Friday, September 19, 2008

Wind River Ranch Restoration

A rolling country of grass hills cut by deep canyons, PJ and Ponderosa on the slopes, Box Elder and Cottonwood and Netleaf Hackberry and Willow in the wet bottoms. Here the high plains end and the Rockies begin, the jagged upthrust spires of the Sangres visible along the Western horizon. Eerily similar to the Front Range of Colorado, but entirely undeveloped.

The land is tot pristine; eroded gullies from a century of overgrazing everywhere cleave the land. "It is doubtful that the grass losses would have been as extensive or rapid in the absence of grazing, but the coincidence of climatic and grazing forces must have accelerated the pace of grass decline." An Ecological History of San Rafael and Red Rock Canyon Watersheds. Tony Bugess. Desert Laboratory. Department of Geosciences. University of Arizona. March 1995

"Biological invasions have been the major cause of species extinctions in conjunction with human activity worldwide." D'ANtonio and Vitorsek 1992. Annual Review of Ecology and Systems 23. 63-87.

From Wind River Ranch

AWF’s second project at Wind River Ranch brought out a large crew of excellent volunteers, ready to get their feet wet and hands dirty to seed and mulch and plant willow cuttings around newly created waterfowl ponds alongside the Mora River.
From Wind River Ranch

On Saturday, Ranch Director Brian Miller provided seeds and hay
for mulching around the pond’s upper edges for several feet in all
directions. The intent was to get growth going quickly for erosion control.

On Sunday, those willing and able to spend some more time at the
Ranch drove to another site to build rock structures in a canyon where previous bank-stabilizing rock work, in one spot, had allowed a beautiful field of colorful wildflowers to grow.

From Wind River Ranch

Special thanks to Craig Sponholtz and Steve Vrooman for their guidance and help. Much of the above text is from the Albuquerque Wildlife Federation's October newsletter.

No comments: