Volunteers work on tamarisk, Russian olive | PostIndependent.com
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Volunteers work on tamarisk, Russian olive

Approximately 60 volunteers from Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, government agencies and the community gathered on the grounds of the Rifle state rest area alongside Interstate 70 recently to help battle invasive tamarisk, also known as salt cedar, and Russian olive trees. Volunteers learned to identify the differences between harmful Russian olive and native silver buffalo berry, as well as healthy willow patches versus water-guzzling and noxious tamarisk. Volunteers nipped, sawed and dodged the piercing Russian olive thorns, dragged and piled huge stacks of the invasive plants that were later machine shredded into harmless wood chips. The park, Lions Pond and wooded areas around the rest stop looked strikingly different and healthier after the masses of habitat stealers were removed. Volunteers also viewed a beautiful mother owl and her two young chicks in a nest high atop an old cottonwood tree. By that afternoon, the hard-working, tired volunteers had the satisfaction of knowing that they had improved the future woody habitat for those baby owls and other wildlife.The next Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers project is set for National Trails Day, Saturday, June 3, in Glenwood Springs and Aspen. To sign up, call 927-8241 or log on to http://www.rfov.org.


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