Printed letters, May 11, 2010

More study needed about tamarisk and water usage

On May 5 and the previous week, The Daily Sentinel ran stories on the recent report by the U.S. Geologic Survey and Bureau of Reclamation on the impacts of tamarisk (also known as salt cedar) and Russian olive. This report complements a study that the Tamarisk Coalition completed this past December for the seven states that cover the Colorado River Basin.

Findings from both studies are nearly identical: Tamarisk and Russian olive use about the same amount of water as native phreatophytes cottonwood and willow. This is not new information — scientists have known this for decades. The bigger issue, identified in both reports, was that deep-rooted tamarisk and Russian olive, when growing in the higher terraces of a floodplain, will use more water than dryland species (grasses and native shrubs).

Cottonwoods and willows do not grow in these areas because the groundwater is deeper and is not accessible to their shallow root systems. Thus, the greatest opportunity for meaningful water savings will occur on upper terraces within the floodplain where more xeric vegetation is appropriate as replacement vegetation.

What is not known is whether any of this saved water can be recovered. The Tamarisk Coalition is in absolute agreement with USGS that large-scale demonstrations coupled with detailed research are critical to answering this question.

In 2006 Congress passed legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support that authorized funding to help answer these types of questions. The Tamarisk Coalition therefore encourages states to pursue carefully designed demonstration projects that can be coordinated with USGS and other scientists.

Effects on wildlife are diverse and depend on the species considered, but again, both reports identify that native vegetation provides superior habitat and affords greater biodiversity than do dense stands of tamarisk and Russian olive.

The Tamarisk Coalition supports this research as it can be considered along with other research and site-specific information for restoration and land management decisions.

TIM CARLSON

Research and Policy Director

Tamarisk Coalition

Grand Junction

Will other nations bare souls on nukes?

Where to start? We have bared our national soul, says Hilary Clinton: “We think it is in our national security interest to be as transparent as we can be about the nuclear program of the United States.”

So, the world knows that we have 5,113 nuclear warheads. Thus Hans Kristensen, a scientist with the Federation of American Scientists can now say “the U.S. is no longer going to keep other countries in the dark.”

It is amazing to me that we can be totally “transparent” about nuclear capabilities, yet keep the public “in the dark” about how Obamacare was created in secrecy until over 2,000 pages of legalese were dumped on the table.

Now, we can expect the other eight nuclear-capable nations to come clean because “U.N. Warns Iran: Don’t become 10th nation with nukes.” Right. The graphic source on Page 6B of the May 4 Daily Sentinel, “International Panel on Fissile Materials,” points to Britain for the France text and to France for the Britain text. I hope they are more accurate in other nuclear areas.

Next, we will bare our souls about every classified satellite in orbit, or planned. Thus, we keep nobody “in the dark” so everyone can obviate their effectiveness with countermeasures.

I find it ludicrous to now expect every “nuclear nation” to come clean, and even more ridiculous to expect Iran to reveal a darned thing. And Russia? That would be a first, especially now that they have cowed us into abandoning our allies by cutting missile defense systems.

Do we have to show all our “hole cards”?

CREIGHTON BRICKER

Grand Junction

Ariz. officials display guts regarding immigration

If one has to furnish a driver’s license to prove he is driving legally, what is so different in furnishing proof that he is in the country legally? Even Mexico has stiff laws for illegal immigrants. Why do we wallow in this mess?

At least Arizona had the guts to do something about a major flaw of our country. We need more lawmakers with guts rather than ones that vote only for re-election.

R.M. SHERMAN

Grand Junction



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