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Grand Canyon National Park
What can you say about the 1.2 million acre Grand Canyon? Species diversity is quite high due to 8000 ft of elevational differences, as well as the riparian environment at the bottom of the canyon. Countless cracks and crevices in the canyon walls provide additional habitat for specialized plants. Twelve endemic plants hail from the canyon, found only within the park borders. The endangered Sentry milk-vetch occurs here as well as the Grand Canyon rose and Grand Canyon suncup which are both listed as Species of Special Concern.
Over 180 non-native plants constantly threaten the Grand Canyon and make up approximately 10% of the flora found here. These include Tamarisk, Camethorn, Cheatgrass, Puncturvine, Date Palm and the ever-present Sahara Mustard. Park biologists are actively removing Tamarisk from all of the tributaries of the canyon. Camelthorn is particularly invasive and has taken over some critical beaches and campsite areas. The roots can penetrate up to 45 feet deep and 24 feet from the plant to the detriment of native plants and native animals who feed on those plants or use them for shelter, nesting materials, etc.