The second annual “Beat Back Buffelgrass Day” is scheduled this Saturday, Feb. 7, at locations throughout Pima County.

The event, coordinated by Pima Association of Governments, drew more than 200 volunteers who removed more than 4,000 buffelgrass plants in a few hours last year.

“Volunteer efforts throughout the past year made a real difference, and a few areas that were choked with buffelgrass are now clear,” said Dennis Dickerson, PAG’s Environmental Planning Coordinator. “Despite that progress, the extent of buffelgrass will require continued effort.”

PAG established Beat Back Buffelgrass Day to raise awareness of the threat of buffelgrass and to remove as much buffelgrass as possible on a single day, a release said.

Individuals and groups wishing to participate may volunteer by logging onto www.PAGnet.org or www.Buffelgrass.org, and selecting a location where organized buffelgrass removal efforts are set.

Listed as a noxious weed in Arizona, buffelgrass poses “a serious threat to the ecology of the Sonoran Desert,” a release said. When dry, buffelgrass burns readily and at a temperature exceeding 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. As buffelgrass colonizes more areas, the threat of fire increases. The Sonoran Desert environment is not adapted to fire, and buffelgrass fires will destroy native desert species.

“The desert environment that surrounds us makes Tucson so special that action is needed now because this invasive weed will, if unchecked, destroy the desert,” Dickerson said.

Tangerine invaders targeted

Volunteers meet Saturday at Fry’s

The fight against invasive buffelgrass is being taken to the country along Tangerine Road in the Northwest this Saturday, Feb. 7.

The towns of Oro Valley and Marana are combining resources to pull buffelgrass along the west side of Tangerine, between La Cholla and Dove Mountain Boulevard. Residents are encouraged to join the digging.

Volunteers meet at 8 a.m. at the Fry’s parking lot at Tangerine and Thornydale. The activity should last up to four hours. There is a safety and informational briefing starting at 8. Safety vest, tools and bags are provided.

“Please wear sturdy boots, hat, work gloves, long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and sunscreen and bring plenty of water,” a release said. “If you have shovels and digging bars please bring those with you.”

For information, call Carmen Ryan at 229-5070 or e-mail cryan@orovalleyaz.gov.

The SaddleBrooke WeedWackers are also participating in Beat Back Buffelgrass Day on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. For additional information, contact James Arkoosh at jdarkoosh@q.com, or call 520-818-3394.

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