One of the ecologists planning to unleash tamarisk beetles in an area of the McInnis Canyons Conservation Area next week says a lot of research has gone into making certain the project is safe for the environment.
The insectory in Palisade has been raising 70,000 of the beetles for a seven–state project intended to eradicate tamarisk, which has crowded out native plants along thousands of miles of riverside habitat in the southwest.
Scientists spent four years studying the beetles before releasing the first of them in the Pueblo area in 1997. A plan to release the beetles in the Grand Junction area has been delayed by regulatory hurdles for two years.
Insectory Manager Dan Bean says it will still be some time before more of the tiny insects that eat tamarisk are released in other areas of the Grand Valley. Raising the tamarisk beetle has not been easy for insectory workers. The rice–sized beetles need constant maintenance and fresh tamarisk daily.
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