Dinosaur National Monument Botanist Receives Department of the Interior Superior Service Award
Contact: Dan Johnson, (435) 781-7702
Dinosaur, CO - Superintendent Mary Risser presented Tamara Naumann with a Superior Service Award from Intermountain Regional Director John Wessels.
"This Superior Service Award recognizes Tamara Naumann's outstanding performance as Dinosaur National Monument's Botanist and her efforts to eradicate invasive plants from the Monument," stated Risser. "During her tenure at Dinosaur, Ms. Naumann has built an invasive plant management program that is used as a template for regional governmental and non-governmental efforts."
Through Tamara's efforts, Dinosaur is recognized as a leader in tamarisk and Russian olive eradication. She initiated a volunteer Weed Warrior program to treat tamarisk along the Green and Yampa rivers. Tamara and the Weed Warriors have removed tamarisk from all campsites and popular lunch sites along both rivers. The Weed Warriors now focus upon removing tamarisk from endangered fish species' spawning bars. Since the program's launch in 1997, 6,374 volunteers have donated 27,186 hours of labor to remove tamarisk, Russian olive, perennial pepperweed, and leafy spurge from riparian habitat. Ms. Naumann expanded the program to include military veterans in 2010 and 2011-a win-win situation for the Monument and participating veterans. Education and constituency development are significant aspects of the program, which has significantly enhanced visitors' recreational experiences and the riparian habitat. Tamara receives inquiries each year from agencies and organizations for advice about initiating and operating similar programs on other Western river systems.
In 2006, Tamara completed the Dinosaur National Monument Invasive Plant Management Plan and Environmental Assessment. Our strategy focuses upon early detection/rapid response activities in the river corridors for leafy spurge and Russian olive, intensive monitoring of the tamarisk biological control project, and removal of tamarisk from high priority native fish habitat and recreational beaches. This document contains a wide range of tools to address the invasive plant program; it serves as a template for similar plans in other Colorado Plateau parks.
Ms. Naumann developed a combined goat-grazing and herbicide program for Russian knapweed at the Josie Morris Ranch in Cub Creek watershed. The project was located in a high visitor use area, and we used the opportunity to educate visitors about invasive plants. Since concentrated efforts began in the Cub Creek watershed, Russian knapweed canopy was reduced by 90%, Russian olive by 100%, Canada thistle by 70%, and tamarisk by 50% from the 2002-2003 baseline. In 2010 Tamara achieved a significant milestone with complete eradication of Russian olive from the Monument!
In addition to botany-related issues, Ms. Naumann has become the Monument's go-to person for interdisciplinary scientific collaboration to illuminate process-related drivers of river ecosystem health and function (vital signs) in the Yampa and Green Rivers. Collaborations provide a solid base for developing long-term monitoring and resource protection strategies for the Yampa River - the last naturally flowing river in the Colorado system. The Intermountain Region and Washington Office recognized her efforts through two 2-year flexible base increases. She received the Intermountain Wilderness Stewardship Award in 2007 and honorable mention for the national Wilderness Management award. For her significant accomplishments to Dinosaur National Monument, Tamara Naumann is granted the Superior Service Award of the Department of the Interior.
"The Superior Service Award is the first level of recognition under the Department of the Interior's honor awards system," explained Risser. "Superior Service awards are granted for significant acts, services, or achievements that materially aid or affect the successful accomplishment of the Department's mission. They recognized the accomplishment of a particularly difficult or important mission, operation, or assignment in a manner that reflects credit on the individual and development of a new procedure or process that results in substantially increased productivity, efficiency, or economy of operation. It is really an honor to present Tamara with the Superior Service Award."
Did You Know?
Split Mountain, the name John Wesley Powell gave to one of the Dinosaur’s most recognizable features, is aptly named: over millions of years, the Green River has carved a canyon into the center of the mountain, splitting it in two.