The Vegetation Crew from Grand Canyon National Park along with many partners and volunteers has been busy with tamarisk removal and subsequent replanting of native species for the Granite Camp and Monument Creek Watershed Stewardship Project.
This past fall and winter we conducted two 8-day backpacking trips and 1 15 day river trip with over 40 people participating in the trips. The first trip focused on removing the tamarisk that were below the 42,000 CFS line in anticipation of the High Flow event that took place at the end of November. During that first trip we removed 362 tamarisk trees from the site. On the second trip, we removed the tamarisk in the areas we had designated for revegeation in preparation for spring planting trips and removed an additional 409 tamarisk. Removal was finished up in February with a grand total of over 1,600 trees removed from Granite Camp!
We collected coyote willow, Goodding’s willow and cottonwood poles in January and February. The dormant poles were collected along Bright Angel Creek, Nankoweap Creek, Kwagunt Creek and the Colorado River and submerged in water for 4-12 days. The idea was to have the poles soak up as much water as possible before planting them in the sand at the camp. We planted 118 coyote willow along the bankline of the camp and the trees (cottonwoods and Goodding’s) on the upper terrace in February. As of early April, many of them had already established roots and are leafing out!
In early April, we worked with the GTS trip and several volunteers to plant the remaining trees and shrubs (mesquite, acacia, hackberry, Mormon tea, chuckawalla’s delight, sacred datura, poreleaf, wolfberry, and brittlebush). You will notice trees planted under or near the large tamarisk in the river camp with the idea that they will grow to eventually replace the tamarisk if/when they die from the tamarisk beetle defoliation.
We are very excited about this pilot project and look forward to sharing our continued successes and challenges as we progress and are looking forward to continuing our partnerships and working with fabulous stewards of the canyon.
We need YOU to volunteer to water! It only takes about an hour and the plants will love you for it! Please contact me if you are interested in signing up to water the new trees and shrubs of Granite Camp! Stay tuned for updates from the field!