In reality, it was an experiment of sorts. A population of invasive tamarisk saplings nearly as far as our eyes could see was growing along what previously had been beautiful shorebird habitat. To tackle the tamarisk invasion at Gillmor Sanctuary, hearty volunteers and Audubon staff armed with shears and loppers gathered on September 10th.
Soon after we began working, we were on hands and knees, clipping the many stems that each sapling produced and dotting each freshly cut tip with herbicide. Conversation was pleasant, if not amusing, but we hardly moved. After two solid hours, we cleared about 15 x 20 ft. That’s just 0.007 ac. We mused that we should bring out a troop of inmates, but even then, it would be slow going. Ultimately, we wanted to see if tackling the tamarisk is something that could grow into a major volunteer effort, since there is plenty of it and it’s a major expense to control it at the sanctuary.
Will we solicit volunteers again? Yes, but likely in a different capacity when it comes to tamarisk. Typically, we save the larger “trees” for the Utah Conservation Corps, with whom we contract each year to chip away at our older stands. They will be working at Gillmor next month, and when they do we’ll be sure to run some ideas by them to see if we can expand our efforts with the many who want to help at Gillmor Sanctuary. If you’d like to receive updates about future volunteer opportunities at Gillmor Sanctuary, be sure to sign up for our emails!