Many western riverside lands, critical habitat to a vast majority of all western species are increasingly threatened by invasive, non-native trees and shrubs, and some are dominated by invasive grasses and forbs. Impacts include increasing wildfire hazard, intensifying the severity of flooding, outcompeting and displacing native vegetation and adjacent dryland plant communities, providing poor habitat for fish and most wildlife, and blocking access and limiting human use of the waterways for recreation and agriculture.
RiversEdge West (formerly Tamarisk Coalition) advances the restoration of riparian lands, replanting native species after invasive plants have been removed, finding resources to support riparian restoration work, building restoration partnerships and securing long-term funding for restoration projects. The nonprofit also hosts educational events that connect the community and people conducting work on the ground with the knowledge, latest science, and lessons learned in the riparian restoration field.
In 2016, the Tamarisk Coalition began Restore Our Rivers, a two-year, $2.4 million campaign along with nine river restoration partnerships, to invest in the organizational strength and viability of those who are instrumental in riparian restoration. Under this umbrella, the nonprofit, Spanish Peaks-Purgatoire River Conservation District and the Purgatoire Watershed Partnership formed a collaborative to improve the ecological integrity, agricultural productivity and economy of the Purgatoire River Watershed through non-native noxious weed control and land restoration. The Tercio Good Neighbors Project (TGNP), supported by the Tercio Foundation, was piloted by the collaborative to create educational and financial opportunities for landowners in the upper Purgatoire River watershed to restore their land with native plants and grasses and eliminate noxious and invasive plant species.
Photo: Jeffrey Beall