On March 25, Cienega Watershed Partnership held our first volunteer event at Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. Eleven youth, organized by YES! intern Daniel Marrufo, spent the day literally knee deep in pond water removing invasive plant species. The habitat ponds, home to native fish and frogs, are impacted by invasive aquatic plants. Cattails and bulrushes quickly overtake the ponds, outcompeting native grasses for space. Their fast growth and water-thirsty behavior endanger Las Cienegas native protected species. With Jeff Simms, BLM fisheries biologist, youth worked on two habitat ponds at Cieneguita. View photo album of the event on our Facebook page.
Students and alumni of Empire High School and Cienega High School worked with other volunteers to remove the invasive species. New plant growth in the ponds was just emerging, making the task a little easier. After five hours of rigorous work, a majority of the cattails and bulrush were removed.
Spirits were high all day as youth and adults worked together to make a difference. After a hard day’s work everyone emerged muddy and wet, and a newly bonded group of restoration-minded folks was formed. Desert pupfish, GIla topminnow, and native grasses all now have a little more room to thrive and grow. Teamwork made a real difference during the day and hopefully more days working at Cieneguita are yet to come!
Photos by Chris In-Albon.