Download the compiled Great Basin Factsheet Series 2016: Information and tools to conserve and restore Great Basin ecosystems.

For hard copies of the compilation, contact Génie MontBlanc, Great Basin Fire Science Exchange Coordinator, at (775) 784-1107 or

Limiting Medusahead Invasion and Impacts in the Great Basin

July 8, 2015

Great Basin Fact Sheet No. 2: Limiting Medusahead Invasion and Impacts in the Great Basin

By: Kirk W. Davies and Dustin Johnson


Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) is an exotic winter annual grass from Eurasia. It is critical to limit the spread of medusahead invasion because it decreases biodiversity, degrades wildlife habitat, reduces livestock forage, increases the risk of frequent wildfires, and changes how ecosystems function. This fact sheet provides managers with strategies to reduce the spread and impact of medusahead.

In Brief:

  • Medusahead invasions decrease biodiversity, degrade wildlife habitat, reduce livestock forage, increase the risk of frequent wildfires, and change how ecosystems function.
  • Seed dispersal occurs primarily via vehicles and animals.
  • Short-distance dispersal can be reduced by applying selective herbicides, and planting competitive vegetation (such as perennial grasses) around infestations.
  • Long-distance dispersal requires limiting contact with vectors, maintaining “weed-free” zones, and controlling livestock rotations in infested areas.

Click here or on the image below to download a PDF of this fact sheet.

GB factsheet 2 pic

This fact sheet is part of the Great Basin Fact Sheet Series compiled collaboratively by WAFWA, USFS, BLM, NRCS, RMRS, ARS, USGS, and FWS. The series provides land managers with brief summaries of current science concepts and management strategies related to conservation and restoration of the sagebrush sea.


The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership-based, science-driven effort that uses voluntary incentives to proactively conserve America’s western rangelands, wildlife, and rural way of life. This initiative is part of Working Lands For Wildlife, which is led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.