|Friday, Mar 25, 2011|
During the week of February 14th, more than fifty kids from local schools helped to plant 790 seedlings over 30 acres as part of the Montezuma Well riparian restoration project.
Youth from Camp Verde High School, Mingus High School, Desert Star Charter School, and Beaver Creek Elementary School assisted park staff in planting eleven different species, including desert willow, four-winged saltbush, golden currant, hackberry, velvet ash, and wolfberry. The students also built and installed cages for the plants to protect them from wildlife, and older kids assisted with the temporary irrigation set-up.
At the end of the week, a public workshop on restoration techniques was also held and led by project cooperators, Natural Channel Design, Inc., and the NPS. As the year progresses, the students and other volunteers will continue to help the park control invasive plants around the young plants.
An additional 200 plants delivered on February 21st will be planted by volunteers and kids participating in the Green Rangers program, a free program that meets the first two Saturdays of every month. The program was piloted last fall by natural resource staff to teach kids 9 to 12 years old about native plants and habitat restoration and will be continuing this spring and summer.
These large planting efforts are part of the five-year Montezuma Well pasture restoration project, which was funded through the Arizona Water Protection Fund and is a cooperative venture between Natural Channel Design, Inc. and NPS. The objectives of this project are:
- to restore and enhance riparian vegetation/habitats by removing invasive weedy species and replacing them with native species along the flood terrace of Wet Beaver Creek;
- to reconnect the riparian habitats that are created by Wet Beaver Creek and an irrigation ditch;
- to restore and enhance the declining riparian desert bosque and grassland habitats, and
- to provide educational opportunities for park visitors regarding the importance of riparian plant communities and their habitats.