SABINO STEWARDS ANNUAL REPORT 2015
In 2015 Sabino Stewards steadily worked through heat, rain, cold and early morning hours sometimes with heavy backpacks and wet feet walking over unsteady rocks, sometimes with hand picks against carpets of invasive annuals sprouting from under boulders and deadfall.
Just in time. The year’s bountiful precipitation generated an onslaught of invasives where you would expect them to be—but also in too many places we’ve never seen them before.
During 31 events 53 stewards worked 1,085 hours creating an in-kind donation of more than $26,000 of invasive species removal services for Sabino Canyon. Stewards filled 280 65-gal. bags with manually removed invasives, which is 30,000-40,000 plants, and spot-treated with Rodeo the perennial invasives along the entire stretch of Sabino Creek from Stop 9 down to the southern boundary of the recreation area. Twice.
And that’s not all. Stewards reached out to local nurseries and asked them not to sell noxious weeds as ornamentals. We also contacted, then followed through with Pima County on treating the roadside buffelgrass along N. Sabino Canyon Rd. and Sunrise leading into the recreation area parking lot. Using a generous grant from Friends of Sabino Canyon we purchased equipment and supplies and now treat heavily infested private property adjacent to and downstream from the rec area in order to stop it from spreading inside.
Be sure to read the full report below. Remember, each invasive plant removed not only helps stop their spread—which can be as fast as 50 percent per year—but also opens up room for native plants to return and make their critical dynamic contributions to this magnificent Sonoran Desert landscape we all consider to be “our canyon.”
We’ve made great progress since stewards events began a year-and-a-half ago. For the foreseable future we will need to continue this serious, large-scale invasives removal effort using every means avalable. The end game is to reduce invasives to a level where annual maintenance would keep them from significantly damaging the canyon ecosystem. It is possible. We’ve done it with our canyon’s giant reed infestation. This problem is much bigger, of course. We’re working hand-in-work-glove with Chrissy Pearson, Invasive Species Coordinator Catalina District, who is also directing contractor crews that are treating steep slopes and remote areas.
Accomplishments in 2015
Manual removal treatments in Sabino Canyon Recreation Area: 12 events. 580 hours worked. 280 65-gal. bags removed (30,000-40,000 invasive plants). Targets: Natal grass, smaller patches of buffelgrass, soft feather pappusgrass, Lehmann’s lovegrass, euroyps and London rocket.
Spot spray-team treatments in Sabino Canyon Recreation Area: 14 events. 419 hours worked. Treated the entire length of Sabino Creek from Stop 9 down to southern boundary of the recreation area on both sides of the creek and both sides of the road two times. Treated SARA trail, helicopter pad, and large infestations of buffel and fountain south of the USFS corral fence line and along road to Bear Canyon.
Spot spray-team treatments on private property adjacent to recreation area: 3 events. 70.5 hours worked. Treated 30 acres adjacent to and downstream of the recreation area which was heavily infested with buffelgrass and fountain grass to keep if from spreading into the recreation area. Target invasives: buffelgrass, fountain grass, Natal grass, Johnson grass, giant reed, Bermuda grass.
Cut-stump treaments in Sabino Canyon Recreation Area: 2 events. 17 hours. Invasive trees and saplings cut and treated in Sabino Dam area. Target invasives: tree tobacco, African sumac.
Enlisting community support: Stewards contacted local nurseries urging them to stop selling invasive plants as ornamentals and developed a relationship with the Pima County Dept. of Transportation and were successful in having county crews spray treat the buffelgrass along N. Sabino Canyon Rd. and Sunrise leading to Sabino Canyon.