May 29, 2014--Coalition makes ground on war with tamarisk (Cortez Journal)

A coalition of land managers, ecologists, and young adults have been slowly eradicating invasive plant species on the Lower Dolores River the last five years. On the frontlines is the Dolores River Restoration Partnership, formed in 2009 to restore native habitat on 175 miles of the river - from McPhee Dam to the confluence of the Colorado River. The war on the non-native tamarisk plant is especially showing results, said Mike Wight, river restoration director with Durango-based Southwest Conservation Corps. "We've really tackled the tamarisk problem, with an initial treatment that covered 1,105 acres," he said. "We're seeing 767 acres trending towards native vegetation and are continuing to monitor all our worksites." Controlling the pervasive tamarisk plant is improving access to the river, bringing back native plant habitat, and opening up views of the river from scenic byways like Colorado 141. "Removing tamarisk also reduces fire risk, opens up land for cattle grazing, and improves wildlife habitat," Wight said. "For boaters and recreationists, it clears areas for additional camping along the shore."

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