U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Fuels Reduction & Watershed Function|
Tamarisk Removal Mitigates Flood Damage
Tamarisk removal efforts along Southern Nevada’s Virgin River couldn’t have come at a better time for the rapidly growing communities of Mesquite and Bunkerville. Only a few months after treatments were completed, flooding struck both communities at 100-150 year levels.
Tamarisk, also known as salt cedar, has adversely modified the hydrology and flood regimes of riparian systems throughout the Southwest, and has in turn altered the fire regime. BLM tamarisk removal efforts near Bunkerville and Mesquite not only reduced the wildland urban interface (WUI) fire threat to these rapidly growing communities, but also achieved sustainable restoration of the fire regime and high-value riparian habitats.
The photo at left shows a neighborhood adjacent to BLM land before vegetation treatment.
In areas where BLM had removed massive amounts of tamarisk, the Virgin River was allowed to mimic its historic flood pattern. Fire occurrence and acres burned within the project area have been reduced to zero, far ahead of schedule for for the long-term Healthy Forest Initiative project.
The photo at right shows the same neighborhood during the flood.