Great Basin Naturalist


Efforts to reclaim amended and raw bentonite spoils with six plant species (two forbs, three shrubs, and one tree) were evaluated over a 4-year period. Plant species included fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens [Pursh] Nutt.), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata tridentata Nutt.), Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum Sarg.), Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia L.) common yarrow (Achillea millifolium L.) and scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea [Pursh] Rydb.). Spoil treatments included addition of gypsum, sawdust, perlite, straw, and vermiculite; the control treatment was amended. Fourwing saltbush had 52% survival across all spoil treatments, with greatest survival occurring on perlite-treated spoil (80%), followed by gypsum (70%) and vermiculite amendments (70%). Survival of other plant species ranged from 0 to 2% averaged across all treatments after 4 years. No differences in plant survival occurred among amendments when all species were considered.