Rio Salado Habitat Restoration

Madison Frary
Class of 2016
November 8th, 2014

Today I was able to attend a field trip with SNHS that allowed us to see what we normally wouldn’t see.  In an area about 45 minutes away from Buckeye was a habitat that needed some help.  The habitat was along the river, making it home to Arizona animals and insects; including the monarch butterfly.  We were split into groups and put to work right away.  My group had the task of dealing with the invasive plant of blue buffalo grass.  While the grass looks harmless at first with its fluffy seedlings, we quickly discovered that that was not the case at all.

This grass spreads like wild fire, as soon as the water hits the seeds the plant is up and going.  This creates competition for all the plants that actually belong here.  Now they are fighting for water that is already limited in the valley.  The grass can grow close to other plants and entwines its roots with the others, making it extremely difficult to remove.

When our group did have to remove the buffalo grass, people had to be in front to cut off each “head” of the grass.  This is the fluffy part that contains the seeds.  It was stressed to us many times that if one of those seeds got free all our hard word would be for nothing.  After the cutting, the clippings made their way into a bag to be sealed.  Next we have to dig each plant up, making sure that we got the roots and the nutrient ball out of the ground so it wouldn’t make a reappearance.  When the grass grows together, their root systems get stronger and its even more a pain to get out.

It wasn’t the best of time, working out under the sun of Arizona, but we did it for a reason.  I can now say that I helped the habitat so the generations from now will be able to look at the beauty if has created and the animals it has housed.


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