MILL AND PACK CREEK RIPARIAN REGENERATION
Since 2003 Rim to Rim Restoration has been helping to reduce Russian olive and tamarisk and increasing native plant communities along Mill Creek. Restoration work started in the upper reaches of Mill Creek Canyon on BLM land, but more recently RRR has focused our efforts on the lowest 3 miles of the watershed. Over the past 15 years Rim to Rim and its partners have successfully regenerated native plant communities on over 150 acres from the Colorado River upstream through Moab to the Powerdam. Collaborators include Utah Department of Wildlife Resources Forestry, Fire and State Lands, the City of Moab, Grand County, the Nature Conservancy, over 45 private land owners. Our work still links to early efforts in the late 1990s on BLM land above town, and looking into the future we view Mill Creek riparian work as essential throughout the entire Mill Creek Watershed. The pace of work has slowed significantly in recent years, to allow the work areas to wait for native plants to regenerate. We received funding for this Mill Creek project through the Utah Partners in Conservation Development’s Watershed Restoration Initiative, countless hours of in-kind labor provided by land owners, the City of Moab, and two EPA 319 grant.
After a large fire along Mill Creek in the summer of 2018, the health and safety of the Mill Creek riparian area has become a more public issue. Most recently Rim to Rim has been collaborating with the Grand County Weed Department and the Bureau of Land Management to reduce the spread of Ravenna grass throughout the creeks. For 10 years Rim to Rim has collected data at 15 locations in town to track vegetation response to Russian olive and tamarisk removal efforts. This data helps us better understand which locations need active revegetation assistance and which areas regenerate native plant communities passively.