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News Release

Russian Olive Removal and Replacement at Horsetooth Reservoir

Department: Natural Resources
Release Date: Feb 28, 2014

Contact Information:

Casey Cisneros, Weed Specialist, (970) 619-4587

In an effort to conclude a decade-long project, the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources (LCNR) will remove and replace Russian-olive trees at Inlet Bay and South Bay campgrounds at Horsetooth Reservoir County Park beginning March 3. Starting with Flatiron Reservoir in 2003, LCNR staff has partnered with the Bureau of Reclamation to rid Larimer County campgrounds of Russian-olive trees, an invasive exotic species that is designated in Colorado as a noxious weed, and whose continued spread should be stopped.

Distributed across the landscape mainly by birds, Russian-olive are an exotic tree species that spreads rapidly through riparian corridors and sites where ground water is close to the surface, often displacing native flora and diminishing wildlife habitat.
The goal of this project is to manage this state-listed noxious weed while fostering awareness and promoting sound land stewardship in Larimer County. Although once recommended by state and federal agencies as a drought tolerant tree species good for wind breaks and bank stabilization, Russian-olive is no longer sold at nurseries in Colorado and is being removed from many natural areas and open spaces across the state. In the campgrounds at Horestooth Reservoir County Park the Russian-olives that serve as shade in some campsites will be replaced with desirable ornamental species that grow quickly and do not demonstrate invasive traits in Colorado’s eco-systems.
There are several effective techniques in controlling this troublesome thorny tree species. In the campgrounds, staff will use a cut-stump treatment where the tree will be cut down, and then receive herbicidal treatment immediately around the remaining living plant tissue. Without herbicide the tree can re-sprout, sending out even more thorny branches than prior to being cut down.
Free Larimer County services are available to local landowners wishing to remove and replace Russian-olive on their property to help with this thorny task. The Larimer County Weed District staff offers expert advice after conducting a free site visit. Go to or call (970) 498-5768 to set up a visit. For recommendations concerning appropriate tree replacements or planting tips call the Larimer County Forester‘s office at (970) 498-5765.
For more information regarding this project or to set-up a time to visit the work site on March 4 or 5, please contact Casey Cisneros at (970) 619-4578 or
To learn more about Larimer County’s parks and open spaces,
visit our website at
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