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If you are interested in contributing your time and energy to buffelgrass control, there are a variety of ways in which you can get involved and help.
Volunteer Buffelgrass Weedwacking Groups in the Tucson Area as of 2014
There are many groups throughout the region that pull buffelgrass. You can find one working in your area (or an area you are interested in) by clicking on the links below. As new groups form we will add them to our list.
If you would like to form your own group and would like more information: Please contact Marilyn Hanson
- Sonoran Desert Weedwackers/ Wednesday Weedwackers
- Saguaro National Park (Rincon Mountain District) Weedwackers
- Weed-Free Trails Program. SNP-E
- Tucson Clean & Beautiful
- Oro Valley Buffel Busters
- Marana Weedwackers
- Arizona Native Plant Society
- Neighborhood Weedwacking Groups in Tucson
- Phoenix Weedwackers
- Pima County Buffelgrass Education Outreach Program
- Outside groups helping the Sonoran Desert Weedwackers
Other useful links can be found at the Arizona Native Plant Society Website
Organized in September 2000. Wednesday Weedwackers started in February of 2007.
The Weedwackers are dedicated to removing buffelgrass and other invasives from Tucson Mountain Park (TMP). Originally the Weedwackers were working with the support from the Desert Museum. Since 2005, Pima County has been helping with publicity. Pima County began supplying van transportation, bags, tools and gloves in 2002. The Arizona Native Plant Society has supported the Weedwackers from the beginning paying for brochures and road signs. Now the Weedwackers could not continue without the support of Pima County personnel. Doug Siegel and others provide van transportation and considerable time to continue this effort.
Average Number of Volunteers per Saturday event: depends on the season, 20-40 during the school year, 10-15 during the summer, 470 people on the e-list.
Wednesday Weedwackers: between 8-12 volunteers. These folks are regulars!
Monthly Reconnaissance: Mike Bauer and Doug Siegel have been mapping the presence of buffelgrass throughout TMP since 2001. Marilyn Hanson has mapped all of this work using Google Maps. Aaryn Olsson is a collaborator with these maps and has access to the data.
Meeting Time: Third Saturday and second and fourth Wednesday of each month.
Location of pulls: Tucson Mountain Park. The initial work was done around the Desert Museum, clearing all of the washes above and below the Museum. The group then concentrated on the roadsides throughout the park. Since 2007, most of the effort has been clearing large infestations on the upper slopes of Tucson Mountains. Much time has been spent in 2006 and 2008 clearing a huge patch on the south face of Brown Mountain. For six months in 2007-2008 volunteers cleared the Trail’s End Wash, which was completely choked with fountain grass and buffelgrass. In March of 2009 weedwackers found the wash mostly clear of invasive grasses.
The Wednesday Weedwackers climb higher and work longer. They tackle the hard spots that would be difficult for the Saturday volunteers. Since September 2007, they have been working on the south-facing slope of Bushmaster Peak. They continue to remove patches of buffelgrass from that slope.
Seven miles of washes have been monitored in Spring 2008. The washes are mostly clear of invasive grasses, verifying that manual digging has been effective.
Volunteers have worked over 27,000 hours for a value over $579,000 (calculated using the yearly Federal volunteer hourly rate).
- Natural Resource Specialist
- Pima County Natural Resources Parks & Recreation
Data points showing the activity of the Sonoran Desert Weedwackers (2000-2008)
Organized in October 2007.
Average Number of Volunteers per event: 12 with an active group of approximately 40 volunteers.
Meeting Time: every second Saturday of the month from Sept-May
Location of pulls: The group has worked on Hope Camp trail, Camino Loma Alta trailhead, Freeman Homestead, Javelina Picnic Area. There are group volunteer pulls with organizations (TEP, Citi Group, St. Gregory’s Prep School), with Boy Scout Eagle projects, and with special events (Public Lands Day, Earth Day, Beat Back Buffelgrass Day, etc.). Some of these volunteer pulls occur at the Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park.
The SNP-E Weedwackers have removed approximately 35 acres of buffelgrass from Saguaro National Park, contributing over 2000 hours of volunteer labor. On average, they have a turnout of approximately 12 volunteers each month, including several regulars who attend the buffelgrass pulls on a monthly basis.
Organized in February of 2008
Number of Volunteers: Fifteen individuals attended the 12 hour training and orientation. There are 10 active volunteers monitoring trails and washes.
The goal of this program is for volunteers to monitor the trails, mapping and removing exotic plants from these corridors and fulfilling the goal of “Early Detection, Rapid Response”. Weed-Free Trails. Volunteers contributed 222 hours in 2008. In FY09, seven volunteers became active in the program and surveyed almost all of the trails at Rincon Mountain District twice to account for various germination events. They removed 7.2 gross acres of invasive plants, and contributed approximately 1,050 hours to this effort. In FY10 there has been an increase in efforts at the Tucson Mountain District where monitoring and removal are sorely needed.
Volunteers must attend an orientation on:
Expectations of volunteers - tracking hours, Plant ID, Data collection and recording, GPS training, Outreach training, Cultural training, Radio & Safety training
- Saguaro National Park
Coronado Foothills Weedwackers
The Coronado Foothills Weedwackers are scheduled to work the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month - please contact Marge at email@example.com to confirm time and location. We start at 6:30a.m. and work only one to one and half hours. Currently we're working in Finger Rock Wash.
As always, wear sunscreen and bring water.
North East Tucson Weed Busters
Usually the last Saturday of the month. 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
As always wear sunscreen or a hat and sturdy shoes. Bring water, gloves and any tool you prefer working with. Contact Sandra Brody at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Coming from the west: Take Craycroft Road heading North; turn right onto E River Road; turn Left onto N Tanury Dr -stay on Tanury by keeping left, take the first left onto N Calle Vista Ciudad; turn Right into N Wilmot Dr, N Wilmot Rd turns into E Avenida Arriba. You can park by the right shoulder.
Coming from the east: Take River Road heading west; turn right into Tanury Dr; continue with directions above.
Tucson Clean & Beautiful, Inc. (TCB) is a non-profit, focusing on the environment through land stewardship, urban forestry, recycling and waste reduction, and natural resource conservation. Through its Adopt-a-Park & Public Areas volunteer program, it assists in coordinating ongoing, as well as one-time, litter cleanup and beautification projects. Tucson Clean & Beautiful encourages its cleanup groups to assist with buffelgrass removal, as well as assisting with one-time volunteer projects in urban natural spaces where buffelgrass is a concern. Tucson Clean and Beautiful supplies tools, vests, road signs, bags, and arranges for pickup of bagged litter/buffelgrass and other debris at designated locations as part of previously arranged volunteer sites. Trees for Tucson, also a program of Tucson Clean & Beautiful, provides low-cost trees for community volunteers to plant at public sites such as schools, neighborhood streets, parks, and washes, furthering the goals of helping to restore and beautify the natural characteristics of the site.
Average Number of Volunteers per event: varies between 10 and 50+, depending on a combination of volunteers/group leaders, supplies, and appropriate sites.
Meeting Time: varies based on group leader interest/volunteer availability; many removal projects are included as part of larger cleanup and beautification efforts
Location of pulls: volunteer sites are typically at City of Tucson parks, streets, and washes; Pima County parks and washes
TCB has shovels, digging bars, rakes, gloves, etc available for loan.
- Buffelgrass Outreach Coordinator
- Tucson Clean & Beautiful
- P.O. Box 27210
- Tucson, AZ 85726
- (520) 837-6836 office
Organized in July 2008.
Average Number of Volunteers per event: 10
Meeting Time: every second Saturday of the month
Location of pulls:
- Honeybee Canyon- 1 event
- Tangerine Road-La Cholla-Dove Mountain-2009 Beat Back BG Day
- Lambert Lane-River Walk Drive-3 events
- Canada del Oro Wash at La Canada/ W. Oak Shadow Dr.-5 events
- Naranja Drive- 2 events
- Public Works
- Operation Division Manager
- 680 W Calle Concordia
- Oro Valley, AZ 85704
- Water Conservation Specialist
- Oro Valley Water Utility
- 11000 N La Canada Dr.
- Oro Valley, AZ 85737
- DPW ~ Senior Office Assistant
- 680 W Calle Concordia
- Oro Valley, AZ 85704
Organized in December 2007.
Average Number of Volunteers per event: 6. Marana has a listserv of 42 people and sends out monthly reminders of pulls. This group has taken a break for the summer and plans to resume activity in September.
Location of pulls: Old Silverbell Road, Tangerine Road, linear park behind Coyote Trails School.
The Town of Marana also sprays roadside areas for buffelgrass when it is green and the O&M crew (including Department of Corrections) pulls buffelgrass when it is dry. Town field staff also maps buffelgrass as they find it during field visits.
- Environmental Project Coordinator
- 11555 West Civic Center Drive
- Marana, AZ 85653
The Waterman Restoration Site
Organized in July 2010
Sierra Club and the Tucson Weedwhackers organized buffelgrass events at the illegal Harlow Jones airstrip site at the north base of the Waterman Mountains on Ironwood Forest National Monument starting in 2005 The group worked twice a year, digging and bagging BG. BLM hired a commercial contract crew to spray Roundup on the main buffelgrass stand on and above the landing strip in August 2008. But the buffelgrass was too thick and too extensive to be brought under control by occasional digging and spraying.
Starting in August 2010, AZNPS led volunteers spot sprayed buffelgrass three times per week on 18 acres of disturbed land and 10 acres of peripheral desert. Spot spraying with sharply decreasing frequency has continued every monsoon through 2013. It is anticipated that all buffelgrass on the total 28 acres will finally be brought under control by the end of 2015. Photos and additional information can be found on the AZNPS website : http://www.aznps.com/Restoration.php#waterman
Average Number of Volunteers: 3-4 volunteers are needed for backpack spraying in the month of September every year. In addition, we have other restoration activities occurring year round, including planting native seed, building and repairing earthen berms, and digging swales to promote rainwater infiltration.
Meeting time: In the monsoon months we meet up at 6:30am and during the winter months at 7:30am.
Location of buffelgrass treatments : Waterman Mountains on Ironwood Forest National Monument
Meeting point and time: Information provided on the AZNPS weekly eblast and AZNPS Facebook page :
- Arizona Native Plant Society, Tucson Chapter
- Email: email@example.com
- La Paloma/Swan and Sunrise- There are neighborhood groups working on removing extensive buffelgrass patches in this area.
- Barrio Centro- persons working on Tucson Boulevard and 22nd Street.
- Campbell and north of Skyline- One person removing BG along the roadsides in this neighborhood.
- Caballo Rd. from Irvington to Holiday, Dakota from Caballo to Camino de Oeste- south of Hwy 86- neighbors digging and bagging BG.
- Pima Canyon Trailhead- neighbors dug out and bagged fountain grass and buffelgrass.
- Bopp Road- Local HOA removing BG along the roadsides and on private property.
Organized in December 2006
The Phoenix Weedwackers started work in the Piestewa Peak area of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves, an area where we remain part of the year due to the initial heavy infestation and fire danger. Our goal is to control buffel infestation in the heavily used, accessible areas of the preserve so as to not lose the quality and character of the desert, and to prevent any large fires from occurring. Tools, bags and gloves are supplied by the Weedwackers and the Phoenix Parks Department. The Parks Department also is responsible for removal of the bags. Through May of 2009 we have accumulated over 1800 volunteer hours and have removed over 3500 bags of buffel and fountain grass from the preserves.
Average Number of Volunteers per event: 20
Meeting Time: every second Saturday of the month, times vary by the season. The 2010 event hours from July onward are Jul-Aug 6-9 am, Sept-Oct 7-10 am and Nov-Mar of 2011 8-11 am.
Location of pulls: The group is currently working at Piestewa Peak as of July 2010. In the coming months our work locations may change to different parts of the parks so if you are not on the e-mail reminder list, please contact Claudia before showing up!!! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To see past work events visit www.phoenixweedwackers.com
Organized in August 2007. 12 volunteers were trained; 4-6 are currently active. Another training session for Buffelgrass Outreach Volunteers is planned for late summer of 2009.
Meeting times: Trained volunteers speak to any group in the greater Tucson area. They deliver a “Buffelgrass in the Sonoran Desert” presentation that provides information on where the invasive grasses came from, why they are considered a serious threat, and what can be done to control them. Buffelgrass Outreach Volunteers also staff tables with buffelgrass samples and handouts at community events in Tucson.
Number of Events: From July of 2008 to May of 2009, 22 “Buffelgrass in the Sonoran Desert” presentations were given to a total of 480 people. Volunteers and staff provided Buffelgrass education materials and information at six community events, serving a total of 1315 people.
- Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation, Environmental Education Team
- 3500 West River Road, Tucson, AZ 85741
- Email: Meg.Quinn@pima.gov
- Marana High School- (7 volunteers) Brown Mountain- Y.A.Gonzales@maranausd.org
- Sunnyside HS- (10)(7) -Brown Mountain- email@example.com
- Innercity Outings (Sierra Club) Los Niños 5th graders-Brown Mountain-JudyM@susd12.org
- Maxwell Middle School-TUSD- Ironwood Picnic Area-Cheryl.Walling@tusd1.org
- Marana HS (3)- BBB-2009- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Picture Rocks Scout Troop (9 volunteers)
- UA Sch of Education-Alberto Arenas (20 volunteers)-Ironwood PA-South
- ASDM Coati Club- Robin Kropp (22 volunteers) –dump across from the Desert Museum
- ASDM Education staff (9 volunteers)
- ASDM docents (4)
- UA Landscape Architecture students (3)
- Amerischools Academy Middle School (57 kids+8 adults)
- Boy Scouts of America (12 volunteers/ 48 hours/Trail’s End wash)
- Hiking Club of America (8 volunteers/40 hours/Tucson Estates)
- Invasive Species Managers (17 volunteers/34 hours)
- Cholla High School (Trail’s End Wash)
- UA School of Education-students from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay (24 volunteers/3.5hrs)
- UA School of Education- students from South America- Bushmaster Peak
- Sierra Club (18 volunteers/8 hrs=144hrs) Bushmaster Peak
- Amerischools Academy (15 volunteers/3.5hrs=52.5 hrs/Prospector Trail)
- Amerischools Academy (19 volunteersx2hrs=36 hrs/King Canyon)
- University of Miami (9 volunteers x 2.5hrs=22.5/CAP canal)
- University of Miami (7 volunteers x4=28 hrs/Bushmaster Peak)
- Americorps (4 volunteers x7hrs=28hrs/TrEnd Wash&TusEst Ridge)
- SUNY Fredonia (14 volunteers /6hrs=84hrs/back of SASI)
- Tucson City School (13 volunteers /2.5 hrs=32.5/CAP canal)
Prior to 2008, students from Catalina Foothills and Tucson Magnet HS volunteered.