War with the Russian Olive
Progress 2009
by Bill Wolverton

Weeds Progress — 2009
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 2009. All work was done by Escalante Ranger Bill Wolverton except as noted.

Large amount of Russian Olive slash burned between Neon and Ringtail Canyons, some with the help of a Sierra Club group of 5 from CA.

Approx. 0.8 miles of Russian Olive cut from just below Neon to just below Fence Canyon by a Coconino Rural Environmental Corps (CREC) crew working with chainsaws. All remaining large Tamarisk in the entrance to Neon cut down and most of it burned, along with some of the Russian Olive in the vicinity. Much follow up and catch up chain sawing completed following the CREC crew work in a 6 day trip.

Wilderness Volunteers completed initial clearing with hand tools of approx. 0.6 miles of very dense Russian Olive, from just below Fence Canyon to just above it. Chain sawing was completed during this trip up to approx. 0.25 miles below Fence Canyon, including much catch up work from the previous trip. WV also completed follow up on some minor re–growth of Russian Olive in the lower part of Fence Canyon near the Escalante River, and removed the last remaining stand of Tamarisk in the north branch of Choprock. One lone Russian Olive in the far upper reaches of the south branch of Choprock, discovered in November, 2008, was removed.

A start was made on the large Tamarisk growing in the small remnant of reservoir mudflat at the entrance to Coyote Gulch, and about half of it was cut. A chainsaw and fire will be needed to finish it. Numerous small Tamarisk seedlings were pulled up in sand bars in the very lower end of the canyon, and more were cut or pulled in the Wingate sandstone wall of the canyon near the Escalante River. A follow up check was made of the Russian Olive cut on a large reservoir sediment terrace on the river below Coyote and no new growth was found. One more Russian Olive about a mile below Coyote on river right, also on reservoir sediment, was girdled. This tree had been spotted among the Tamarisk from the canyon rim near Crack in the Wall.

With the help of two volunteers a thorough follow up for Russian Olive was completed for about 3 miles below 25 Mile Wash, with 87 new starts cut, and from Ringtail Canyon upstream to about ½ mile below Neon, in a 5 day trip. Last remaining Tamarisk in the lower part of Baker Canyon was removed by these same VIPs, after the rest had been removed several years ago.

More Russian Olive follow up and catch up chain sawing was completed between Ringtail Canyon and Neon, in a 4 day trip.

CREC completed another trip with chainsaws, working from about ¼ mile below Fence Canyon to Fence Canyon through very heavy, dense growth, and chain sawing was completed for another half mile above Fence Canyon on river left. Much catch up chain sawing from previous trips was also completed—trees that had been missed because it had been too early in the season to find them.

Follow up for Tamarisk completed in Willow Gulch and minor amounts removed, follow up for Tamarisk completed in 40 Mile Gulch from waterfall to Willow Gulch and nothing new found.

Follow up for Russian Olive completed in Harris Wash from GLCA boundary to rincon, ¾ mile, and in south side canyon at rincon.

One last CREC crew for the season completed chain sawing up to within 0.15 mile of the entrance to Choprock, roughly ¾ miles total.

Middle Moody Canyon checked for Russian Olive from about one mile upstream of the trailhead down to main Moody, and none found. Thorough follow up for Russian Olive completed on the Escalante River from 2 ½ miles above Moody Creek to 0.6 mile above Scorpion Gulch, total of 8.7 miles. One Russian Olive found and cut in East Moody Canyon, one more in Moody Creek just below where the road leaves and heads east toward Deer Point, and part of the last remaining Tamarisk in the upper reaches of Choprock Canyon was removed.

Burned away debris in last remaining Tamarisk at entrance to Coyote Gulch so that it can be cut later, cleared lower Coyote of new Tamarisk from the ladder site to the river. Thorough follow up for Russian Olive in 25 Mile Wash, with only 9 new ones found plus a group of 4 that had been missed on previous trips.

Wilderness Volunteers completed clearing of Russian Olive along Escalante riverbanks for approximately 0.3 miles in the vicinity of Choprock Canyon, and most chain sawing of this was completed. Russian Olive away from river in this section was left for a UCC crew in October.

Follow up for Russian olive completed from 0.6 miles above Scorpion Gulch downstream to Swan Neck Bend, and both of the Georgies Camp canyons and Fold Canyon checked for Russian Olive. One Russian Olive was found and cut in the east Georgies Camp Canyon, none in the other two canyons.

Utah Conservation Corps cleared 0.5 miles of Russian Olive on river right across from Choprock Canyon, 0.2 miles on river right upstream from Choprock, and cleared all of the large old Tamarisk from the entrance to Choprock.

• Summary of Progress •

2.6 miles of initial clearing of Russian Olive completed on Escalante River, from just below Neon Canyon to just above Choprock Canyon, for a total of 39.4 miles of the river in Glen Canyon, starting at Coyote Gulch and working upstream.

Most of the scattered Russian Olive slash left from last year’s work below Neon was burned.

Four canyons not previously surveyed for Russian Olive were checked: Middle Moody, both forks of Georgies Camp, and Fold Canyon

Isolated single Russian Olives were removed in four locations: Moody Creek, East Moody Canyon, upper south Choprock, and East Fork of Georgies Camp Canyon.

Follow up for Russian Olive was completed on approximately 21 miles of the Escalante River, from about one mile below Neon to ‘Swan Neck Bend,’ 14 miles above Coyote Gulch, except for a one mile section between 25 Mile Wash and Neon that was done in fall 2008. The lower 14 miles from Swan Neck Bend to Coyote were completed in late summer 2008.

Follow up for Russian Olive from 2 1/3 miles above Scorpion Gulch to Swan Neck Bend, about 8 miles, was completed in October, and a total of 312 new starts were found and cut. Follow up on this same section in August 2007 yielded 244 new starts. It had been expected that the number of new starts would be less this year than previously. This makes a total of 556 new Russian Olives in this section that would have been in addition to hundreds that had already been removed, or 69 new trees per mile of the river.

Follow up for Tamarisk was completed in Willow Gulch and in 40 Mile Gulch from the waterfall to the confluence with Willow. Only a minor amount was found in Willow and none in 40 Mile.

Much of the remaining large Tamarisk on the last remnant of reservoir mudflat at the entrance to Coyote Gulch was removed, and flood debris hampering access to the rest of it was burned in preparation for removing the rest. Lower Coyote was cleared of new Tamarisk from the log ladder site to the Escalante River.

The last remaining Tamarisk in the lower part of Baker Canyon, from the pouroff to the Escalante River, was removed.

The last remaining Tamarisk in the north fork of Choprock Canyon was removed. Part of the last remaining Tamarisk in the upper reaches of the main fork of Choprock was removed.

Bill Wolverton
November 11, 2009


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