A shifting focus
The Southeast Utah Riparian Partners (SURP) initially focused on removal techniques; however, our focus has now shifted to questions about how to manage the beetles and the tamarisk “brown out.” We do not yet know whether the beetle will kill the tamarisk over a period of years, or how complete any control measures will be. We have many unanswered questions about the effects of different removal techniques, which can either encourage the return of natives or create a vast seedbed for the next cycle of invasive non-natives. Currently, we are applying for research grants that will inform on-the-ground removal and revegetation projects.
We are in an ideal position to monitor the beetles, which will soon spread throughout the upper basin of the Colorado River and beyond. The beetles, which we thought could not venture south of the Arizona-Utah border, are proving to quickly adapt to warmer climates and different day lengths Arizona, California, Texas, and New Mexico may see this beetle soon..
- Will the beetles behave as expected, or will there be unintended consequences?
- What removal techniques are most helpful for reintroducing native plants?
- Which techniques encourage noxious weeds?
- Will doing nothing with the browned-out tamarisk be good in the long run?
- Will removing the dead tamarisk be important for revegetation?
- Do the dead tamarisks present more of a fire hazard than the green ones?
- What are the best, most cost-effective methods for revegetation?
- Will herbicide still be needed to kill the tamarisk?