Republican River Watershed Riparian Restoration Project Update

November 24th, 2014
The Republican River Watershed Riparian Restoration Project (RWRRP) was started to address the infestation of tamarisk and Russian olive along the North Fork of the Republican River and has grown to include the South Fork of the Republican River and the Arikaree River.  Removal of tamarisk and Russian olive first began in 2008 and has been ongoing since that time. Due to water quality and quantity concerns, the main goal of the project is watershed restoration and enhanced stream flow. Tamarisk and Russian olive can increase water consumption and form monotypic stands that reduce the diversity and amount of vegetation in the understory.  Therefore, removal of these non-native species can help to improve water quality and quantity while benefiting wildlife and livestock by creating more suitable habitat and better opportunities for grazing.
To date, over 1,600 acres of tamarisk and Russian olive have been removed, and currently the project is targeting approximately 90 acres along the South Fork of the Republican River.  Removal is achieved by mechanical extraction, using grab and cut-stump methods.  Hand-cutting and chemical application occurs in areas inaccessible or too fragile for machinery.  After the initial removal, all sites are monitored and, if necessary, treated for re-sprouts for a period of three years to insure no re-infestation takes place.  Native re-vegetation and restoration occurs naturally on most project sites as long as re-sprouts are controlled.  If re-vegetation does not happen satisfactorily, then pole plantings of cottonwoods and willows, and native shrubs and grass seed mixes will be used.
This project could not take place without the collaboration of the numerous partners, including Yuma County Pest Control District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Three Rivers Alliance, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado State University, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Pheasants Forever, Republican River Water Conservation District, as well as other local conservation districts, private land owners, and others.  
Over the last year two years, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) has provided substantial funding for this project through its Invasive Phreatophyte Control Program. For more information on this funding opportunity, please visit CWCB's website to read grant guidelines. 
Additional information can be found about this project, and a related scientific study that was conducted on-site, in the Colorado Weed Management Association's newsletter from January 2014
For more information contact: 
Jordan Davison, Supervisor
Yuma County Pest Control District

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