CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK — On March 28, park staff and volunteers will begin a project to improve plant diversity and camping conditions along the rivers in Canyonlands.
Crews will be cutting dead tamarisk and creating fire breaks around stands of native vegetation. Crews will also clear campsites along the banks and create paths for hikers and wildlife.
Crews will be working and camping at the following locations: March 28-3, Indian Creek along the Colorado River; April 21-27, the confluence; May 8-15, Upper Spanish Bottom and Lower Red Lake.
During these times, boaters may experience above-average noise levels during the day due to the use of chainsaws.
Tamarisk, also known as salt cedar, is an invasive shrub found throughout the Southwest. Because it grows quickly and produces abundant seeds, tamarisk is difficult to control or eradicate. Traditional methods like cutting and herbicides often fall short.
In 2001, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a nontraditional method: the release of a beetle that feeds exclusively on tamarisk leaves.
After the beetles have done their work, the highly flammable tamarisk remains a threat. Fire breaks will protect campers as well as native vegetation like cottonwoods, box elders and willows.