Sunday, January 27, 2013

What to do? Buffelgrass, part 2

Mark and several others attended an open house on Buffelgrass eradication at Saguaro National Park last year. Mark summarizes the discussion points that are important for Sabino Canyon, as the magnitude of the problem is similar: 

Saguaro National Park says the only way it can solve its Buffelgrass problem now is to treat and restore infested areas by helicopter. They have already sent herbicide teams on foot into every area they can get in and out of in a day. Areas remaining are too remote or too steep to treat on foot.
We learned aerial treatment using a helicopter is relatively precise. A copter’s main rotor blade is designed for maximum lift, so it sends the herbicide mist down instead of sideways. The helicopter would disperse it with a wide boom for large Buffelgrass sections or with a tethered ball sprayer that treats patches selectively.
The same type of herbicide used on Arundo donax in Sabino Canyon is used on Buffelgrass; it’s safe and inexpensive. This herbicide doesn't affect the cactus but collateral damage would happen to any intermingled native grasses and woody brush. But wherever they use the herbicide would already be a near-monoculure of Buffelgrass. Later, seed and mulch would be applied by helicopter to begin restoration of the Sonoran Desert habitat Buffelgrass has destroyed. 

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