Tamarisk control: Tamarisk is not the water hog it has been made out to be

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From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dave Buchanan):

A recent study by the U.S. Geological Service says tamarisk, commonly known as saltcedar, consumes no more water than native plants such as cottonwoods and willows. Also, the report says tamarisk-dominated landscapes aren’t totally inhospitable to wildlife. Reptiles, amphibians and birds, including the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher, use and breed in tamarisk stands. The report was requested by Congress asking for a review of the scientific literature about tamarisk and Russian olive to assess the impacts, distribution, water consumption and control methods for the two invasive species.

Click through to if you want to download the report. Here’s the pitch from the authors:

The primary intent of this document is to provide the science assessment called for under The Saltcedar and Russian Olive Control Demonstration Act of 2006 (Public Law 109–320; the Act). A secondary purpose is to provide a common background for applicants for prospective demonstration projects, should funds be appropriated for this second phase of the Act. This document synthesizes the state-of-the-science on the following topics: the distribution and abundance (extent) of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) and Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) in the Western United States, potential for water savings associated with controlling saltcedar and Russian olive and the associated restoration of occupied sites, considerations related to wildlife use of saltcedar and Russian olive habitat or restored habitats, methods to control saltcedar and Russian olive, possible utilization of dead biomass following removal of saltcedar and Russian olive, and approaches and challenges associated with revegetation or restoration following control efforts. A concluding chapter discusses possible long-term management strategies, needs for additional study, potentially useful field demonstration projects, and a planning process for on-the-ground projects involving removal of saltcedar and Russian olive.

More Tamarisk control coverage here.

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