Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sabino Stewards: 2014 Report

Thanks for helping preserve Sabino Canyon’s Sonoran Desert plants in 2014. Thank-you’s also come from Coronado National Forest Invasive Species Coordinator Sharon Biedenbender and Catalina District Invasive Species Coordinator Chrissy Pearson. We had a great first year. (For an updated total of hours worked, plants removed, sections treated, etc., scroll to the bottom.)

In 2015 we’ll make a few strategy changes, but we volunteers will continue working in the creek beds and near the roads while USFS contractors work on the slopes. Volunteers will continue to locate plants of nine invasive grass species and remove them in the most effective manner for each. Generally, that means treating the perennials with herbicide and pulling out annuals by hand. However, we had an almost overwhelming crop of invasive soft-feather pappus grass and natal grass pop up late 2014. In 2015 we will try treating them with herbicide before they can drop seeds.

Clearly, getting control over these invasives is going to take perseverance and larger crews. We’ve spoken with Sabino’s new USFS volunteer coordinator Sarah E. Corning and she has agreed to help publicize and coordinate volunteer events. 

Solid support. As with the Sabino Giant Reed Project, the Friends of Sabino group expressed enthusiastic support for our work when we requested from them a grant for tools and supplies. Please join this great organization if you don’t already belong. Friends has been responsible for most of the enhancement projects in Sabino since 1993 ( The winter issue of Friends of Sabino newsletter will have a story about Sabino Stewards. 

Speaking of help. We’re looking for others to assist leading volunteer groups. Consider: if you were shown the “what, where and (approximately) when” for a potential invasives-removal event would you be willing to lead it? Do you have a group of friends who want to help? Please let us know.


  • Worked 253 hours hand-pulling and bagging invasive grasses, removing between 7,000 and 10,000.
  • Completed treating with herbicide four species of invasive grasses on Sabino creek and the Sabino roadway from the southern boundary nearly all the way to Tram Stop 9, and also along lower Bear Creek.
  • Treated 31-acres of private property immediately adjacent to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area’s southern boundary that were infested with buffelgrass and fountain grass. 

Happy New Year,
Mark and Jean Hengesbaugh

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