The reduction of tamarisk and Russian olive, in coordination with state and local agencies, has been underway for several years along the Colorado River and nearby areas. Multiple methods have been employed to remove the invasive species which have degraded wildlife habitat, blocked access to the river, and created other problems. Mechanical treatments, prescribed fire, and hand cutting followed by herbicide application have been commonly used methods to remove tamarisk and Russian olive.
The invasive plants in high priority sites along the river have been successfully removed and the area is ready for planting and reseeding. This fall, approximately 200 acres will undergo revegetation efforts. The Southeast Utah Youth Corps, a local contractor, and volunteers will be assisting BLM crews in the revegetation efforts.
In October, native cottonwood trees and willows will be planted along stream banks where the tamarisk and Russian olive have been removed. Other sections of the treatment areas will be reseeded in November with a mix of native grasses and shrubs.
Special efforts will be taken at campgrounds along State Route 128 and the Kane Creek Road where larger containerized cottonwood trees will be planted and watered to restore the popular areas more quickly. Additionally, dormant native willows will be “pole-planted” in the late winter to provide additional ground cover and campsite screening. BLM’s pole-planting of willows at a campground in April had a nearly 100 percent survival rate.
The is part of a larger effort to reduce invasive tamarisk along the Colorado River following the introduction of the tamarisk leaf eating beetle by state and local agencies.