War with the Russian Olive
Progress 2010
by Bill Wolverton

Weeds Progress — 2010
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 2010. All work was done by Escalante Ranger Bill Wolverton except as noted.

Russian Olive slash collected and burned in several places along Escalante River from the vicinity of Neon Canyon upstream to Choprock. All remaining slash in the entrance to Neon was burned, including two large standing dead Russian Olive trees and two large standing dead Tamarisk trees. All remaining slash in the entrance to Choprock was burned, including most of the remaining standing dead Russian Olive trees. Most of the Russian Olive slash and many of the standing dead trees across the river from both canyons also burned. These are both highly visited areas where this slash and dead trees was a very conspicuous eyesore. A Sierra Club group of 6 people helped with this project. More was burned the following week, working alone, including most of the slash and standing dead trees in the entrance to Fence Canyon and across from Fence Canyon, and most of the remaining slash and standing dead trees in the north side of the entrance to Choprock.

A Wilderness Volunteers group of 6 helped with the initial clearing of about 0.2 miles of Russian Olive on river left just above Choprock, starting where the work ended last fall, and also cut most of the remaining small Tamarisk in the entrance to Choprock. Last known Tamarisk in the north fork of Choprock was cut with the help of one of the WV group. This was a large clump that had been knocked over by floods and required a Pulaski and chainsaw to cut.

With the help of three volunteers, Russian Olive follow up was completed from the point below Neon where it had stopped last year up to about 0.2 miles below Fence Canyon. One more volunteer helped with follow up on up to Fence Canyon and from there about halfway to Choprock on river left. Last remaining Tamarisk on a remnant of reservoir mudflat at the entrance to Coyote Gulch was eliminated, and Coyote Gulch surveyed for any new Tamarisk and Russian Olive from the Escalante River upstream to the start of permanent flow in the Dry Fork, including Hurricane Wash. All of both species was cut, including two Russian Olives reported in Hurricane Wash, the first ones ever found there. An abundance of missed Tamarisk and Tamarisk re–growth was found in the vicinity of the abandoned channel in the Dry Fork near the start of permanent water flow, and had to be left for lack of time. Sleepy Hollow and the two side canyons between it and Hurricane Wash were not checked.

Follow up for Russian Olive in both forks of Fence Canyon and on downstream to Escalante River was completed. Approx. 75 new starts found. No follow up had been done since 2007 in the south branch and since 2006 in the north branch pending completion of eradication work on the Escalante River past Fence Canyon and elimination of the local seed source for birds to be spreading it. Now that the eradication on the river has progressed to about a mile and a half past Fence Canyon it will now be followed up regularly along with follow up on the river.

Follow up for Russian Olive completed from 1.7 miles above Moody Creek to one half mile above Choprock, 5 trips, ( ) miles

A Wilderness Volunteers group of 8 worked on initial clearing of flood debris and small Russian Olives in the area about ½ to 1 mile above Choprock. Chain sawing was completed along the river banks but not in the area away from the river, where the Russian Olive was exceptionally dense. A crew of 7 from the Coconino Rural Environment Corps completed the chain sawing in the area above Choprock where Wilderness Volunteers had done the initial work, and continued on for another 0.7 miles to about 1.3 miles above Choprock. A second crew of 9 from the Coconino Rural Environment Corps completed another 0.25 miles of Russian Olive, continuing on up river from where the previous crew left off. Progress was exceptionally slow due to dense Russian Olive and a huge amount of flood debris. This made a meager total of 1.2 miles for the year, and a grand total to date of 40.5 miles from Coyote Gulch. This leaves 3.5 miles to go to reach Harris Wash, and another 6.85 miles from Harris Wash to the Glen Canyon boundary, for a total of 10.35 miles remaining. This is just barely short of 80% of the Escalante River miles in GLCA. The only other Russian Olive in the Escalante in GLCA is about 4 ¾ miles of Harris Wash.

Miscellaneous catch up chain sawing was completed on various Russian Olives known to have been either missed or had grown back because it was not cut short enough the first time in about two miles below Neon. This was the last follow up needing to be done from 1.7 miles above Moody Creek to one half mile above Choprock. Follow up for Russian Olive done in about 1 ½ miles of lower Harris Wash, part of a 2 mile section that had been worked on in 2005 and 2006 when the Escalante River was too high to work on in the spring because of snowmelt runoff. One follow up trip was done, but it had been let go since then, which proved to be a mistake. The remaining half mile could not be done because the new growth was far too much for one person in the time available with only a hand saw and loppers. Pulaskis will now be needed to grub out flood debris in much of it, and there is enough large new growth to justify the chainsaw to cut it.

Last remaining Tamarisk in the upper reaches of main Choprock Canyon was cut, and a thorough follow up done from there on down to the large alcove between the south fork and the river.

Bill Wolverton
November 11, 2010


© 2003–2016 Bill Wolverton