our youth liability waiver signed by each participant’s legal guardian.
We Provide:
  • all tools and gloves
  • staff and work plan
Legacy Projects:
  • From the Greenhouse: participants play an active role in one of the first phases of restoration -potting native plants at the greenhouse to be used on restoration sites.
  • Forest structure and function: participants learn the functions and various values of our unique forests and how they integrate river and terrestrial ecology. Field service participants help remove invasive species to prepare or re-vegetation or assist with on-going maintenance of previsous restoration or trail construction.
  • Ecological site inventories and monitoring: participants become “citizen scientists” as they track the success of our previous restoration efforts by conducting vegetation surveys and site inventories.
Arundo donax L. (Giant Reed)
Giant reed is a tall perennial grass that can grow to over 20 feet in height. It chokes riversides and water channels, crowds out native plants, interferes with flood control, increases fire potential and reduces habitat for wildlife. Giant reed reproduces through rhizomes which root and sprout readily and quickly. Once established giant reed has the ability to outcomplete and completely suppress native vegetation. Areas infested with giant reed are best restored through chemical means with systemic herbicides such as glyphosate (Rodeo). Mechanical control (repeated mowing) may be somewhat effective.  Once giant reed has been reduced sufficiently, native plants may be seeded or transplated at the treated site.
Tamarix aphylla (L.) Karst (Athel tamarisk)
Salt cedar plants are spreading shrubs or small trees (5-20 feet in height) with numerous slender branches and small alternate, scale-like leaves. The pale pink to white flowers are small perfect and regular arranged in spike-like racemes. Saltcedars are fire-adapted species and have long tap roots that allow them to intercept deep water tables and interfere with natural aquatic systems.  They disrupt the structure and stability of native plant communities and degrade native wildlife habitat by outcompeting and replacing native species, monopolizing limited sources of moisture, and increasing the frequency, intensity and effect of fires and floods. Management of saltcedars requires a long term commitment to maintain at low levels and prevent reinfestation.  A combination of chemical and mechanical and biological is most effective.
Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Brazilian peppertree)
The Brazilian peppertree can grow to 40 feet in height with a trunk diameter of 3 feet. The tree responds to abrupt changes in its environment with heavy growth, acting as an opportunistic pioneer species (first species to establish in a disturbed area).  A turpentine or pepper fragrance is given off upon crushing the leaves.  Fruit are small red berries.  The tree forms dense thickets, shading out native grasses and shrubs, taking over native forests.  This tree is considered one of the greatest threats to native biodiversity for its dramatic affect on both plant and animal  communities.  Management  for established trees consists of applying a herbicde containing glyphosate or triclopyr to the cut stump immediately after cutting.
Melia azedarach L. (Chinaberry tree)
Deciduous tree to 50 feet in height and 2 feet in diameter, lacy dark-green leaves having a musky odor and clusters of lavender flowers in spring yeilding persistent, poisonous yellow berries. Chinaberry outcompetes native vegetation due to its high relative resistence to insects and pathogens. Its leaf litter raise soil pH, altering soil conditions for native plants and seed germination.  The tree is very fast growing and will reache18-24 feet in 5 years. The most effective management is chemical control to the cut-stump.  Removal of seedlings must include the entire root system.

Your Help Make It Possible
This program is currently supported by grants and donations. With your help we can extend our reach and provide programs to more communities.  We are a registered 501c3 non-profit corporation and all donations are tax deductible.

The Rio Bravo Wildlife Institute is a 501c3 nonprofit, established in 2009 as a Massachusetts state non-profit corporation to inspire positive environmental awareness and action. The organization is based in Brownsville, Texas.