Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Weeds on the shoreline of Stansbury Lake are a nuisance for residents living along the shores.

August 23, 2018
Group works to rid Stansbury Lake of noxious weeds

Tamarisk and phragmites targeted 

There are some unwanted invaders all along Stansbury Lake. 

They’ve been here before, but this year has been especially bad. Now a group of residents are looking to make sure they go away, and stay away. 

Those invaders? The noxious weeds tamarisk and phragmites. 

The Friends of Stansbury Lake, a community group founded by Stansbury Service Agency Trustee Cassandra Arnell, is looking to locate, remove and spray both noxious weeds. Member Brenda Alverson presented the progress the group has made since its founding this spring during Wednesday’s service agency meeting. 

Alverson said the group went to all of the lakefront property in Stansbury Park, a total of about 355 homes, and found 180 with phragmites and a similar number with tamarisk, in various stages of growth. She said the Friends of Stansbury Lake have been working with Tooele County Weed Control Supervisor Jerry Caldwell to obtain pesticide sprays. 

Now, the community group has created flyers to distribute to homes along the lake, which will inform residents if they have noxious weeds behind their homes. There are four variations of the flyer — one for phragmites, one for tamarisk, one for both and one for those with no weeds. 

“We try to be real positive about it and let them know that it’s a problem but they’re not alone,” Alverson said. 

Residents can either ask for assistance from volunteers to remove or spray the weeds, or sign up to spray the weeds themselves. The chemical treatment is provided by the county and must be signed out before use. 

Trustee Mike Johnson suggested the service agency’s seasonal employees may be able to treat for the weeds as the season winds down. Alverson said the noxious weeds can be until the first frost and the spray is especially effective in the early fall for tamarisk. 

Both tamarisk, also known as saltcedar, and phragmites, or common reed, can be found on the banks of waterways or lakes. They are not native to Utah, though phragmites is considered native to North America.

Phragmites and tamarisk have dramatic growth potential. Phragmites can grow up to 10 feet tall with lateral roots as much as three feet deep, according to Utah State University’s Noxious Weed Field Guide for Utah.  

Tamarisk, a woody perennial, grows to between 5 and 20 feet tall, with an extensive root system, according to the noxious weed guide. It can transpire 200 gallons of water per plant per day. 

Alverson said it could take 3 years of treatment and vigilance to eradicate noxious weeds from the lake. Even after treatment this fall, some of the plants will return or new ones will emerge. 

So far outreach and community response has been positive, Alverson said. 

“We’re just getting real good support from people because I think they understand what this means to them,” she said. 

For more information on noxious weeds, visit the Tooele County Weed Control Division website at


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