Grant funding will expand area efforts to remove tamarisk

The Dolores River Restoration Partnership, a coalition that works to restore habitat along that river’s banks, is scaling up efforts to encourage the participation of private landowners in its work removing invasive plants and replanting native ones.

Landowners whose property abuts the river can work with the partnership to restore the riparian habitat on their lands through the removal of tamarisk, planting of native trees and shrubs, putting up fences to allow the restored riverbanks to recover and other measures.

The partnership has been around since 2009 and is already working with some landowners in the area, but new grants are allowing them to expand those efforts to other properties around Gateway and the Slickrock area to the west, including on the Utah side of the state line.

It also is increasing the amount of volunteer opportunities available.

Support for the expanded efforts comes from the Walton Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Tamarisk Coalition.

The Tamarisk Coalition is “driving” the effort, according to Rick Schnaderbeck with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It’s a very thorough effort,” he said. “It will make a huge impact on riparian health.”

Daniel Oppenheimer of the Tamarisk Coalition said that though they have worked with landowners in the past, they will now be trying to work with them more, “as we have a lot more to offer.”

“We’re at a point now where we have our feet well planted and are ready to reach out more,” he said.

Oppenheimer said the first phase of the efforts will end in 2014, but that they are already assessing what directions to take after that and that the partnership plans to continue its efforts long term.

Those interested in volunteer opportunities or participating as a private landowner should visit http://ocs.fortlewis.edu/drrp.


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