Invasive species management on ULP lease tracts along the banks of Colorado’s Dolores River has restored native plant species, improved riparian habitat, and created a healthier ecosystem.

Invasive species management on ULP lease tracts along the banks of Colorado’s Dolores River has restored native plant species, improved riparian habitat, and created a healthier ecosystem.

As part of National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW), the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management (LM) recognizes the invaluable assistance of the Dolores River Restoration Partnership (DRRP) and the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC).  

Celebrated annually from May 16 to 23, NISAW is dedicated to developing awareness about invasive species and connecting organizations that offer invasive species removal and restoration.  

DRRP and SCC have proven to be outstanding partners in species management on two of LM’s Uranium Leasing Program (ULP) lease tracts. DRRP launched in 2010 to address tamarisk and other non-native vegetation that have displaced native species, threatened wildlife habitat, and jeopardized the sustainability of natural vegetation along the Dolores River. This public-private partnership includes federal land management agencies, local governments, landowners, and other stakeholders — all focused on restoring natural habitat along the banks of the Dolores River. LM was introduced to the Dolores River Restoration Partnership (DRRP) in 2011 by Colorado State Senator Don Coram. Coram is also president of Gold Eagle Mining, Inc., which is the leaseholder for a ULP lease tract along the Dolores River. 

Invasive species management on ULP lease tracts along the banks of Colorado’s Dolores River has restored native plant species, improved riparian habitat, and created a healthier ecosystem.

Invasive species management on ULP lease tracts along the banks of Colorado’s Dolores River has restored native plant species, improved riparian habitat, and created a healthier ecosystem.

Through its partnership with DRRP, LM was introduced to the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC), which performs much of the invasive weed control in the area. Since 2011, SCC has generally spent one to two weeks a year working on the two ULP lease tracts along the Dolores River. SCC focuses on removing invasive plant species (such as tamarisk, Russian knapweed, and Canada thistle) by spot-spraying, as well as reseeding native vegetation. This partnership has removed invasive species and reestablished native vegetation on more than four miles of riverbank that pass through two ULP lease tracts. 

LM oversees tens of thousands of acres of land across the nation, serving as stewards of these lands and ensuring they are properly managed for future generations. Part of LM’s active role in stewardship involves monitoring vegetation and plant life, ensuring that native species for each area can thrive by addressing non-native and invasive species.  

LM is proud to partner with DRRP and SCC to address invasive species and restore native vegetation and habitat along the banks of the Dolores River. This important work highlights LM’s commitment to stewardship and, most importantly, ensures the future of healthy riparian habitat.