Environmental Management

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 231–246 | Cite as

Control of Tamarix in the Western United States: Implications for Water Salvage, Wildlife Use, and Riparian Restoration

  • Patrick B. ShafrothEmail author
  • James R. Cleverly
  • Tom L. Dudley
  • John P. Taylor
  • Charles VAN RiperIII
  • Edwin P. Weeks
  • James N. Stuart


Non-native shrub species in the genus Tamarix (saltcedar, tamarisk) have colonized hundreds of thousands of hectares of floodplains, reservoir margins, and other wetlands in western North America. Many resource managers seek to reduce saltcedar abundance and control its spread to increase the flow of water in streams that might otherwise be lost to evapotranspiration, to restore native riparian (streamside) vegetation, and to improve wildlife habitat. However, increased water yield might not always occur and has been substantially lower than expected in water salvage experiments, the potential for successful revegetation is variable, and not all wildlife taxa clearly prefer native plant habitats over saltcedar. As a result, there is considerable debate surrounding saltcedar control efforts. We review the literature on saltcedar control, water use, wildlife use, and riparian restoration to provide resource managers, researchers, and policy-makers with a balanced summary of the state of the science. To best ensure that the desired outcomes of removal programs are met, scientists and resource managers should use existing information and methodologies to carefully select and prioritize sites for removal, apply the most appropriate and cost-effective control methods, and then rigorously monitor control efficacy, revegetation success, water yield changes, and wildlife use.


Tamarix Saltcedar Tamarisk Evapotranspiration Water salvage Wildlife use Riparian restoration Revegetation Invasive species Exotic species Control 



We dedicate this article to the memory of our friend, colleague, and co-author, John P. Taylor, who unexpectedly passed away before the manuscript went to press. Adios, JT. Development and writing of this manuscript was supported by the US Geological Survey, Central Region Integrated Science Partnership program. Helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript were provided by G. Auble, C. Dahm, G. DelloRusso, F. D’Erchia, D. Finch, J. Friedman, W. Graf, D. Merritt, A. Sher, J. Swett, J. Stromberg, H. Walker, and an anonymous reviewer.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick B. Shafroth
    • 1
    Email author
  • James R. Cleverly
    • 2
  • Tom L. Dudley
    • 3
  • John P. Taylor
    • 4
  • Charles VAN RiperIII
    • 5
  • Edwin P. Weeks
    • 6
  • James N. Stuart
    • 7
  1. 1.Fort Collins Science CenterUS Geological SurveyFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Department of Natural Resource and Environmental ScienceUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA
  4. 4.Bosque del Apache National Wildlife RefugeUS Fish and Wildlife ServiceSocorroUSA
  5. 5.Southwest Biological Science CenterUS Geological SurveyTucsonUSA
  6. 6.National Research ProgramUS Geological SurveyDenverUSA
  7. 7.Conservation Services Division New Mexico Department of Game and FishJames N. StuartSanta FeUSA

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