Tamarisk Beetle Monitoring Program

Prior to the release of the tamarisk beetle by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2001 as a biological control for tamarisk, the Tamarisk Coalition has been striving to connect land managers with information on the beetle and its potential impacts. Tamarisk Coalition does not participate in releasing beetles, but rather endeavors to monitor their distribution across the West.

Tamarisk beetles became a part of riparian ecosystems in the West shortly after their introduction and quickly expanded their range. A need to monitor this expansion and provide information on movement and distribution to land managers was recognized.

In 2007, Tamarisk Coalition worked with partners, namely the Colorado Department of Agriculture Palisade Insectary and University of California Santa Barbara Marine Science Institute, to develop a rapid assessment protocol to determine presence or absence of the beetle and began tracking these data, providing an updated map annually. The monitoring protocols are being continually modified and improved, and provided to our partners for their use. Currently, we work with 35 different partners to map the movement of tamarisk leaf beetle populations. Their range now expands from northern Mexico, below El Paso, north into Kansas, across the Colorado River basin, and into California. The beetle can be found in every state in the southwestern U.S., and has established populations in at least ten states.

Tamarisk Coalition continues to work with existing partners, and seeks to develop new partnerships, to monitor beetle populations and provide current maps to land managers and the public.

Tamarisk Beetle Monitoring Program Goals:

  • Monitor tamarisk beetle presence/absence expansion across the West, working with partners to coordinate data collection, providing training on protocols and housing data in an online database.

  • Identify information needs of land managers and work with the research community to fill these gaps and provide useful information on the real world effects of tamarisk beetle presence for incorporation into long-term land management and restoration plans.

  • Create worthwhile restoration solutions, compiling data from applied research to provide land managers with novel approaches and strategies for restoration in areas affected by the beetle.

  • Conduct presentations and outreach to further the development of both the monitoring and restoration solutions components of the tamarisk leaf beetle monitoring program, and raise general public awareness of the beetle and its impacts to river ecosystems.

Monitoring Protocols:

For more information contact Ben Bloodworth at bbloodworth@tamariskcoalition.org 

Tamarisk Coalition's

mission is to advance the restoration of riparian lands through collaboration, education, and technical assistance.

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