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Colorado Division of Wildlife Press Release
PUEBLO, Colo. - The Pueblo State Wildlife Area will be closed from Sept. 13 to 17 for aerial spraying to reduce tamarisk.

Hunters, anglers, and other wildlife enthusiasts will not be able to enter the property before, during, or after the aerial spraying. Signs will be posted, and DOW employees will be staged at entrances of the property to keep people out until after the operation is complete.

"We know the Pueblo Lake State Wildlife Area is very popular," said Springer. "Our goal is to complete this project and return it to normal use just as quickly as possible." An announcement will be made as soon as the property reopens.

About 190 acres of river bottom on both sides of the Arkansas River will be sprayed up-river from the Swallows Cemetery, according to Quentin Springer of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The treatment area will be confined to state property.

Pueblo SWA is a vital hunting and fishing area for many local residents. The 7,800-acre property sits at the upper end of Pueblo Reservoir just 10 miles west of Pueblo.

Tamarisk, also known as salt cedar, was imported into the United States in the 1850's as an ornamental. During the early 20th century, it was extensively planted to control soil erosion. It quickly spread, and
displaced native plants.

State, federal and local governments are now working to control tamarisk and return ecosystems to their natural state.

From a wildlife point of view, tamarisk has little value. The leaves, twigs and seeds are extremely low in nutrients. As a result, insects, birds, deer and other wildlife rarely utilize the plant.

In one study along the lower Colorado River, tamarisk stands supported less than one percent of the winter bird life that would be found in a native plant stand. Once tamarisk takes over, it eliminates native
plants and forms single-species thickets, and wildlife populations drop dramatically.

Tamarisk thrives in arid climates and nutrient-poor soil. During the spring it can grow as much as one foot per month. Because of its ability to spread rapidly, its hardiness and its high water consumption, tamarisk has completely displaced native plants in many wetland areas.

"Spraying tamarisk with Imazapyr during the fall seems to be one of the most effect tools to killing the plant, which is the first step to restoring native vegetation," Springer explained.

Imazapyr is absorbed quickly through plant tissue and taken up by roots. Once inside the plant, it inhibits the enzyme activity required for protein synthesis and cell growth, which eventually kills the plant.

Because the chemical only effects enzymes and amino acids found in certain plants, it is non-toxic to insects or animals. It also has a low toxicity to fish, algae, and submersed vegetation.

For more information about the closure, contact Springer at (719) 252-7025.