This summer we had a great opportunity to head to Moab with the family to spend a few days camping along the River Road. We didn’t get too far out into the wilderness, but just being by the river was fabulous, as always. Especially when you wake up to views like this. Camping along the river is truly the best.
I remember this moment really well. We were camping after what was always a long day on the river and where we were camping there wasn’t much beach. Just one small soft, sandy spot that a couple people grabbed right away. But that’s ok, they didn’t have quite this view. Anyway, so a bunch of us found some rocky ledges above the waterline to settle into. The rocks were perfect for setting a thermarest into and having a very nice place to recline and watch the evening drift by.
We had broken up into different group for meals and my partner, Ed, had cooked a really good dinner and was mixing up the just-add-water cheese cake pie. This was one of those luxuries that is easily overlooked. You would NEVER get boxed, just-add-water cheese cake pie at home, but on a long river trip, it was HEAVEN and we easily made everyone else envious.
It was a good day! (as they all were)
The Colorado River is the source of water for most of the southwest and southern California. All those states have to share the water from the river, and a complex set of agreements known as the Law of the River governs how much water they can take in a given year. Over at Grist, they’re doing a large series on the health of America’s rivers. For a piece on the Colorado River, we worked together on this infographic, in partnership with New Belgium Brewery, to see which states are closing in on their limits. With populations growing, the remaining water could disappear fast.
The Tamarisk situation is also getting better with large swaths of dead Tamarisk . It’s really exciting to see them going away. I didn’t snap any photos of them, but if anyone has any, let me know.
Some more information about Tamarisk From DiscoverMoab.com and the Tamarisk beetle that’s eating them:
How long will it take for the beetles to kill off the Tamarisk?
To “kill off” a Tamarisk plant without chemicals or removal of the total plant and roots from the ground is difficult. However, repeated defoliation of the plant leads to a reduction in photosynthesis and thus food for the plant/roots. Each time the plant is defoliated should result in a decrease or dying off of some of the root mass. If this happens repeatedly and the plant isn’t allowed to grow new foliage and retain it for an extended length of time, it is possible to kill the plant. Estimates on die off of the Tamarisk due to defoliation via the beetle suggest 3 to 5 years, but this could be longer or shorter depending on the size of the plant and its root mass, how often it’s defoliated and how limited the time is that the plant retains foliage.
In short, killing Tamarisks is good because:
- They soak up too much water.
- They kill native vegetation like cottonwoods and willows.
- They create impenetrable barriers along the river for animals and people.
- They provide a lousy habitat for other animals.
- They constrict the river.
The efforts are working. Keep up the good work!