Dinosaur II -- Go Big or Go Home

On July 14-23, 2000, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Habitat Restoration Team took another one of its famous trips, this time returning to Dinosaur National Monument to remove non-native tamarisk from the banks of the Green River. This was a sequel to a September, 1999 trip, with much of the same cast of characters. The theme for this trip is a river saying, "Go Big or Go Home".

Our mission was to remove Tamarisk from several research sites along Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument. The water flow through this canyon is controlled by a dam at Flaming Gorge, upstream. Researchers have noticed that the flow regime through the dam appears to have an effect on the ability of tamarisk to become established along the banks. When tamarisk establishes itself along the banks of the river, it traps sediment, narrowing the river channel, and forcing the river to downcut, destroying habitat for native plants and animals.

We were under no illusion that we could remove all the tamarisk from the canyon. We couldn't make a significant dent in it. However, by removing it from a few select sites that were being scientifically monitored, our work could help provide evidence for researchers to determine what flow regimes from the dam would be most likely to hinder further tamarisk growth.

Note: click any of the small pictures to get a bigger version.

Packing the Van Maria, Tony, and I met in the Marin Headlands to pick up the park service van early Friday morning, July 14. I drove my own VW camper van, and most of the people will ride in the bigger van. We drove over to the Presidio in San Francisco to pick up most of our fellow travellers and to pack the big government van. Here Jim is standing behind the van, Jung is carrying gear to it, and someone (Maria?) is loading the gear.

We left the Presidio and drove over to Berkeley to pick up Dave, our final trip member. It took a bit of navigating to find his house, since none of us had been there before. We used a "spiral approach", circling his house a few times, coming closer and closer, before we finally found it. Walkie-talkies came in handy for communicating between the two vans as we navigated the streets of Berkeley and Oakland.

Windshield Washing We left the Bay area around 11:30 or so, and cruised across the Central Valley on I-80. Here Andrew is cleaning the van's windshield at a fuel stop in Auburn.

We drove up the Sierra Nevada on I-80, and grabbed some lunch at Boomtown, just barely across the Nevada state line. Then we switched onto highway 50 at Fallon, and drove to a hot spring east of Austin, where we had stayed last year.

Here we're making camp in the desert as the sun sets and the moon rises.

Andrew's Tent Maria's Tent Tony's Tent

We had a nice Spaghetti dinner, and retired to the hot spring to watch the bats swoop down at us and eat bugs.

Forward to Road Day 2

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©2000 Richard Cochran
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