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Volunteers, conservation corps remove salt cedar
Great Falls Tribune
October 2nd, 2014
By Tribune Staff
A seek-and-destroy mission against salt cedar in the Missouri Breaks this past field season was a big success, thanks to the Montana nonprofit that protects the Missouri Breaks Monument, hard-working crews of young people and dedicated volunteers.
The Friends of the Missouri Breaks Monument and its partners removed nearly 500 salt cedar plants and hiked more than 120 miles of riverfront this season.
Thanks to funding from PPL Montana, the Friends hired Montana Conservation Corps crews to put in some hot and sweaty hours over the summer field season. MCC crews and Friends volunteers hiked 121 river and tributary miles in search of invasive salt cedar.
The crews worked closely with BLM natural resource specialist Kenny Keever and BLM technicians Paul Turner and Clint Crowley to identify and remove the salt cedar.
“A million thanks go out to the Friends for getting the grant money for the MCC crews and rounding up a group of dedicated volunteers to help,” Keever said.
As cottonwood trees are struggling to take hold along the Wild and Scenic section of the river, invasive plants like salt cedar are filling in the gaps. And these plants don’t provide the shade or habitat that cottonwoods do.
The 2011 floods did deposit cottonwood seedlings, but they also deposited a new infestation of salt cedar seedlings that will overmatch the cottonwoods if left unchecked. Nearly 98 percent of the salt cedar removed over the summer had been established since 2010 or 2011.
For more information, visit missouribreaks.org and at facebook.com/friendsofthemissouribreaks.