FlagstaffPrescottTucson IFNM • Tucson SCR

Habitat restoration is the process of restoring a damaged or degraded habitat to a healthy, diverse ecosystem of native flora and fauna. AZNPS volunteers have worked at repairing degraded land, removing non-native plants, planting native flora which encourages the native pollinators to thrive. Enriched habitat provides homes for other natives, plants and animals, building more complicated food webs and adding ecological stability to the area.
The Spring 2009 Plant Press featured Restoration of Arizona's Wildlands, including articles about restoring riparian habitats in southern, western and northern Arizona and in ponderosa pine forests. For a copy, click here.

Flagstaff Chapter 

Removal of Diffuse Knapweed from the grounds of the Pioneer Museum..and beyond!!

COLLABORATION is the name of the game. 

Invasive weed eradication efforts by Flagstaff Chapter began in 2010, when a member posed an innocent question to the Pioneer Museum Director.  “Do you know you have a Diffuse knapweed problem?”, and his reply, “Yes. What are you going to do about it?”  This was the beginning of a wonderful collaboration between the AZ Native Plant Society, Coconino Cooperative Extension (Master Gardeners), and eventually other local organizations to rid this site and others of invasive weeds. 

The combined groups have organized numerous weed pulls annually at the Pioneer Museum, starting in early spring, while soil is moist and small rosettes are easier to remove and compost. Then they vigilantly monitor the site as the season progresses and continue work through October.  In 2012 they started restoration efforts with seeds provided by another collaborator, the Museum of Northern Arizona. Click here for the rest of the story......


Prescott Chapter   Walnut Meadow Restoration at the Highlands Center

This project targeted a meadow at the Highlands Center for Natural History.  It had been used by homesteaders and then disturbed again during construction of  buildings at the center.  It had become a near monoculture of African lovegrass, Eragrostis curvula.  A vision for restoring the meadow to a more natural and varied state was formed. A National Audubon TogetherGreen Grant. which was awarded to the Prescott Audubon Society, funded the first two years of this project.  


A core group of volunteers from Prescott Audubon Society (PAS), Prescott Native Plant Society (PNPS), Yavapai Master Gardners (YMG) and the Highland Center for Natural History (HCNH) led by Cathy Palm-Gessner created a plan.   Planting and weeding tools, native plant seed, native plants and an irrigation system were bought with the TogetherGreen Grant.


Volunteers were solicited by emailing the members of PAS, PNPS, YMG and HCNH, plus posting the project under “Volunteer Opportunies” in the local newspaper.  So far, over 65 volunteers have helped with this project.   The following non-native invasive plants were targeted for removal and management:  Dalmatian toadflax, Linaria genistifolia, Common Horehound, Marrubium vulgare,Weeping Lovegrass, Eragrostis curvula,  Common Mullein,  Verbascum Thapsus and Poison Hemlock,  Conium maculatum.   Click here for the rest of the story......

Walnut Meadow before restoration, covered with non-native grasses

Breaking up the sod in preparation to remove the non-native grasses

Walnut Meadow a year later with native forbs and grasses


Tucson Chapter  

The Waterman Restoration Project at the Ironwood Forest National Monument

The Setting  

The Waterman Mountains are a rare limestone desert uplift 30 miles northwest of Central Tucson within the confines of the Ironwood Forest National Monument (IFNM) and administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Waterman’s are home to several alkali loving plants including the federally listed endangered species the Nichol's Turk’s head cactus (Echinocactus horizonthalonius var.  nicholi), elephant tree (Bursera microphylla), ocotillo (Fouqueria splendens) and desert agave (Agave deserti). The Waterman bajadas are dominated by saguaros (Carnegiea gigantea), foothill palo verdes (Parkinsonia microphyllum), and ironwood trees (Olnea tesote) with an understory of diverse grasses, forbs, and cacti.  Desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis ssp. nelsoni), desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai), as well as many species of desert birds thrive in the Watermans. 


Land Disturbance and Invasive Introduction

In March 1981 Harlow Jones, a mining entrepreneur and small aircraft salesman, illegally bulldozed 18 acres of undisturbed desert bajada on the northwest side of the Watermans. The disturbance included a one-kilometer airstrip. Starting in 1982 Mr. Jones lived on-site with his family, until he was declared a trespasser by BLM in 1997 and forced to leave. BLM requested that Mr. Jones plant vegetation on the disturbed land. Mr. Jones responded by planting buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare).  By 2005 the entire 18 acres as well as 10 acres of peripheral desert were heavily infested with buffelgrass.


Read the full paper with methods, results and conclusions.


2006: Area covered with bufflegrass


Area terraced and water retension basins created for seeding

2013: Area coved with native plants. Bufflegrass under control


Some of the new native plants in restored area









Tucson Chapter   Santa Cruz River Revegetation in Marana

The Tucson Chapter of the Arizona Native Plant Society (AZNPS) has coordinated with the Pima County Regional Flood Control District and the Town of Marana to restore an approximate 5-acre disturbance along the Santa Cruz River that resulted from repairs to the low-flow bank protection of the river at that location. AZNPS designed a site-specific planting and seeding palette and was able to obtain donations of restoration-quality plant materials and DriWater irrigation supplement.
Installation began in August of 2012 and AZNPS has maintained monthly volunteer days to: construct water harvesting basins, install plants and herbivory protection, water and mulch plants, remove invasive, non-native plants including buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare), Mexican paloverde (Parkinsonia aculeata), and buttongrass (Dactyloctenium radulans). Volunteer interest has been high with many volunteers returning for multiple events.

For photo reports showing the work and progress at the site, click here for the Facebook album and here for the website albums.

Area along the Santa Cruz River, bladed for bank repair.  New acacia planting.

Reseeding bare areas in saltbushes.     Bags of buffelgrass dug from river terrace.