July 29, 2006

Die, tamarisk, die!

Coyote Gulch links to a hopeful piece of news: a biological control for the invasive, wildlife-habitat-destroying tamarisk may just be working. (Newspaper link may expire.)

From the Rocky Mountain News:

Releases in 2001 at four sites, two in Nevada and two in Utah, have matured and beetles are defoliating hundreds of acres of tamarisk. . . . beetles released in 2004 near Moab, Utah, are taking hold.

The tamarisk, a tree native to Eurasia, has crowded out native species such as willows and cottonwoods and sucked up vast amounts of water in the West.

Labor-intensive efforts to eradicate tamarisk cost $1,500 to $3,000 per acre. The tamarisk leaf beetles may be able to do the job for less than $10 per acre, according to U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Mel Lloyd.

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