Bonneville County Is
An unsuspecting culprit is taking hundreds of gallons of water from our rivers, creeks and canals.
A small salt cedar tree can drink up to 300 gallons of water a day.
Salt cedars are known to drink entire ponds dry.
That's part of the reason Idaho has recently made the tree illegal.
"One tree this size can take over 200-300 gallons of water a day out of water system," said Jeffrey Pettingill, Bonneville County Weed Control. It doesn't take much for these thirsty trees to start cropping up all over the place.
A branch as small as this one has about a thousand seeds, and it only takes one seed to float down the river to make a new tree.
"If you get these trees lined up along canal bank or pond, I've literally seen ponds that are drained, no water in them period, so it's really hard on the aquatic system, let alone any animals and fish that live in the water,"
People used to buy the salt cedar from the nurseries. The tree has decorated front yards with its brilliant pink flowers for generations.
"I just got it on the radar screen and has just became a noxious weed," said Pettingill.
With the noxious weed classification, Weed Control has the task of pulling every single salt cedar in the county.
People had these in their front yard. This house is 150 yards from the river, so potential for seeds getting in the river and trees lining river banks is the issue," said Pettingill.
That issue has become a reality at Gem Lake, where at least four salt cedars have made their homes on the river banks.
"It's very important on years like this when there's a drought and every little drop counts and we need it, so removing this tree not for today, but for cases in the future," Pettingill.
If you don't identify the salt cedar in your own yard, chances are the Bonneville County Weed Control will for you.
If you recognize the salt cedar tree and have one in your yard, call the Bonneville County Weed Control at 529-1397.
They will pull your tree at no cost, but if you don't act soon, weed control will still pull your tree, but you will foot the bill.
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