Invasive species drying watercourses in southwest and spreading east
HUTCHINSON -- The Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition (KGLC) is holding its annual fall tour on Friday, Oct. 17, in Meade and Clark counties. The tour will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration at the Meade County USDA Service Center, 301 N. Post in Meade. Two sites are featured on the tour -- the Walter Hager/Todd Siverson Ranch located on Crooked Creek south of Meade in Meade County and the Dunne Ranch south of Ashland in Clark County.

“With increasing concern about salt cedar, sometimes called 'tamarisk,' invading western Kansas watercourses and rangelands, this tour will focus on how to control the plant,” says Tim Christian, KGLC coordinator.

The morning stop at the Hager/Siverson ranch will demonstrate treating salt cedar with stump-cut and herbicide treatment, and participants will see the machinery in action. The second stop will highlight past treatment and how effective the control has been to date on the Dunne ranch. Ranchers will discuss their plans and goals for the affected areas.

Many biologists believe that critical stream flows in the region could be restored by salt cedar control, benefiting ranchers and wildlife. The Kansas Geological Survey is conducting studies on the Cimarron River near the Dunne ranch, and KGLC hopes to provide results from this study and update participants on changes in stream flow.

Salt cedar is a highly invasive, non-native woody plant that has infested watercourses and grazing lands throughout the intermountain West. In the past 30 to 40 years, it has gained a foothold in Kansas, spreading from south to north and west to east, with sightings into McPherson County along the Smoky Hill River and Reno County along the Arkansas River. It was introduced early in the 20th century as an ornamental and soil-erosion plant. There are few natural deterrents to its spread.

The fee for the KGLC tour is $10, which covers lunch. Participants must register for lunch by Oct. 14. To register or for more information, phone Christian at 620-241-3636 or email Ken Sherraden, KGLC staff member, may also be phoned at 785-922-7061 or emailed at