Clean up at River Park at Las Colonias

August 17th, 2020
 
Invitation to Attend: Clean up at River Park at Las Colonias
RiversEdge West partners with City of Grand Junction to maintain habitat along the River Park
 
August 13, 2020
 
Grand Junction, CO—Members of the media are invited to attend a volunteer event hosted by RiversEdge West and the City of Grand Junction.
 
Date: Thursday, August 20th from 8 am – 10 am
 
Where: Volunteers will meet at the Las Colonias Boat Ramp (east side of Las Colonias Park near the Butterfly Pond) and work their way west towards the Las Colonias Amphitheater.
 
Details: Volunteers will be pulling weeds, using loppers to cut tamarisk, picking up trash, and watering trees (see below for the weeds we'll be targeting).  Removing these weeds and invasive plants will allow native plants to establish and keep the area clear so that community members can continue to access the River Park.
 
More info:
The City of Grand Junction is built around the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, which are central to the City's economy, identity, and recreational opportunities. As the City continues to transition the riverfront from an industrial hub to a community-based landscape, parks, restored areas, and restaurants are becoming more common; inviting people to interact with the rivers.
 
The most recent addition to the riverfront in Grand Junction is the River Park at Las Colonias Park, which serves as a "lazy-river" for the community. The park has been received extremely well, and it is constantly being used. However, noxious weeds and invasive tamarisk are encroaching on the park, which reduces the ecological integrity of the area for native plants, birds, and fish; and in time, will hinder the access to, and visibility of, the river.
 
Given the high traffic and persistence of invasive plants, RiversEdge West is partnering with the City to host volunteers on August 20th to pull weeds, cut tamarisk, water native trees, and clean up trash.
“Engagement and increased awareness about riparian ecology and the importance of rivers is a key need for our community,” said Shannon Wadas, Associate Director for RiversEdge West. “In the absence of such education, invasive plant, wildfire, and river health issues persist. By actively improving this riverside area and engaging the community, we hope that citizens and volunteers gain a sense of stewardship and responsibility for the river.”
 
RiversEdge West will continue working with the City to coordinate future cleanup efforts at the River Park and at other locations along the Colorado River. To learn about future volunteer events, visit their website: www.riversedgewest.org.
 
Weeds that we'll be tackling during the volunteer event include:
 
Cocklebur: Native to North America; young seedlings of common cocklebur exude toxic chemicals that can inhibit germination of other species of plants, or kill off their seedlings. They are also the culprit of those woody burs with hooked prickles that find their way onto your pets, socks, and clothes!
 
Kochia: Kochia is a troublesome annual weed that, if uncontrolled, becomes a tumbleweed that disperses seeds over a large area and displaces desirable vegetation.
 
Tamarisk/Salt Cedar: Once tamarisk invades, it creates dense thickets that alter the native landscape and blocks river access. In addition, tamarisk increases wildfire hazard, outcompetes native plants, provides poor wildlife habitat, channelizes the river, and in their sheer numbers can consume more water than native plants. 
 
Perennial pepperweed: Introduced to the U.S. from Eurasia in 1900, perennial pepperweed is a very invasive perennial forb that easily reproduces by roots and seed. It absorbs salts from deep in the soil and excretes it through its leaves, depositing it on the soil, which can alter the ecosystem composition and negatively impact native species.
 

 

RiversEdge West is a Grand Junction-based 501 (c) 3 nonprofit dedicated to the restoration of riparian (riverside) ecosystems for the benefit of both fish and wildlife as well as the economic, social, and cultural well-being of communities in the American West.
 
Through the replacement of invasive species such as tamarisk and Russian olive with native plants, RiversEdge West is improving river function, soil conditions, and water quality; reducing wildfire risk; and increasing viable habitat for fish and wildlife species - while simultaneously improving recreational and educational experiences and opportunities along our communities' rivers.
 

 
CONTACT
Cara Kukuraitis
Outreach Coordinator | RiversEdge West
 
Shannon Wadas
Associate Director | RiversEdge West

RiversEdge West's

mission is to advance the restoration of riparian lands through collaboration, education, and technical assistance.

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