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Release Date: 02/13/12
Contacts: David Boyd, Public Affairs Specialist, (970) 876-9008    

Volunteers to plant 4,000 willows along the Dolores River (02-12-12)

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Volunteers will help the Bureau of Land Management plant up to 4,000 willows Feb. 25-28 along the Dolores River south of Gateway, Colo.

The volunteers will cut and replant willows in areas where non-native, invasive tamarisk trees have been removed. This will help restore the native plant regime and benefit wildlife habitat.

Since 2009, the Dolores River Restoration Partnership – a coalition of more than a dozen private groups and government agencies dedicated to restoring the Dolores River riparian habitat to its natural function – has used mechanical methods and conservation corps crews to remove tamarisk from more than 630 acres along the Dolores River on both private and public land.

“Removing the tamarisk is one important element of riparian restoration along the Dolores River,” said Mark Taber, a BLM resource management specialist. “Now, with the help of volunteers, we can accelerate the return of native plants by cutting, transporting and replanting native willows.”

Using volunteers, the BLM hopes to plant about 1,000 willows on each of the four days. Volunteers are still needed to help Feb. 27-28. 

“Restoring native plant communities like the willow along the banks of Dolores River is an excellent opportunity to make a real difference in the health of the river and the important habitat it provides,” said Peter Mueller, Director of the North San Juan Mountain Project for The Nature Conservancy, one of the participants in the Dolores River Restoration Partnership.

Advanced registration is required for the volunteer project. Volunteers may register for one or both days.  Search “Dolores River Willow Planting” at or call (970) 244-3046. 

Volunteers should dress in layers and wear winter work clothes, insulated boots and gloves, and a hat. Children ages 12 and older are welcome if accompanied by a parent. Work will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Lunch will be provided by Gateway Canyons Resort.

For more information about volunteer opportunities with the BLM’s Grand Junction Field Office, call 970 244-3000 or visit the website at For more information about the Dolores River Restoration Partnership, go to

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  2815 H Road      Grand Junction, CO 81506  

Last updated: 02-13-2012