The Transformation of Dryland Rivers: The Future of Introduced Tamarisk in the U.S.

Fact Sheet 2020-3061
By: , and 



Tamarix spp. (tamarisk or saltcedar), a shrub-like tree, was intentionally introduced to the U.S. from Asia in the mid-1800s. Tamarisk thrives in today’s human-altered streamside (riparian) habitats and can be found along wetlands, rivers, lakes, and streams across the western U.S. In 2001, a biological control agent, Diorhabda spp. (tamarisk leaf beetle), was released in six states, and has since spread throughout the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. Beetle defoliation of tamarisk has altered tamarisk’s water use and effectiveness as erosion control, as well as dynamics of native and nonnative plant and wildlife species. The full effects of the tamarisk leaf beetle on ecosystem function remain unknown. The U.S. Geological Survey collaborates with Tribal, State, Federal agencies, and other institutions to provide current, fact-based information on the effects of tamarisk and the tamarisk leaf beetle on managed resources, and provides sound science for conservation and restoration of riparian habitats in the southwestern U.S.

Suggested Citation

Nagler, P.L., Hull, J.B., van Riper, C., Shafroth, P.B., and Yackulic, C.B., 2021, The Transformation of dryland rivers: The future of introduced tamarisk in the U.S.: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020–3061, 6 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

ISSN: 2327-6916 (print)

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title The Transformation of dryland rivers: The future of introduced tamarisk in the U.S.
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2020-3061
DOI 10.3133/fs20203061
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center, Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 6 p.
Country United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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