BOULDER, Utah (AP) -- A new partnership will fight the spread of Russian olive and other invasive weeds on private and public lands in southern Utah's Escalante River watershed.

The Escalante River Watershed Partnership was formed in June. Using seed money from the National Park Foundation the group will work to combat the spread of Russian olive.

The plant absorbs large amounts of water and creates impenetrable thickets along streams. It also pushes out native plants that provide habitat for other plants and animals.

The plant's encroachment is causing ecological and economic losses and is hurting recreation in the area.

Last month the partnership gathered and organized into working groups to develop a plan. More meetings are planned for the spring.

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