War with the Russian Olive
Progress 2006
by Bill Wolverton



Weeds Progress — 2006
Escalante Subdistrict, Glen Canyon NRA

Following is the progress that was made on Russian Olive and Tamarisk in the Escalante Subdistrict of Glen Canyon NRA in 2006. All work was done by Escalante Ranger Bill Wolverton except as noted.

March:
Most remaining Tamarisk in the Dry fork of Coyote eliminated, along with a few new Russian Olive starts. Some cleanup of Russian Olive slash in Harris Wash done, some Russian Olive follow up done on Escalante River in vicinity of Moody Canyons.

April:
Wilderness Volunteers trip cleared 0.9 miles of Russian Olive in lower Harris Wash. Follow up for Tamarisk in Willow Gulch with one VIP, and cleared Tamarisk in part of reservoir mudflat below 40 Mile as far as is currently worth doing. Finished all but a very minor amount of the last remaining Tamarisk in the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch, and one recently discovered small stand in Coyote just below NPS fence, follow up for Tamarisk from fence upstream to slickrock narrows.

May:
Russian Olive follow up on Escalante River just above Moody Creek and in lower Harris Wash. Finished last remnant of uncut Tamarisk in Dry Fork Coyote, thorough follow up in all of Dry Fork and in main Coyote from Big Hollow Wash down to slickrock narrows. Two new Russian Olives were found growing under a pile of R.O. slash in the abandoned channel of the Dry Fork and the pile will have to be cut up and burned in order to get at them. Follow up on Ravenna Grass out in slickrock between Llewellyn and Cottonwood, follow up on one Russian Olive cut last year in Cottonwood and one in Llewellyn, plus cut three more in Llewellyn. Checked Davis Gulch for Russian Olive and Ravenna grass, none of either found. Follow up for Russian Olive in Fence Canyon — both branches done, had to leave one near upper end of south branch because of dense poison ivy. Have talked with one volunteer who is immune to poison ivy and has offered to help with this. Hope to do it in spring 2007. Sierra Club trip at Memorial Day cleared about mile of Harris Wash of Russian Olive plus most of side canyon at Rincon.

June:
Russian Olive follow up on Escalante River below Moody Creek. UCC crew cleared 0.9 miles of R.O. on river between Moody Creek and 25 Mile Wash.

August:
Follow up for R.O. on river from ‘Swan Neck Bend’ to Coyote. Found too much to get done with time and Garlon available.

September:
A Wilderness Volunteers group cleared 0.8 miles of Russian Olive on the Escalante river between Moody Creek and 25 Mile Wash. One more follow up trip from Swan Neck Bend to Coyote, cut a grand total (counting August trip) of 646 new starts since last follow up over 2½ years ago.

October:
A UCC crew cleared 0.9 miles of Russian Olive on the Escalante River between Moody Creek and 25 Mile Wash. This made a total of 2.6 miles done this year and a grand total of 31.7 miles done, upstream from Coyote Gulch, with about 19 to go to the BLM–GSENM boundary. Work ended about mile short of 25 Mile Wash.

• Comment on RO follow–up on lower river •

A grand total of 646 new Russian Olives were cut in about 14 miles of the lower Escalante River over two trips in August and September. 458 of these were in 5.8 miles above Fools Canyon and 188 were in 8 miles from Fools Canyon to Coyote Gulch. The last thorough follow up on this section of the river was in the fall of 2003, three years previously. Above Fools this averages out to a new Russian Olive every 67 feet along the river in just three years, which would have been in addition to the hundreds of them that had already been removed. It is clear that if this effort is not continued then the Escalante River will very soon be a continuous corridor of Russian Olive, with very little native vegetation left along the banks. Much of it upstream is already near this condition. On the other hand, the follow up was completed by one person in a total working time of about 5 days, not counting the time to hike in and out, so it is feasible to keep it out once the initial clearing has been done. And as the seed source upstream continues to be reduced the new starts should eventually diminish. It is also clear that three years is too long between follow up trips. (An attempt to follow up on this section was made in the fall of 2004 by Bill Wolverton and John Spence, but was stymied by rain and a subsequent flood)


Bill Wolverton
Escalante
October 2006

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