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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

For more information:

Crystal Thompson
Central Arizona Project
Community Relations and Public Affairs
Email: cthompson@cap-az.com
Phone: 623.869.2138
www.cap-az.com

Ben Bloodworth
Tamarisk Coalition
Email: bbloodworth@tamariskcoalition.org
Phone: 970-256-7400
www.tamariskcoalition.org

Across the West an invasive plant, Tamarisk, has formed dense stands along rivers, crowding out native plants, degrading wildlife habitat and impacting the health and function of rivers.  A biological control agent released by the US Dept. of Agriculture, the tamarisk beetle (Diorhabda spp.), was introduced to feed on and suppress tamarisk along these rivers.  This biological control agent is currently moving throughout the Southwest US, and more specifically into portions of Arizona. On January 21, the Tamarisk Coalition will host a workshop that will cover many aspects of the tamarisk beetle and its movement.

Tamarisk Coalition is a non-profit organization with a mission to “Advance the restoration of riparian lands through collaboration, education, and technical assistance”.  Tamarisk Coalition provides support and information to many land and resource management agencies, government entities, and land owners working to improve the health and functioning of riparian areas on western river systems.

Taking place at Central Arizona Project (CAP) facilities in Phoenix, the workshop will highlight current information on the tamarisk beetle, its movement, and its interactions with the ecosystem.  Topics will include the history, introduction, spread, and monitoring of the beetle, potential effects to wildlife - including the southwestern willow flycatcher and yellow-billed cuckoo, successful riparian restoration techniques, permitting for restoration, and what to expect in riparian ecosystems in Arizona when the beetle is a permanent component.

"Central Arizona Project (CAP) is the steward of central Arizona's Colorado River supplies,” said Pam Pickard, president of the Central Arizona Project Board. “The health and sustainability of the Colorado River is of critical importance to CAP, as well as the more than five million Arizonans who depend on CAP's delivery of reliable river supplies. In pursuit of this mission, CAP sponsors efforts that conserve and improve environmental conditions and stream flow along the Colorado River. Among these efforts, CAP supports the removal and control of invasive tamarisk trees in a manner sensitive to the needs of endangered species that depend on tamarisk such as the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher.” 

The purpose of the workshop is to disseminate tamarisk beetle information that will help inform workshop participants and their work.  This offers land and resource managers, private land owners, researchers, tribal representatives, government officials, policy makers and others interested in riparian restoration the opportunity to learn and discuss the latest information on these issues.         

The workshop is supported and sponsored by the following agencies and organizations: AZ Game and Fish, Central Arizona Project, Freeport-McMoRan Inc., Stillwater Sciences, and SWCA Environmental Consultants.

The workshop is full with over 100 participants registered; information will be posted on the Tamarisk Coalition website after the event.