Title

Tamarisk and River-Channel Management

Document Type

Article

Subject Area(s)

Environmental Sciences

Abstract

Tamarisk (Tamarix chinensis, Lour.) an artificially introduced tree, has become a most common species in many riparian vegetation communities along the rivers of the western United States. On the Salt and Gila rivers of central Arizona, the plant first appeared in the early 1890s, and by 1940 it grew in dense thickets that posed serious flood-control problems by substantially reducing the capacities of major channels. Since 1940 its distribution and density in central Arizona have fluctuated in response to combined natural processes and human management. Groundwater levels, channel waters, floods, irrigation return waters, sewage effluent, and sedimentation behind retention and diversion works are major control mechanisms on the growth of tamarisk; on a regional scale of analysis, groundwater levels are the most significant under present conditions.

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