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About our river restoration services
About our job creation services
About our river restoration services
About our river restoration services
About Working for Rivers' Waste-to-Product initiative
Working for Rivers


Working for Rivers is interested in practical options for utilizing non-native, invasive tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) and Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) biomass that may help to offset the cost of control and restoration work. Typically, when tamarisk is removed, it is either burned — releasing carbon dioxide into the air — or it is buried on site. The Working for Rivers Foundation views the plant waste as an untapped resource and is researching options for secondary uses for both species. There are many potential options and promising new technologies for converting plant biomass generated during the restoration process into energy and value-added products. These include using the cleared plant material for mulch, pellets in pellet-burning stoves, conversion to energy, and as a composite material in plastics and particle board. Information on the properties of tamarisk that has been impacted by the tamarisk biocontrol beetle, and its suitability as a feedstock for conversion to energy may be critically important for land managers seeking to offset the costs of tamarisk control, restore wildlife habitat and ecosystem function, and reduce wildfire threat posed by standing dead tamarisk biomass.


Working for Rivers partnered with Community Power Corporation ( to test tamarisk as fuel for the BioMax® — a renewable energy system which converts biomass to heat and a fuel gas. We collected and tested two types of tamarisk biomass from the Moab, Utah area: green (live) tamarisk, as well as tamarisk that has been repeatedly defoliated and weakened by a tamarisk biological control beetle (Diorhabda spp.). As the range of the biocontrol beetle rapidly expands in the West, information on the properties of weakened or dead tamarisk biomass may play an important role in land management planning and decision-making. Please contact us for more information.

Moab Tamarisk 2010: This slideshow covers a field demonstration of tamarisk biomass collection (felling, bucking, chipping, bagging, and shipping) at two sites near Moab, Utah.


Pellet fuel is a renewable, clean-burning heating alternative for stoves in homes or furnaces in large scale facilities. Today, there are approximately 800,000 homes in the U.S. using wood pellets for heat (Pellet Fuels Institute, Portable pellet mills are available from a variety of manufacturers, and may prove to be a useful tool for land managers involved in clearing tamarisk. Transporting a finished product (pellets, briquettes, or other such products) off-site is much more fuel-efficient and cost-effective than transporting raw woody biomass.


Federal “Forests and Rangelands” Woody Biomass Tools and Resources website

US Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Biomass Program

US Forest Service Woody Biomass Utilization

US Environmental Protection Agency, Combined Heat and Power Partnership

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC)

Centers for Renewable Energy & Biomass Utilization (University of North Dakota, Energy and Environmental Research Center)

Forest Guild, Biomass Program

Forest Guild, presentations from the 2009 Workshop “How to Heat with Wood in the Southwest”

Fuels for Schools and Beyond

Local Energy

The United States Clean Heat and Power Association

* We’d like to track how these documents are used. Please contact the Working for Rivers Foundation at, and let us know how this information was helpful to you.