Fifteen years ago tamarisk leaf beetles which feed only on salt cedar trees were brought in to help control this invasive species which grows along river banks in the West. The beetles have been so successful, that an unanticipated consequence of this loss of habitat has resulted in endangering the Southwestern willow flycatcher. This songbird lives along rivers and streams in the Southwest, and research has shown that it has been building nests in the salt cedar trees during the breeding season.
Because a large percentage of this habitat from Utah to Texas has declined since the beetles were first introduced in New Mexico, government agencies and private organizations have been removing non-native tamarisk to make room to plant native vegetation to provide habitat lost by the decimation of the salt cedar trees. Although the habitat has rebounded as a result of renewed rain in the Southwest, scientists will now be watching to see how the flycatcher will adapt to the growing beetle population.