A Mountain buffelgrass and native recovery
A-Mountain, also called Sentinel Peak is Tucson’s iconic volcanic rock peak overlooking the Santa Cruz river. Originally it was covered with saguaros, foothill palo-verdes, native bushes, forbs and grasses. But following a fire in 1994 A-Mountain became heavily infested with buffelgrass by 2005. Ten years of volunteer digging yielded very little progress. Starting in 2017 AZNPS volunteers began multiple sprays and resprays of buffelgrass, always taking care to spare native plants. By 2022 the buffelgrass on the entire 23 acres on the summit above the loop road had been generally brought under control and replaced by native plants. Efforts are ongoing to bring the buffelgrass under full control. A 2021 plant inventory survey identified over 65 native plant species that had recovered in areas where buffelgrass had been controlled. In summer 2021 AZNPS raised private donation funds to finance a contract spray team to make the first buffelgrass control effort on the treacherous south slope. Over 30 acres were covered. AZNPS is now working with Tucson Parks and Recreation department to implement an incremental 5-year buffelgrass effort on the heavily infested south and east slopes of A-Mountain.