SCC crew cutting tamarisk

1 06 2014

Last week, a Southwest Conservation Corps crew spent four days in Spring Creek Basin cutting and spraying tamarisk. Kathe Hayes with San Juan Mountains Association played a big part in getting the crew here for this project, which – I think – was funded out of the Director’s Challenge grant our Tres Rios Field Office was awarded a couple of years ago.

Crew members are from Fort Defiance, Ariz. Several of them have been together since March, and a couple of them volunteered to join the crew for this project in the basin. Crew leader Lance Hubbard said this is his fourth or fifth season with SCC. Most of those have been spent doing irrigation, wash restoration and trail work; this was his first season to do chainsaw work. From here, they’ll head back to Ganado, Ariz., for all of the above.

Tamarisk eradication has been done off and on for many years in the basin. Some of our University of Missouri students have worked on it during alternative spring breaks with Kathe. Also working in the basin last week was a Forest Service sprayer, Gary, working in some of the main arroyos.

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Five guys and one woman, ranging in age from 20 to 25, were on the crew (I couldn’t get them all in one frame until I made them pose for me at the end because they were all constantly in motion). Two wielded chain saws, cutting tamarisk as close to the ground as possible so the stumps would pose as little hazard as possible to the horses. Three cleared the branches and carried them to slash piles for later burning. And one sprayed the stumps with “Habitat” to prevent the tamarisk from growing back. Crew members traded spraying, carrying and cutting duties each day.

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Shoanyah Halwood wielded one of the chainsaws. My back ached just watching her!

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Matthew Begay wielded the other chainsaw. Adrian Benally was his partner to clear and carry branches to the slash piles.

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Another one of Adrian and Matthew working together. Sprayed stumps are visible in the foreground.

Alonzo Moses, 23, carries cut tamarisk branches to a pile to be burned later.

Alonzo Moses carries branches that Shoanyah cut to a slash pile.

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Crew leader Lance Hubbard also carried branches to slash piles.

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Rolando Billie handled spraying duties on the crew’s last day in the basin. It was pretty warm during their week, but they had a little bit of cloud cover toward the end that helped.

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From left: Adrian, Matthew, Rolando, Lance, Shoanyah and Alonzo. They’re standing where a big clump (grove?) of tamarisk once grew.

Getting rid of moisture-leaching, salt-depositing tamarisk is a big, worthwhile project in Spring Creek Basin, and we appreciate their work on behalf of our mustangs! They did see a couple of bands during the week and thought the horses were pretty cool. 🙂 Thanks to this hard-working crew!


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2 responses

1 06 2014
Kathryn Wilder

Awesome to have this kind of effort happening to restore the basin’s natural habitat and integrity!

1 06 2014
Marytherese

TJ, thanks for sharing their hard work and offorts. Thank you for your hours sharing with those of us not able to see on a regular basis.

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