From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
The Arkansas River basin has the highest number of acres infested with tamarisk in Colorado, and much of it is in the upland areas, Edelmann said. “The [recent U.S. Geological Survey scientific assessment] doesn’t mean there weren’t water savings from tamarisk removal, just that they couldn’t be detected,” Edelmann said. “That’s not to say there could be some savings in the upland areas of the Arkansas River basin.”
Tamarisk consumptive use was reported as high as 9 feet per year in studies from the 1940s-70s, but the scientific methods did not take into account weather factors. Newer studies show the probable consumptive use is closer to 3-4 feet per year…
There could be a savings to the river by increasing the amount of water available to the Arkansas River, but any measurement would have to look at all components of the water budget — the water table, canal leakage and weather factors. “The river is a drain, so you should be able to see a net difference,” Edelmann said. “A lot of variables come into play.” So far, there have not been comprehensive studies showing the water-saving benefits of tamarisk removal in the Arkansas River basin. There is some anecdotal evidence,” Edelmann said. “The wetlands returned at Bent’s Fort when the tamarisk was cleared.” There are other benefits, such as improved flood protection in the river channel and improved wildlife habitat, Edelmann said.