Successful Riparian Planting Trainings

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by Season Martin, Tamarisk Coalition

On November 30th and December 1st, 2010 the Tamarisk Coalition (TC), in partnership with the Los Lunas Plant Materials Center (LLPMC) and the Upper Colorado Environmental Plant Center (UCEPC), hosted a riparian planting training workshop near Grand Junction, Colorado. Over sixty attendees participated in the training, including a number of state and federal agencies from Colorado and Utah, as well as private landowners and interested individuals.

Steve Parr from the UCEPC kicked off the training with a presentation on seeding considerations. Greg Fenchel from the LLPMC followed-up with a presentation on riparian restoration methodologies, with an emphasis on longstem plantings. The morning was spent in the classroom, learning the basics of seed treatments; grow out methods; benefits and challenges of riparian restoration; species availability; and planting methods for longstem products were also discussed. In the afternoon, participants met at the Los Colonias section of Watson Island, a City of Grand Junction property, to learn, through hands-on participation, how to correctly plant pole cuttings and longstem products. Participants installed willows, cottonwoods, and a wide variety of riparian shrub species along the riparian corridor. The Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) generously provided the use of their tractor and two of their fearless operators, Tom Sanderson and Derek Lovoi.

The TC has been working with the LLPMC and UCEPC by way of funding from the Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund and the Central Utah Project Completion Act, to grow, from seed a number of locally adapted riparian species using the longstem grow out method and provide riparian restoration trainings. Longstems, which have root balls 4″×4″×14″ and stem heights of up to six feet, allow planting up to six feet below the soil surface. The longstem planting method ensures that the plant roots are in direct contact with the water table, greatly increasing plant survival. Ultimately, the TC and partners hope to disseminate knowledge about this method, and its utility for growing native plants, to commercial growers in the region. If you missed out on this year’s riparian planting training workshop, but want to learn more about riparian restoration we will be hosting more training opportunities in 2011 and a short video and course handouts will be available on our website by the first of the year.

For more information contact Shannon at shatch@tamariskcoalition.org or keep an eye out on the TC website (http://www.tamariskcoalition.org/) for updated information. Thanks to all of our partners who contributed to the success of this event, including the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), LLPMC, UCEPC, CDOW, Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, and the City of Grand Junction.