In Defense of Salt Cedars

Posted on | May 20, 2009 | No Comments

Salt Cedar, aka Tamarisk, scientific name Tamarix ssp. Photo from the US Department of Agriculture National Invasive Species Information Center     

Those gorgeous plants are bad, right? They’re the invasive riparian trees sucking Western water ways so dry that in 2006 Congress dedicated $80 million to study how to get rid of them.

Wrong.

Yes, millions have been spent trying to kill them, but it turns out that they may be good for the West.

WaterWired spotted the story in the May / June issue of Southwest Hydrology and today zapped it straight into the echo chamber. It turns out that the much vilified Salt Cedar, aka Tamarisk, does not gulp inordinate amounts of water. Moreover, it cohabits nicely with native vegetation except where native vegetation is stressed by human pressure on the rivers. Evidently, tamarisk is even a good habitat for birds.

To read the article by  Edward P. Glenn of the University of Arizona and Pamela L. Nagler and Jeffrey E. Lovich of the US Geological Survey, click here and head for the “On the Ground” section.


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