February 14, 2012
Cheryl Decker, 435-719-2132
National Park Service employees have begun work to remove exotic tamarisk and Russian olive trees in the lower Courthouse Wash area of Arches National Park.
Removal of this non-native vegetation represents the first phase of a three-year project to control invasive exotic plants and improve resource conditions for wildlife, native plants, and park visitors in lower Courthouse Wash. Work conducted during this six-week period will focus on the two-mile section of Courthouse Wash immediately inside the park boundary north of the Colorado River Bridge on Highway 191. Phase one is scheduled for completion by late March of this year.
Crews will use a combination of chainsaws, hand saws, and herbicide applications to kill exotic trees during this phase of the project. Chainsaw use will be limited to dense stands of tamarisk and large Russian olive trees greater than four inches in diameter, while hand saws will be used to cut the smaller trees. Chainsaws will not be used after March 15th in order to reduce potential impacts on nesting raptors and other wildlife in the canyon.
Woody debris resulting from removal operations will be piled for future burning, and follow-up work will be conducted to control populations of herbaceous exotic plants such as tumbleweed. Park staff will monitor progress of the exotic plant treatments and evaluate the need for seeding or other actions necessary to facilitate the establishment of native plants in treated areas.
For more information about this project contact Cheryl Decker, Vegetation Program Manager, at (435) 719-2132 or Mark Miller, Chief of Resource Stewardship and Science, at (435) 719-2130.