FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Christine Prins, Private Lands Biologist, RiversEdge West, firstname.lastname@example.org | 970.980.7122
Media Invitation to Wildfire Mitigation Project Kick-off
A collaborative project to protect the riverside corridor with RiversEdge West, Bureau of Land Management, City of Grand Junction Fire Department, and Mesa County
RiversEdge West, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, The City of Grand Junction Fire Department, and Mesa County will be hosting a removal crew from Western Colorado Conservation Corps to conduct tamarisk and Russian olive removal along the Riverfront Trail behind the River City SportsPlex. The crew will be on the ground April 3-6, and members from the press are encouraged to visit the site on Monday, April 3 from 8-9am for the project kick-off.
The crew will be working to reduce fuels around critical infrastructure while balancing structure and function for habitat and aesthetics. The presence of high-density tamarisk and Russian olive trees in river corridors has increased both the potential fire risk and the habitat’s ability to recover post-fire. Currently, the dense vegetation cover from invasive plants allows fire to travel horizontally and provides more fuel for fires to start and magnify. Tamarisk and Russian olive are quicker to colonize post-fire compared to native riverside species.
This segment of riverside habitat is of importance for fuels-specific mitigation as it has critical infrastructure, including powerlines and riverfront trail, commercial businesses, and increased pressure from consistent human presence. From a habitat perspective, this work will benefit critical habitat for federally threatened Yellow-billed Cuckoo, open canopy cover to allow for herbaceous plant growth and corridors for wildlife movement and allow for native plant species to recolonize.
This partnership of agencies is focused on reducing wildfire risk in sensitive riverside areas that interface heavily with the public, and this week of Conservation Corps work marks the first of several projects in the pipeline on this section of Riverfront Trail. The Bureau of Land Management is providing funding through its Community Fire Assistance Program, The City of Grand Junction is providing logistics and planning consultation, Mesa County is coordinating on mechanized removal and mastication, and RiversEdge West is providing project management and planning. Look for a continuation of work here and in other riparian areas in the Grand Valley this Fall.