Virgin River

Environmental Concerns

Biocontrol is not without risk; while Diorhabda poses no threat to other plants, wildlife managers worry that defoliation may threaten the willow flycatcher, an endangered bird that nests in tamarisk at some Virgin River sites, and defoliation during breeding can expose nests to the elements. Recovery of willows and other native trees will provide better future habitat, but wildlife agencies must consider even short-term risk of harm. Thus, monitoring is needed to assess positive and negative responses, and to identify where actions such as restoration should be focused to minimize risks. Restoration can mitigate concerns over the long haul, and in collaboration with Partners in Conservation and the City of Mesquite, we are implementing restoration to hasten recovery of native riparian vegetation.