Area bodies of water being helped - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Area bodies of water being helped

Amarillo, TX - A program that was developed to keep our area's water sources and vegetation from drying out is now showing signs of success.

A small insect is making a big impact across the Texas panhandle.

Salt cedar beetles feed off the leaves of salt cedar trees, causing them to wither and eventually die.

If left alone, these invasive trees have the potential to do a lot of damage to our environment.

That's why the foreign beetle was brought to our area in 2010 and area researchers are finally seeing the success of the program.

GPS is now being used in the process to identify the number of salt cedar trees that are dead, which is now in the thousands.

Experts say the beetles have helped get this problem under control.

"Compared to some other areas of Texas where they have salt cedar problems, this is a relatively light infestation. There are places that are wall-to-wall salt cedars on both sides of rivers and underneath that there are no other green plants. For one, the trees take up a lot of the water and the other thing, they shed a lot of salt and make the soil very saline," says Jerry Michels, PhD, Texas AgriLIFE Research.

These trees have the capacity to suck up to 50 gallons of water from our area a day.

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