US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District

Tiny Beetle Being Used to Control Pesky Plant

Public Affairs
Published July 1, 2012
One of the many Tamarisk Leaf Beetles caught during the workshop.

One of the many Tamarisk Leaf Beetles caught during the workshop.

One of the District’s biologists, Danielle Galloway, uses a sweep net for capturing Tamarisk Leaf Beetles, a bio-controlling species that is used to help control the spread of Tamarisk.

One of the District’s biologists, Danielle Galloway, uses a sweep net for capturing Tamarisk Leaf Beetles, a bio-controlling species that is used to help control the spread of Tamarisk.

On May 30, employees from the District’s environmental section participated in the Tamarisk Leaf Beetle Monitoring Workshop at a field training location in Bernalillo, N.M. The hands-on workshop, attended by approximately 30 people from the Corps and other governmental and state agencies, was conducted by the Tamarisk Coalition, a non-profit alliance out of Colorado whose mission is to restore riparian lands.

The purpose of the workshop was to familiarize the attendees with the Tamarisk Leaf Beetle, a bio-controlling species that was introduced in 1999 in order to help with the control of the tamarisk plants. The beetle was extensively tested to ensure that it would not present any dangers to other plant species.

Tamarisk, commonly known as salt cedar, is a non-native, invasive plant species. It was first introduced in the United States from central Asia and the Mediterranean around the turn of the century for the purpose of erosion control.

However, tamarisk began to quickly over-run the native, local species and now needs to be controlled.

Unfortunately, controlling the tamarisk has another ramification because, within the last few years, the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher has adapted the tamarisk as one of its habitats. Therefore, before introducing the beetle or any other type of controlling measure, surveys must be completed to ensure the flycatcher has not inhabited the area.