Tamarisk Beetle Expert Panel

In January 2015, Tamarisk Coalition, with funding from the Walton Family Foundation, facilitated a discussion in Tempe, Arizona concerning the tamarisk beetle in the Lower Colorado River Basin. A panel of experts from varied disciplines was convened to provide perspective on the possible ecological and geomorphic effects of the establishment of the tamarisk beetle in the CRB, and consider implications for both recovery and restoration of ecosystems basin-wide, including riparian restoration strategies. As previous synthesis efforts have largely addressed the issues concerning tamarisk and water use, the panel did not include this topic in the discussion. The overall goal was to provide expert perspective to inform riparian restoration practices and policy for riparian management in the CRB. Information provided by this expert panel may also be useful for other watersheds and states in the West.

“Wherever there is tamarisk, the beetle is either there or is coming soon. We want to                     make sure that land managers, endangered species managers, and public health and                   safety managers have the information they need to make good decisions about                     managing rivers and habitat. This report comes straight from the experts and offers                           objective perspectives and tools for decision making.”
- Peter Skidmore, Restoration Program Manager, Walton Family Foundation

The report from this panel discussion has been published by the Colorado Mesa University Ruth Powell Hutchins Water Center as:

Tamarisk beetle (Diorhabda spp.) in the Colorado River basin: synthesis of an expert panel forum

            (full version - 6.6 MB - may be downloaded here)

The panel included six scientists whose expertise spanned a range of relevant ecological and geographic processes:

·         Dan Bean, Colorado Dept of Ag - Palisade Insectary, Palisade, CO; biological control entomologist

·         Anna Sher, University of Denver, Denver, CO; riparian ecologist

·         Rebecca Manners, University of Montana, Missoula, MT; fluvial geomorphologist

·         Osvel Hinojosa Huerta, Pronatura Noroeste, La Paz, Mexico; wetland and avian ecologist

·         Matt Johnson, Colorado Plateau Research Station/ NAU, Flagstaff, AZ; Director/avian ecologist

·         Pat Shafroth, US Geological Survey, Ft. Collins, CO; riparian ecologist


Several presentations were given to the panel to "set the stage" for the discussion. Those presentations can be found by clicking on the links below:

·         Current and expected tamarisk beetle distribution in the Colorado River Basin 

           Ben Bloodworth, Tamarisk Coalition, Grand Junction, CO

·         What are the potential impacts of Diorhabda on Tamarix in the lower Colorado River Basin?

           Dan Bean

·         Investigating the effects of tamarisk and tamarisk beetle on riparian nesting birds

           Matt Johnson

·         Tamarisk beetle and wildfire interactions in desert riparian systems

           Gail Drus, St. Francis University, Loretto, PA

·         Plant community shifts in riparian restoration sites with and without Tamarix biological control

           Anna Sher

Tamarisk Coalition's

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