Dr. Lindy Brigham, a plant pathologist who worked for seven years eradicating cheatgrass in the Santa Catalina Mountains, has been named the first executive director of the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center.

Brigham worked for 12 years as a plant pathologist at the University of Arizona, and most recently directed a professional science master's in applied biosciences program. Her focus has been the application of academic research to economic and workforce development in Southern Arizona, a release said.

As co-chair of the board of directors of trees for Mount Lemmon, Brigham has worked with the all-volunteer board to develop "a comprehensive mapping system and eradication strategy that engages the property owners and governmental agencies to mitigate this extreme fire hazard on private and public lands."

"The community is fortunate to have somebody with Lindy's experience and abilities to help lead the fight against this invasive grass that threatens to destroy so much of what we love and value in Tucson and Southern Arizona," said Sarah Smallhouse, chairwoman of the SABCC.

"Buffelgrass poses the single-most urgent threat to Southern Arizona's environment and a severe threat to the economy and quality of life," Smallhouse continued. "Because of its extreme flammability, it also poses a severe threat to life and property for many homeowners whose land has been invaded by buffelgrass."

Brigham plans to use her skills in translating scientific research into practice, coordinating public and private efforts for buffelgrass mapping and eradication, and securing funding for joint projects in research, mitigation and education, the release continued.

Pima Association of Governments, which has an environmental planning program and has supported buffelgrass removal efforts, has provided funding for the executive director position.

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