4th Annual Yampa River Leafy Spurge Project ‘Show Me Float’ raises awareness of noxious plant | CraigDailyPress.com

4th Annual Yampa River Leafy Spurge Project ‘Show Me Float’ raises awareness of noxious plant

CRAIG —  A flotilla of rafts launched Friday morning from the State Wildlife Area known as “Dorsey” — located a few miles east of Craig and just south of U.S. Highway 40 — to float a 10 mile stretch of the Yampa River. The purpose was to help participants learn more about one of the most harmful plants in the world — leafy spurge.

"Leafy spurge invades prairies, pastures and other open areas. It is a major pest of national parks and nature preserves in the western United States. It can completely overtake large areas of land and displace native vegetation,” according to the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States. It has earned a place among a global list of the hundred most harmful foreign species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

For the fourth consecutive year, representatives from 17 groups comprising the Yampa River Leafy Spurge Project partnership hosted the “Show Me Float” — an educational and fun trip to teach participants about the leafy spurge infestation on the Yampa River.

The float coincides with false-bloom — when the reproductive parts of the plant turn bright yellow-green. About 15 people participated in the trip, which lasted a little more than three hours on the flat water stretch of river that ends at the Yampa Valley Golf Course. The float was followed by a barbecue at Loudy-Simpson Park, provided by the Northwest Colorado Chapter of the Parrotheads.

Talks before the float, stops along the way and lunch-time conversation informed participants about ongoing and planned treatments, research needs and the roles various agencies and landowners can play in addressing the problem.

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“The infestation that was once confined to a 15-mile stretch of the river within Western Routt and Eastern Moffat County has now spread as far as Dinosaur National Monument,” said YRLSP partner John Husband. “We’re at the point where we have to decide if we are going to tackle this problem or throw our hands up and let it go.”

Residents and visitors to the area are encouraged to help by reporting leafy spurge. To learn more and report infestations, visit yampariverleafyspurgeproject.com.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.