Invasive Tree Removal and Restoration Project for McMillan Mesa Natural Area

Signals (April 5, 2021)

The 300-acre McMillan Mesa Natural Area is one of the last intact native grasslands within the city of Flagstaff and provides habitat for deer, prairie dogs, American kestrels, and other fauna. To preserve the native grassland, the city of Flagstaff’s Open Space Program will work with partners to remove invasive trees, starting on April 7, 2021.

Six large Russian Olive trees and over 100 Siberian Elm trees were identified for removal, mainly along the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS) and Arizona Trail within the McMillan Mesa Natural Area. Removing these trees will reduce invasive plant populations, allowing native plants to thrive while protecting the native grassland from tree encroachment. This project will also help make the area more resilient to wildfire. Given that these invasive trees provide shade and buffer along popular recreational routes funding for canopy restoration efforts will be pursued to replace removed vegetation with native tree species in areas most impacted.

Russian Olive and Siberian Elm invade grasslands and meadows, use and hold large amounts of groundwater, form dense thickets that close open areas, and displace native vegetation. For questions about the invasive tree removal and restoration project for McMillan Mesa Natural Area, contact Robert Wallace at 928-213-2154 or


To read the article online or to listen to the audio story, click here.