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Invasive species in canyons

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rickinlo, May 31, 2013.

  1. rickinlo


    For those of you who haven't thought much about it, here is another ethical consideration to take note of canyoneering. That is, not transporting nasty invasive weeds from one place to another.

    What brought this up, is that I've been working recently in Arches National Park with ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus ) in Courthouse Wash and Dragonfly Canyon. Ripgut is kind of like cheat grass, except larger, and requires more moisture so it's kind of restricted to riparian corridors. It is all over Zion National Park campgrounds, but around Arches and Canyonlands exists only in a few places. One of these, is in the most popular technical canyon in Arches National Park. It appears to have been introduced somehow in the upper technical section of the canyon (around 2003), and has spread downstrea
    m through Dragonfly and into Courthouse by means of flash flooding.

    Since it's appearance begins in the upper technical section, it seems likely that it was brought over by canyoneers, perhaps from Zion or elsewhere. It would be easy to do. Right around this time of year it starts to dry out, and the numerous seeds jam into your shoes and socks, digging into all the little corners of your shoes and poking your feet. Maybe someone finally got sick of it waiting at the bottom of the first rappel in Dragonfly and started pulling the seeds out of their socks.

    So, I'm not trying to place blame on anyone, there are certainly other ways it could have been introduced. But the point is, be careful. The major way we can move invasives from one drainage to another is through seeds attaching to our clothes or gear. So, if this happens, do what you can to either remove the seeds in the same area you got them from, or place them into a sealed ziplock bag when you remove them, and throw them away. I know, it can be really obnoxious to get all of the seeds out. But, what'
    s more obnoxious is trying to get rid of a species of invasive plants once they establish.

    The picture at the bottom is ripgut brome (circled) beneath the first drop in Dragonfly Canyon.

    lostlandscapes likes this.
  2. ratagonia


    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Thanks Rick. Something to think about. A shame to bring these nasty invasives into our favorite places.

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