Group launches program to reduce tamarisk, other invasive plants on private lands along Dolores River
Jul 12, 2012 | 596 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Dolores River Restoration Partnership has announced plans to work with private landowners who are interested in reducing tamarisk and other invasive plants as a way to “improve forage, enhance wildlife habitat, or meet other objectives,” according to a news release from the group.

Since 2009, the partnership has grown to include private citizens, land managers, private businesses and foundations, youth conservation corps crews, volunteers, non-profits, and scientists. Together, they have worked to foster a thriving Dolores River system that is ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable for multiple uses.

“The invasion of tamarisk is of particular interest to the partnership because of tamarisk’s competitiveness. Its extensive growth can displace native vegetation, impair habitat and forage, and increase risks associated with wildfire,” officials said in the news release.

This summer, the group is initiating a new voluntary program to support restoration work on private lands located below McPhee Dam to the Dolores River’s confluence with the Colorado River.

“We have received grants from private foundations and agencies that understand the importance of these collaborative efforts and are very excited to start delivering habitat improvement projects,” said Rick Schnaderbeck, with the U.,S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.

Schnaderbeck emphasized that, many times, habitat work can start as early as one month after he meets with a landowner.

The partnership has already begun riparian restoration work on several private lands located near Gateway, Colo., and the stateline area. Federal, state, and local agencies are working with nonprofit groups and private landowners to remove tamarisk, Siberian elm, and Russian knapweed and to replace these and other invasive species with native grasses, forbs, and trees, according to the news release.

Shane Burton, a private landowner near Gateway, recently worked with the group to remove tamarisk on his property.

“I’m continuously amazed at how many people care about restoring the vegetation and habitat along the Dolores and am very hopeful about getting my property back to a vital state.”

In the coming months, Burton will continue to work with the partnership to restore and revegetate his property, according to the news release.

For additional information about the partnership or the opportunities along the Dolores River, contact Rick Schnaderbeck, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 970-270-0599, Rick_Schnaderbeck@fws.gov; Daniel Oppenheimer, Tamarisk Coalition, 970-256-7400, doppenheimer@tamariskcoalition.org; Peter Mueller, The Nature Conservancy, 970-728-5291, pmueller@tnc.org; or visit the Partnership’s website at ocs.fortlewis.edu/drrp/.

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