Bear Creek Watershed Russian Olive Removal Project Update

December 8th, 2014
In 2013, Lakewood Regional Parks partnered with the City of Denver, City of Englewood and Fort Logan National Cemetery to begin a systematic effort to remove Russian olive trees from the Bear Creek watershed, from Bear Creek Lake Park to the South Platte River. Russian olive was targeted as a priority species for treatment in Parks' Invasive Species Management Plan, which is encompassed by their Natural Areas Management Plan. While removal of Russian olive in Lakewood natural areas has been occurring for years through the efforts of Parks staff and volunteers, lack of funding for large scale projects made for slow progress, with work occurring as funds and time were available.
Fortunately, a few recent grants have enabled partners to continue efforts on a larger scale. A grant from the Invasive Phreatophyte Control Program (IPCP) through the Colorado Water Conservation Board funded a Mile High Youth Corps chainsaw crew for 5 weeks to begin large-scale removal along the Bear Creek Greenbelt, of which Lakewood manages 350 acres. During this time the youth corps crew was able to remove Russian olive trees from roughly twenty-two acres of one of the most densely infested areas of the Greenbelt. Lakewood continued this project in 2014 with funding the Great Outdoors Colorado/Colorado Youth Corps Association (GOCO/CYCA) grant, which supported the Mile High Youth Corps chainsaw crew for 6 weeks. During this time the crews were able to remove approximately 400 Russian olive trees on 42 acres of the Greenbelt between Wadsworth Boulevard and Estes Street. A grass seeding and shrub and tree plantings were completed on National Public Lands Day 2013 and 2014 to aid restoration. Community Resources staff are currently in the process of applying for a 2015 GOCO/CYCA grant and additional IPCP funding is being pursued through the City of Denver. 

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