Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take That Arundo!

Sabino IBA Stewardship & TogetherGreen volunteer day. A good day for us, a bad day for Arundo!

By Jennie MacFarland – IBA Program Assistant - Biologist

As the cool morning dawned on Saturday, October 23, a group of 20 volunteers and 4 Tucson Audubon Society staff members gathered in the heart of Sabino Creek and Bear Creek Important Bird Area. Their purpose was to lay siege to the dense clumps of Arundo donax (Giant Reed) that is invading Sabino Creek. For those who have not encountered this less than charming plant, Arundo is an invasive species from Asia that crowds out native vegetation and strongly competes for water. For this reason, we are trying to rid Sabino Creek of Arundo and protect the habitat for native birds in this Important Bird Area.


We all gathered at 8am and listened to a welcome speech and instructions on how to attack Arundo from Kendall Kroesen. Then Scott Wilbor described how this area provides habitat for our native birds as an Important Bird Area. Then it was time to get to work! All the helpers split up into small groups armed with clippers and poles with sponges on the end to apply herbicide to the cutoff stumps of Arundo. This is necessary as cutting them is not enough, if herbicide is not applied to the freshly cut stem, the plant could quickly grow back. As stems of Arundo were cut, they were placed into piles that quickly became large piles of very long stems that often required more than one person to carry. Spirits were high and jokes abounded as we all busily worked away at clearing out this plant. This was a fun productive day of teamwork and stewardship that resulted in improved health of this important habitat as well as a more pleasant place for us humans to visit. However, by no means is the battle on Arundo over.
Stay tuned for future opportunities to help in the battle against Arundo and other non-natives such as Fountain Grass. These opportunities are shown on the current events calendar and there is one coming up in Ironwood Forest National Monument on December 11. If you are also interested in the Important Bird Area Program and would like to find out what it is all about, there is a fun Bird Blitz for Conservation coming up on November 13. We will have a fun, informal day of birding in Tanque Verde Wash and discover what it is that IBA Program volunteers do to help Arizona’s birds. If you are interested in participating, contact the Tucson Audubon Society’s IBA office at 629-0510 x7004 or x7005.

These restoration volunteer days often occur in quite beautiful areas that are a joy to work in. The best part is the feeling that you did something to directly help birds by improving their habitat. Take my word for it, it’s a great feeling!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks, we value your opinions! Your comment will be reviewed before being published.