Although most of us in the East don't have this problem, I thought you in
drier parts might be interested. This shrub is said to drink 200
Waging Shrub Warfare Against a Culprit in West's Drought
Sunday, June 22, 2003; Page A02
The West is fed up with a shrub.
Its name is tamarisk, and it drinks heavily. So much, in fact, that
authorities in many western states say it is exacerbating the region's
The plant, introduced into the West more than a century ago, has spread
wildly across more than 1 million acres, mostly in the worst possible
place: along the banks of the Colorado River, the prime water source for
seven western states.
In some parts of the river basin, the squat, dense shrubs are 10 feet
high and have deep roots that guzzle as many as 200 gallons of water a
day. No force of nature -- extreme desert heat, wildfires, floods -- has
been able to stop or even slow their growth. Now, Congress may step into
Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) introduced legislation a few days
ago calling for $20 million in federal spending to eradicate the shrub,
which he said is sapping the West's precious water supply.
"We know tamarisk is a problem that could cost us untold millions in the
future," he said.
The shrub is not just putting desert condos at risk of losing water. It
is leaving native plants thirsty and blocking wildlife from habitats
along waterways. But wiping out the plant will not be easy. Some
scientists say the only effective strategy might be to cut down the
shrubs one by one, then poison their stumps. Others want to set voracious
beetles loose on them. Without the shrubs, officials say, the West's
water supply would increase by billions of gallons a year.
-- Rene Sanchez
) 2003 The Washington Post Company
[IMAGE][IMAGE] Bonnie Zone 6+ ETNholmesbm@usit.net
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