War with the Russian Olive
Progress 2012
by Bill Wolverton

Russian Olive Progress
Escalante River

Late March & early April:
Russian Olive slash burned on private property near entrance to Escalante River canyon. Cutting was done by chain saw crews.

Late April & early May:
Sierra Club group of 6 helped with Russian Olive removal on Calf Creek Ranch below highway 12. 0.15 mile completed.

Russian Olive follow up completed on section completed in Glen Canyon in 2011, two miles, with the help of three volunteers. Glen Canyon Resource Management division notified that this would not be done again because of the slash that they would not allow to be burned. Follow up work done on private land upstream from highway 12.

Russian Olive follow up completed on private property in Deer Creek east of Boulder, and in various places around Boulder and Escalante.

Additional Russian Olive follow up on private land in Escalante.

Continue Russian Olive follow up on private land in Escalante. Wilderness Volunteers group worked on Calf Creek Ranch below highway 12. 0.37 mile completed, total for the 2012 season of 0.52 mile completed. Chain saw work not completed yet.

Burn most of the Russian Olive slash on Calf Creek Ranch that was cut in May. Finish chain saw work that was not done in September. Worked on small Russian Olive on private property in Escalante not suitable for chain saw crews.

Continue work on small Russian Olive on private property in Escalante, burn remaining slash left from May on Calf Creek Ranch, cut a few “stragglers” left behind on Calf Creek Ranch – finished for season.

The National Park Service, as expected, adopted the approach of having the chain saw crews cut everything in little short pieces, generally two feet or less, and carefully packing it all into neat, compact piles. They had an 8 person crew working for four 8 day hitches, with four sawyers putting in 6 working days per hitch, for a total of 92 sawing days, after subtracting a day lost to a flood on the river. It is believed that the NPS crew leader was also sawing, for another 23 days. That was more chain saw help than ever before, and for all that time spent they got about one half mile done, barely, no more than was done on the Calf Creek Ranch in a total of 16 days of chain sawing, with volunteers assisting. It was the poorest one season progress in the 13 year life of the project, less than half of the previous minimum, which was 1.2 miles with only two chain saw crews. The only other time that there were four crews was in 2009, and they were all different and each new crew had to be broken in. Progress that year was 2.6 miles, 5 times that in 2012. It including some very hard, slow going in the vicinity of Fence Canyon and Choprock, plus cutting all of the large old Tamarisk in the entrance to Choprock, which took a day and a half, in addition to the Russian Olive. Progress in 2011 was two miles plus two short side canyons, ¼ mile each, with only three crews. There was no noticeable difference in the Russian Olive density between what was cut in 2011 and that in 2012.

Bill Wolverton
November 15, 2012


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