This past week, an ACE Utah crew completed a four day hitch working to eradicate the invasive species Arundo Donax from the banks of the La Verkin Creek in Utah.
Arundo Donax is a plant native to the Mediterranean. It is a perennial grass that grows in large stands up to thirty feet tall.
It is a voracious water consumer and can grow up to 6 inches per day. Furthermore the plant contains oils that make it a fire hazard. Combined, these factors make Arundo a very problematic plant. “If Arundo is left to grow, it can create a monoculture,” explained staff member Rick Anton. “We still have a chance to eradicate this species, but early detection and rapid response is our motto for this project.”
The eradication project is ongoing. Previously ACE crews went out on the creek, sawed down the stands, and sprayed the stumps with herbicide to prevent regrowth. The current project involved crews revisiting sites by following GPS coordinates and re-treating with herbicide any stands that had signs of new growth.
The conditions were hot and humid, and the task was repetitive. But the corps members remained in high spirits, even Bhrianna Malcolm, who has completed five hitches on this project. “It’s challenging work but I’m able to stay positive because you can see that your efforts are working. You can see that the plant is slowly becoming eradicated. It’s well worth it,” said Malcolm.
ACE’s work removing the Arundo Donax plant from the creekside is of significant importance to the restoration of this riparian zone to its original state.