ELKO—The City of Elko is working to maintain the Humboldt River vegetation and public park trail areas by removing Russian olive trees and other invasive species and vegetation that hinder the flow rates of the river.
“The trees are like a nuisance because they grow like weeds,” said Public Works Director Dennis Strickland. “We work with the Nevada Division of Forestry crews to get them removed.”
This removal is one of the public works projects described in the Humboldt Area River Project master plan drafted by the Humboldt River project subcommittee in 1999. The plan was revised in 2010, said Parks and Recreation Director James Wiley.
Assistant City Manager Scott Wilkinson said the city had a hydrologist from Hansen, Allen, & Luce Inc. in Salt Lake City evaluate the river, as woody species were hindering the flow rates a few weeks ago.
This information will allow the Elko Park and Recreation and Public Works Department to improve the river’s overall quality, its subsequent outfalls, and then address the invasive species problems and general maintenance as they arise.
“We are also working to burn the dead willow trees with the City of Elko Fire Department,” Wilkinson said. “I cannot remember the last time that the city maintained them.”
There has been no announced date for the controlled burn of these trees. Wiley said he hopes to have that portion of maintenance completed by the end of November.
Improvements in the overall vegetation of the Frisbee Golf Course are also a portion of the project.
The Elko Parks and Recreation Department routinely works on the thinning of vegetation, planting of trees, and removal of invasive species. The last thinning of invasive weed species, spraying of herbicides, burn off, and reseeding occurred in 2014, Wiley said.
“After the flood, we also did a lot of thinning down there,” Wiley said. “The thistle and white-top weed species are the most common by the Frisbee course. The course is about five to six years old. We want to balance the native landscape with the river vegetation to keep the bank stable.”
All aspects of the HARP project aim to help make the trails, park and river better places for area residents.