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Tour Highlights Salt Cedar Eradication Techniques

TUCUMCARI - Stubborn salt cedar is meeting its match in northeastern New Mexico, where a New Mexico State University tour Aug. 12 will explore several eradication programs.

Pete Walden, Quay County agriculture agent with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, said the tour is a chance to see what works in controlling salt cedar, an invasive plant that covers some 31,000 acres in the Canadian River watershed and is widespread along riverbanks in the Southwest.

"This is a chance to get everybody in the watershed together and explain they can have salt cedar sprayed at no or minimal cost through USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and assistance through the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority for Quay County landowners," Walden said.

The free bus tour begins at 6:30 a.m. at the Farrier Science Building in Tucumcari. The NMSU bus will pick up more participants in Logan at 7 a.m.

A stop is planned at Mosquero Creek, where a helicopter will spray salt cedars.

Ute Creek Project Manager Alecia Fitzgerald will give an overview of the Ute Creek project. NMSU Extension brush and weed specialist Keith Duncan will talk about timing and application methods.

The bus will pass Ute Creek, to give participants a look at the results of a 2003 treatment, and will stop at a site where goats are being used to control the invasive salt cedars. Mike Delano of the Natural Resources Conservation Service will speak on the Top Down method (from the Colorado state line to Texas) and goat owner Kelly Boney will speak on biological control using goats.

Next, tour participants will visit the Hopson Ranch, where a creek bed that had been dry for 23 years began flowing again, despite a four-year drought. Rancher Harry Hopson will give a history of salt cedar on the Arroyo de la Cejita. Duncan will speak about what to do after spraying: whether to leave the dead brush in place, burn it or mechanically remove it.

Debbie Hughes, executive director of the New Mexico Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, will give a state and federal funding overview.

A free lunch will be provided at the Bueyeros School House, where Richard Bull and Mike Delano of NRCS will speak about the USDA's Continuous Conservation Reserve Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Rod Goodwin of CRMWA will speak about landowner assistance.

Sponsoring the event are the Canadian and Ute Creek soil and water conservation districts, NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, CRMWA and Aero Tech's Ted Stallings of Clovis.

Participants will be eligible for three and a half hours of continuing education credits toward becoming pesticide license holders.

So meal reservations can be made, Walden asks participants to contact him at (505) 461-0562 or gwalden@nmsu.edu.

For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting, please contact Walden at (505) 461-0562 or gwalden@nmsu.edu before the event.