The Success of National Public Lands Day!

Fifteen hard working Sky Island Alliance volunteers celebrated National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on Saturday. They helped remove fountain grass and other invasive plants from the Bear Canyon and Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. In total we removed more than 35 bags of fountain grass and invasive annuals. Thank you to everyone who came out and helped!

“National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer effort for America’s public lands.” National Environmental Education Foundation

Fountain grass and other invasive plants cover the open ground of the desert, creating a carpet of fine fuel that promotes and carries fire. The Sonoran Desert evolved without frequent fire; and the cacti and trees cannot survive the frequency of fires that the invasive plants promote. Buffelgrass is infamous for it’s effects on the desert; but the lesser known fountain grass has similar effects on our riparian areas. By removing these invasive plants, we reduce the fuel load and make room for native plants to return.

Sky Island Alliance has now conducted 10 invasive removal efforts in Bear and Sabino Canyon over the course of three years. With a total of 1835 total volunteer hours, we have made a large dent in the amount of invasive grass present. In addition to invasive removal, we’ve planted over 500 native plants where the grass was removed.

We would like to give a huge thanks to our hard working volunteers! They made this work possible and who helped protect our public lands.