Colorado

May 13, 2010 9:41 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Removing tamarisk may not boost water supply

A U.S. Geological Survey report suggests clearing tamarisk, or salt cedar, from waterways doesn't significantly boost streamflow in the long-term.

The tree has spread since being used in the 1900s for erosion control.

A coalition of groups working to restore the Arkansas River basin says the watershed has an estimated 67,000 acres affected by tamarisk, which use about 76,600 acre-feet of water per year.

The USGS report says most studies have found that removing them wouldn't necessarily increase the water supply, which is an idea some have promoted in the valley. It says natural vegetation that replaces tamarisk may use the same amount of water, and that evaporation could increase if there's less shade from tamarisk.

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