Join RiversEdge West for a volunteer event at Connected Lakes State Park on August 1, 2023, from 8 am - 10 am.
Connected Lakes, which is owned and managed by Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), is home to abundant wildlife and six miles of paved and natural surface trails winding around three lakes. RiversEdge West has been working with CPW since 2013 to restore the area’s 43 acres of wetland, riparian, and upland habitat. We will be working with CPW to improve habitat that is in need of ongoing maintenance.
Light snacks and coffee will be provided. Work will all be outside, so please bring water, proper work attire (we recommend pants, close-toed shoes, and long sleeves), and sun protection. Specialized tools will be provided, but you may also bring your own.
Activities will vary depending on the needs of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, but will typically include:
Mechanical weed treatment - Help is needed to manage tamarisk, Russian olive, and secondary weeds such as kochia (these troublesome weeds, if uncontrolled, become a tumbleweed that disperses seeds over a large area and displaces desirable vegetation), Russian thistle, and bull thistle.
Close social trails - A designated trail system, one that’s well planned, designed, constructed, and maintained, minimizes the human impact on the landscape that’s been conserved. Unfortunately, many “social trails” or informal trails created from foot traffic, have created impacts such as unnecessary vegetation/soil loss and fragmentation of flora/fauna habitats. Volunteers will help to close these social trails by spreading downed woody debris across the trails to discourage their use.
Cottonwood cage maintenance - Cottonwood trees perform many important functions, bolstering life both in and out of the water. As a keystone species, their roots help stabilize streambanks and the wood that falls into the channel provides cover for fish and other aquatic species. A cottonwood gallery provides shade and moderates stream temperatures, their branching structure and cavities that often result from heart rot in mature cottonwood stands provide nesting habitat for birds and cover for a variety of wildlife. Many cottonwoods at project sites have been wrapped with wire to protect them from beaver chewing. Some of the cottonwoods have outgrown their caging, while other cottonwoods that did not survive need their caging removed and passed on to other cottonwoods.
Cut pampass grass flowers/seed heads - Pampas grass is a tall, cool-season perennial bunchgrass that is a noxious weed in some Western states. It is noticeably becoming an issue in areas around Grand Junction. It reproduces readily by seed, and establishes in riparian, wetlands, and ditch habitats. By clipping and bagging the flower/seed heads, volunteers will reduce the potential pampas grass expansion at project sites.