June 6, 2010--Collaboration is critical for sustaining healthy rivers (Grand Junction Sentinel)

June has been designated Great Outdoors Month by presidential proclamation since 2004. This year, the president has been joined by the governors of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming and a dozen other states in encouraging Americans this June to renew our commitment to protecting our water, air, and majestic landscapes for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. In the Colorado River basin, a tremendous collaborative effort to address invasive species and restore riparian lands demonstrates that working together, we can do just that. In his proclamation of Great Outdoors Month, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter highlighted the Colorado River as one of the state’s natural wonders. But this treasure also belongs to residents of all seven basin states, and is deserving of the attention and stewardship of all of us. One pervasive threat in the Colorado River watershed is invasive plants, including tamarisk, commonly known as salt cedar, and Russian olive. Cornell University researchers in 2004 estimated that “invading alien species in the United States cause major environmental damages and losses adding up to almost $120 billion per year.”

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