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Journal of environmental management

Saltcedar control and water salvage on the Pecos river, Texas, 1999-2003.


PMID 15854731

Abstract

A large scale ecosystem restoration program was initiated in 1997 on the Pecos River in Western Texas. Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.), a non-native invasive tree, had created a near monoculture along the banks of the river by replacing most native vegetation. Local irrigation districts, private landowners, federal and state agencies, and private industry worked together to formulate and implement a restoration plan, with a goal of reducing the effects of saltcedar and restoring the native ecosystem of the river. An initial management phase utilizing state-of-the-art aerial application of herbicide began in 1999 and continued through 2003. Initial mortality of saltcedar averaged about 85-90%. Monitoring efforts were initiated at the onset of the project to include evaluating the effects of saltcedar control on salinity of the river water, efficiency of water delivery down the river as an irrigation water source, and estimates of water salvage. To date, no effect on salinity can be measured and irrigation delivery was suspended in 2002-2003 due to drought conditions. Water salvage estimates show a significant reduction in system water loss after saltcedar treatment. However, a flow increase in the river is not yet evident. Monitoring efforts will continue in subsequent years.

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