Gila River Indian Community Restoration

In June 2008, the Ethan Fire burned 6,660 acres of salt cedar (Tamarix spp.) infested riparian habitat along the Gila River on the Gila River Indian Community land. In an effort to demonstrate efforts to control salt cedar re-growth in the burned area, 16 acres (two demonstration plots, one 13-acre plot and one 3-acre plot) in the Gila River Wetlands Study Area were treated with two different types of herbicide in December 2008.

The Gila River Indian Community Department of Environmental Quality hired Fred Phillips Consulting to design a restoration and monitoring plan for the 16 acres. Once the herbicide treatment was completed, FPC began conducting site and soil analysis to develop revegetation and irrigation plans. The project area presents many challenges for restoration including high salts in the river channel and ground water, depth to water in many places below 8 feet, and accessibility to the site. Salt tolerant native plants, drip irrigation, and deep pot planting were all integrated into a creative revegetation design to outcompete regenerating salt cedar. The primary goal of the monitoring plan will be to measure the effectiveness of the herbicide application on preventing the re-growth of salt cedar.