Partners continue Lower Bear Canyon restoration

Release Date: Mar 23, 2016  

Partners continue Lower Bear Canyon restoration

Tucson, AZ, March 23, 2016 - For Immediate Release.  The Santa Catalina Ranger District, Coronado National Forest and the Sky Island Alliance will continue work on a project in Lower Bear Canyon to remove invasive fountain grass and restore native plants for pollinators and other wildlife. The year-long project is funded by the National Forest Foundation, and is expected to continue through May.

The project has three goals, to remove ecologically detrimental non-native invasive plants, to increase native plant diversity to benefit wildlife and pollinators, and to protect work which has been completed downstream on private land to enhance watershed function.  As a result, wildfire risk will be reduced and wildlife habitats improved.

To date, 259 native plants have been installed to provide food and shelter resources for wildlife and pollinators.  The plants were grown by the Pima County Native Plant Nursery, Borderlands Restoration, and the Gila Watershed Partnership. A diverse mix was used to benefit as many species as possible. Desert honeysuckle, hummingbird trumpet, desert willow, and penstemon have red to purple tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds.  Native grasses such as deer grass, Arizona cottontop, and sand dropseed provide cover for small animals, seed for birds to eat, and will fill in spaces previously occupied by invasive, non-native fountain grass.  Many species will benefit butterflies, including Gooding’s verbena, butterfly bush and globe mallow. Some of the seeds for the plants were collected onsite in Bear Canyon.  Hundreds of additional plants will be added in densely planted “islands.”

 Since August of 2015, Sky Island Alliance and the Forest have partnered to host 11 volunteer days, with participation from nearly 100 volunteers. Additional volunteers are needed to assist with planting on Sunday, April 3.  For more information and to RSVP: https://skyislandalliance.givezooks.com/events/planting-for-pollinators-in-bear-canyon.

The project will be an addition to accomplishments of the Sky Island Restoration Cooperative, a bi-national community-based collaboration of government and non-governmental organizations, private landowners, ranchers, students, volunteers, scientists and restoration practitioners, of which the Coronado National Forest  is a contributing member and a beneficiary of work completed on Forest land.

For more information please contact the Santa Catalina Ranger District Office at (520) 749-8700.