Ready for the Monsoons: Restoration on the Wildlife Corridor
Thanks to grants from Arizona State Forestry and Partners for Fish and Wildlife, our volunteers, interns, and staff have been busy building rock structures and installing plants on the Wildlife Corridors property. Partnering with Sky Island Alliance allowed us to welcome volunteers from across southeastern Arizona to help on this important project.
The goal of the project is to protect specific areas against further erosion and increase habitat value for pollinators and other wildlife with a combination of structure and plant installation. Over 20 individuals have participated in the project so far with the opportunity to learn about techniques to increase water retention and boost plant establishment.. As these “Trincheras” and “Zuni Bowls” promote increased water retention, we plant into and around the structures to increase plant survival.
A strategy for success in arid lands restoration necessitates shaping the land, and armoring it against further degradation and erosion, before the coming of the summer monsoon rains. Planting with the monsoon can greatly increase your plants’ chance of survival, and seeding is best done with seed pellets during the rainy season or the winter so plants can experience a full period of vernalization, or winterizing, that is necessary for good germination.
Above: the first group of volunteers, with Sky Island Alliance, build erosion control structures. Half a dozen individuals worked in over 105 degree heat – and they made it just in time to catch the first monsoon rain of the season. You can read about their work in this Nogales International article from June 2016.
Post Update from late June, 2015
Above: After the first few monsoon rains, the structures are successfully reducing erosion and increasing water retention on the property. The colored flags indicated planting locations, where our Patagonia BECY Institute interns installed 105 plants grown at our Patagonia MAPP Center, chosen to boost the availability of pollinator forage.
All of these structures and work are visible from the road, which is accessible to the public out at the Wildlife Corridors property.
There is still lots of work to do! If you’d like to learn more about this work, you can get involved by participating in a July planting with Sky Island Alliance. Details can be found here.