A native effort

Groups help restore Dolores River

By Jim Mimiaga Journal staff writer

Earlier this month, the Dolores River Boating Advocates continued their mission to restore the health of the river below McPhee Dam.

Volunteers with the Dolores River Restoration Partnership prepare to battle invasive tamarisk and other non-native species on the lower Dolores River.

“It was a great volunteer day. We planted native grasses and trees near the San Miguel confluence at Cement Bridge,” said DRBA program coordinator Lee-Ann Hill.

The area had recently been cleared of non-native tamarisk and Russian knapweed.

DRBA coordinated with BLM ecologists and the Tamarisk Coalition as part of the Dolores River Restoration Partnership (DRRP), which works with volunteers, students and professionals on river health projects.

“At this location instead of just broadcast seeding, we planted 110 container plants in two different areas,” said Daniel Oppenheimer, restoration coordinator for the Tamarisk Coalition. “We revegetated with cottonwoods, box elders, three-leaf sumac and four-winged saltbrush.”

Native grass seeds were also spread, including alkali sacato and sand-drop seed.

The trees and shrubs are planted in distinct clusters and their locations are marked by GPS for future monitoring and maintenance.

“The idea is to have them get established and then propagate to help fill in the area and out compete non-native plants,” Oppenheimer said.

Other benefits of riparian restoration are enhanced bank stability, and food and shelter sources for wildlife.

In September, third-grade students from Dove Creek did river restoration work near Slickrock. In October, students from the Paradox Valley Charter school planted 75 plants at Bedrock.

“Then on what must have been the hottest day of the summer, we worked with 30 Wildlands Restoration Volunteers to cut down tamarisk and broadcast more than 2000 native grasses and seeds along the Dolores,” Oppenheimer said.

To learn more about restoration efforts and how to volunteer, go to www.doloresriverboating.org, and/or www.tamariskcoalition.org and/or the Dolores River Restoration Partnership at http://ocs.fortlewis.edu/drrp/

– See more at: http://www.the-journal.com/article/20151125/NEWS01/151129937/-1/News#sthash.lKwjOghu.dpuf

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