Chico Basin Riparian Restoration Project 2014
Implemented by Wildlands Restoration Volunteers
(Healthy Rivers Fund $8300)
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, people planted tamarisk and Russian Olive trees by the rivers to help stop erosion on the banks of the river and for decoration on the Chico Basin Ranch. It did help with erosion; however, it formed many more problems.
These species drink much more water from the rivers than native plants and trees. This leaves less water to flow downstream. Also, Russian Olive trees take salt from the water and ground and bring it to the top surface soil. The native plants have a hard time growing in the salty soil and the tamarisks and Russian Olives take over. Few animals can eat the tamarisk and Russian Olives. Without the native plants, fish, birds, insects, deer, and other animals do not have anything to eat or places to live. From here a domino effect continues up the food chain.
Healthy Rivers Fund support helped a consortium of nonprofit organizations round up volunteers to remove the Russian olive and tamarisk and replace them with native plants. In total, 658 native shrubs and trees were installed, volunteers contributed over 700 hours of work worth over $15,800.
The Chico Basin Ranch is located approximately 40 miles SE of Colorado Springs in the Chico Creek watershed and is dedicated to the enhancement and preservation of the natural world and the western heritage. Its mission is to create a working ranching model that views the ranch as an ecological resource base.