Spring 2004 Newsletter
WILDLIFE WATCH: SABINO CANYON BAT UPDATE
by Debbie C. Buecher
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area has an amazing diversity of bat species. Riparian corridors often provide diverse wildlife with necessary resources and this is even more striking within an arid environment. Prior to our 2-year study (2002-2003) to evaluate bat-use along Sabino Creek, there had been twelve bat species documented from Sabino Canyon. Our study added 5 more species but also elucidated how different species use the riparian corridor to partition resources and reduce competition. Because competition over limited resources is regarded as energetically costly to both species, it is here that we would expect the greatest opportunity to observe natural selection exerting forces to reduce competition. Two species might forage in different habitats or at different elevations (spatial separation) within the same habitat to reduce competition. In addition, animals might forage at different times (temporal separation) to partition resources. Behavioral adaptations such as these allow species to divide resources and ultimately reduce competition in nature. The second phase of our study will now observe how animals respond to an altered landscape in Sabino Canyon after two wildfires affected the upper watershed of Sabino Creek.
Fire is a natural phenomenon on the landscape. However, when we alter the normal cycle of fire, or worse yet, increase natural fuel loads, we should anticipate difficulties. Tucson, Arizona made national news the past two summers as large forest fires (Bullock 2002 and Aspen 2003) raged in the Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Mountains. Initially these fires had little direct impact upon Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, because both fires burned primarily at higher elevations. However, long term impacts to the watershed were felt when monsoon storm runoff carried tons of sediment and ash down the mountain and deposited it in pools upstream of historic rock roadway bridges along Sabino Canyon. Once the creek stops flowing, water normally pooling behind the bridges will sink into these sediments and become unavailable for wildlife. Because we have two years of pre-fire data for comparison, in 2004 we have plans to continue our monitoring study to evaluate bat-use of this modified riparian corridor. This opportunity to compare how bats respond to an altered habitat will provide land-use planners with knowledge for making informed resource management decisions.
"GET BATTY ABOUT SABINO CANYON" Day - February 1, 2004
The Home Depot sponsored a "Build Your Own Bat House" Workshop at Sabino Canyon following Debbie Buecher's presentation on the "Diversity of Bats in Sabino Canyon." The Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists held a storytime and other bat education activities for young children.
ID YOU KNOW THESE BATTY FACTS?
- Bats are the only mammals to have achieved true self-powered flight. They are the second most diverse group of mammals on earth. In the US, there are 45 different bat species and here in Arizona, we have 28.
- As it flies across open water, the bat swoops low and dredges up water in its dangling lower jaw to reduce its thirst.
- Most bats also possess a system of acoustic orientation, often called "bat radar," but technically known as echolocation.
- Bats are in serious decline nearly everywhere. Forty percent of the bats in the US and Canada are endangered or candidates for such status. Even small disturbances in their habitat can seriously threaten their survival. The most significant causes of premature bat death, however, are the activities of people.
TRAIL REPAIR & ASPEN FIRE RECOVERY
Friends of Sabino Canyon is contributing $18,500 to The Coronado National Forest in support of trail repair work for trails impacted by the Aspen Fire in the lower elevation of the Santa Catalina Ranger District. Now more than ever, your tax-deductible contribution makes a difference in the fight to protect the canyon. The Aspen and Bullock Fires blackened large areas of the Santa Catalinas, and insufficient funds continue to threaten this important natural resource. In preparation of projected continued drought and upcoming fire seasons, there is much to be done for recovery, habitat restoration and prevention of wildfires.
The Santa Catalina Trail Crew workers are intent on stabilizing much of the Sabino Canyon trail system. The Aspen Fire scarred much of the landscape of the Santa Catalina Ranger District and many miles of trail corridors to the extent that ash flows, woody debris, and run-off from heavy rains made segments of trail tread within the Sabino Canyon trail system unsafe and indiscernible to canyon visitors. In addition, some areas of trail tread virtually slide off the side of the mountain, and total tread reconstruction must take place. To give you an idea of the magnitude of this project, the task at hand incorporates approximately 20 miles of fire-damaged trails the crew has targeted for repair in the Sabino Basin Area. In order to mitigate trail related problems the Santa Catalina Trail Crew needs to remove debris and many larger downed trees from trails by hand. Then using picks, shovels, and rakes they must rebuild damaged trail tread segments. This task is a big undertaking for a crew of four. Past work experience gained during Bullock Fire trail rehabilitation efforts had some overwhelming trail repair work beyond typical trail maintenance work, and for this reason, funding for a larger crew is needed to help facilitate this trail rehabilitation task. The trail crew leader has identified the above Sabino Basin Trails as the most utilized by those who visit the Sabino Canyon Area. The crew's main repair emphasis is to improve fire damaged trail corridor for a safe hiking experience. The crew leader plans to keep the trail crew in the field during the cooler months, and have ready by late spring a rehabilitated Sabino Basin Trail System for visitors and the Friends of Sabino Canyon to utilize for wilderness hiking and interpretation enjoyment. The rehabilitation of burned lands is now underway but will take time. Can we count on your support to protect this treasured ecosystem for future generations? Thank you for your community based support. Visit our website and donate online: www.sabinocanyon.org or mail your donation to:
FRIENDS OF SABINO CANYON
P.O. Box 31265 • Tucson, AZ 85751
ATTN: Aspen Fire Recovery Fund
After THE ASPEN FIRE
By Heidi Schewel - Santa Catalina Ranger District
Anyone who was in Tucson or the surrounding areas during June and July of 2003 is only too aware of the Aspen Fire, which burned 84,750 acres and consumed 333 structures in the Santa Catalina Mountains (see "Fire in the Forest and Gradual Rebirth, Aspen Fire Contained in Santa Catalinas" Friends of Sabino Canyon newsletter, Fall/Winter 2003). While fire is a natural component of forest ecosystems, this fire burned a relatively large area over a relatively long period of time, due in part to extended drought, an overstocked forest, and the related poor condition of the trees and other vegetation present. It also altered the landscapes, natural and man-made, on a mountain held near and dear to the hearts of many Tucsonans and visitors to the Southwest. As is typical, the fire burned in a "mosaic pattern," leaving some areas severely burned, some areas untouched by fire, and various degrees of burn severity throughout the remainder. In many locations the forest as we know it has been greatly changed, bringing ecological consequences as well as aesthetic concerns.
There has been much mourning over the "loss" of Mt. Lemmon, but fire is no newcomer to the Santa Catalina Mountains. Forests burn and forests recover. Regeneration began even before the onset of the monsoons, which greatly accelerated growth and re-growth. Burned hillsides were soon green and lush with a profusion of herbaceous (non-woody) plants, some of which sprang from roots and seeds already present in the soil, others being seeded from aircraft for erosion control and soil stabilization. Oak, juniper, aspen and New Mexico locust trees re-sprouted from their roots and trunks. The "re-greening" is underway. Mt. Lemmon is recovering from the fire.
The areas that will remain the most changed for the longest period of time are those which were coniferous forest. The fire burned approximately 60% of the area at low or moderate levels of severity, while the remaining 40% burned at high levels. The majority of the high severity burn occurred below the coniferous vegetation type in broadleaf evergreen (oak) woodlands, chaparral, and desert grassland vegetation types. Because these types are naturally more adapted to intense fires and many of the woody plants re-sprout or reseed naturally, they are generally not subjected to artificial reforestation. In the coniferous vegetation type, the pines and firs will not re-sprout from roots. These areas will need to be naturally reseeded or artificially replanted.
In the coniferous vegetation type, efforts are currently in the works for artificial reforestation, both on private and public land. Ponderosa pine cones (both the three- and five-needled varieties) have been collected on Mt. Lemmon for seedstock. Because these pines are considered to be genetically unique, it is important that stock from the same seed zone be utilized as opposed to that imported from other locations. Additionally, trees grown from seed collected from other seed zones may do well for the short term, but often develop serious problems such as disease, fungus, or susceptibility to insect infestation in later life, rendering them ill-suited to reforestation in the long term. Some of the seed already collected is being planted and maintained by the Natural Resource Conservation Service Plant Materials Center in Tucson for "Trees for Mount Lemmon," a non-profit organization which will plant the trees on private land in Summerhaven. A maximum of 7,000 seedlings will be ready for planting during this summer's monsoon season, at an age of five to six months old. These trees will then need to be treated as ornamental plantings, requiring extra care, including irrigation.
Trees germinated from seed collected on Mt. Lemmon are being maintained in another Arizona nursery for planting on private and public land. Species include Ponderosa pine, Southwestern white pine, Douglas fir, Emory oak, Gamble oak, Arizona gray oak, and Arizona cypress. (The trees were being grown for use along the Mt.Lemmon Highway reconstruction corridor.) Some of the trees will be planted in late March, some near the end of the monsoon season, and others further into the future. Locations are being determined. In addition to trees and seedings, Quaking aspen cuttings are also a reforestation option. The Forest Service has hosted two training sessions for property owners on how to collect and plant aspen cuttings.
On public land Forest Service personnel are conducting surveys to determine locations which are practical and physically possible to plant. Because of the mosaic nature of high severity burn areas, it is likely that much natural reforestation will occur due to seed blowing into them from unburned tree stands. For artificial reforestation, Ponderosa pine seeds collected on Mt. Graham, considered to be in the same seed zone, are being stored, germinated and maintained at nurseries in Idaho and California, which work with the Forest Service to raise the trees in a manner that prepares them for "outplanting" a method not requiring the extra care and irrigation needed by ornamental plantings. Approximately 35,000 to 40,000 trees will be ready for outplanting in 2005. Most of this first phase of reforestation will cover about 200 acres west of Summerhaven, including Carter Canyon and Radio Ridge. The initial planting locations will be determined by considerations involving erosion control and soil stabilization, proximity to Summerhaven, and aesthetic values. Additional cones will be collected on Mt. Lemmon in the future for planting and for storage. The objective is to plant 150 to 200 acres of trees for two to three years. This intention could change with changing conditions and priorities. The scale of reforestation will depend largely on natural conditions for cone production, and how much seed can be obtained from cones collected. The year 2003 was not a good "crop year" due in part to extended drought. If the drought continues, it will negatively affect cone production and reforestation.
As many Tucsonans care deeply for Mt. Lemmon, a large number of citizens have expressed interest in volunteering to help with recovery projects. The Forest Service is analyzing burned areas and setting priorities for projects to be conducted in the near future, while working with partners in planning and logistics. The Friends of Sabino Canyon are engaging in fundraising activities to support projects. The Volunteer Center of Tucson is managing the volunteer database. Their combined efforts are sure to enhance the senses of community and partnership, working together for the greater good, already fostered by effects of the Aspen Fire.
Mt. Lemmon has started the healing process naturally, as it has done long before our time. Such regeneration to the point that we would like to see it could take a very long time, as judged by our standards. We can now contribute our time, expertise and elbow grease to accelerate that which would otherwise be a lengthy process. Areas which were not burned or burned lightly can be enjoyed now by visitors as they have in the past. As for areas which sustained a greater degree of damage - we have the opportunity to participate, with our minds and our muscles and our hearts, and to observe and learn, as the forest recovers. These are the opportunities bequeathed us by the Aspen Fire. Opportunities for healing the overwhelming sense of loss. Opportunities to step up and do our part. Opportunities for healing the trees and the landscapes on Mt. Lemmon, and opportunities for healing the emotions and the spirits of the people who love them.
The 9th Annual MUSIC IN THE CANYON
On Friday, December 12, 2003, Friends of Sabino Canyon in cooperation with The Coronado National Forest hosted the 9th annual MUSIC IN THE CANYON concert and silent auction, a very special winter holiday event. Musicians, music lovers and canyon enthusiasts came together on a cold winter night for a magical evening of enchantment at historic Lowell Complex, the original ranger station in Sabino Canyon. Some 600 luminarias lined the quarter mile path to the open-air concert. Performances by local talent featured a variety of western, southwestern, instrumental and choral entertainment with Master of Ceremonies, John Patterson of KGUN 9 News. The Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus headlined the event with Mariachi Sol Azteca, The Desert Sons, Part of the Clan (Ronstadt family members), Shadz Utterback Alumni Band and the Tucson Fine Arts Magnet High School Advanced Choirs - Alesstto and Troubadours.
Many thanks to the Music in the Canyon committee, Friends of Sabino Canyon boardmembers, the Forest Service, the volunteers, contributing sponsors and major sponsors--and Smokey Bear and Santa Claus, too -- for coming together for this Tucson tradition. Major sponsors of the event include:
City of Tucson Parks & Recreation
The Strauss Foundation
SILENT AUCTION CONTRIBUTORS
- Canyon Ranch Health Resort • Jim Click Automotive Team
- Alpha Promotions • Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice
- Arizona National Golf Club Arizona Theatre Company
- Beaver's Band Box
- Buffalo Exchange
- Cheri's Desert Harvest
- Cookies Amour
- Double Tree Hotel Reid Park
- The Dolly Steamboat/Canyon Lake
- Eileen Willemssen
- Embassy Suites Tucson Broadway
- Four Points by Sheraton Tucson University Plaza
- Fiddlesticks/Family Fun Park
- Forty Niner Country Club
- Hidden Valley Inn Restaurant
- Hilton Garden Inn Scottsdale
- Hilton Tucson East
- Hot Air Expeditions/Phoenix
- Inglis Florists
- Junior League of Tucson
- Kingfisher Bar & Grill
- Meetings & Concierges Source LLC
- Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
- National Speakers Bureau
- Patty Franklin
- PetsHotel Plus
- Public Lands Interpretive Association
- Radisson Resort & Spa/ Scottsdale
- Ramada Inn & Suites Foothills Resort
- Reid Park Zoo
- Sarafina Luz
- San Ignacio Golf Club
- Santa Rita Golf Club
- See Me Pet Collars
- Sheldon's Nursery
- Sheraton El Conquistador
- Country Club
- Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites
- Strategic Meetings
- Summit Hut
- Tucson Racquet & Fitness Club
- Twin Palms Hotel in Old Towne Tempe
- The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
- Wigwam Resort & Golf Club
Every year, VOLUNTEERS make it happen.
If you want to lend a hand, call 749-1900.
Thank you for your support!
NOTES FROM THE RANGER
February 19, 2004
Dear Friends of Sabino Canyon:
As the new District Ranger of the Santa Catalina Ranger District, I would like to thank you for the outstanding job you are doing to help Sabino Canyon and the Forest Service. In the past four months, I have witnessed outstanding coordination, cooperation, advertisement, public opportunities and presentations that exemplify caring, personal commitment to preserve and/or enhance Sabino Canyon. I can honestly say that without your continued support, we would not be able to manage Sabino Canyon as we do. Without your continued support, Sabino Canyon would not be what it is. You have helped create and maintain a wonderful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I daily witness our publics, walking the canyon to invigorate, stimulate and refresh themselves to "take on the world" another day. I greatly appreciate the funds you have collected and contributed. We have selected, what I believe to be, an excellent project that will directly affect our Aspen Fire Recovery efforts. Your funds will help to support trail repair of 20 miles of lower elevation trails that will stabilize much of the Sabino Canyon Trail system. The initial trails will include: Creek Trail, Sabino Canyon Trail, West Fork Trail, East Fork Trail, Box Camp Trail up to Apache Spring, Palisade Trail up to Mud Spring and Lemmon Trail just above Romero Pass. The trail crew will dedicate their time to open and stabilize these trails before the end of spring. The emphasis will be placed on improving fire-damaged trails to ensure a safe hiking experience to all visitors. I look forward to a wonderful year of cooperation and accomplishment with the Friends of Sabino Canyon being one of our most valuable partners. Thank you again for your commitment and dedication.
Larry D. Raley - District Ranger
Santa Catalina Ranger District
DONOR TILES & SPECIAL GIFTS
TUCSON OLD PUEBLO CREDIT UNION
SCOTT & JENNIFER McCAY FAMILY
DONALD & ANN LIEBERMAN
TOMMILEE PHILLIPS & RICHARD KEILER
NOEL & JUDY FEDJE
OUR ANGEL GAYLE JOYNER
IN MEMORY OF ABNER SEGAL
IN MEMORY OF JOAN HYMAS
LARRY & DORIS ABRAMS
GEORGE & VELTA ANAST
ADLER - SCHUPPERT FAMILY
THE BRIGGS FAMIILY
IN LOVING MEMORY OF TIM CARAVELLO
MELINDA, KEN, BILL & ELIZABETH COLE
AUDREY & JOHN FINLEY
BRIAN & GRETA FRAZIER
ROBERT FREAR & TIM KENNEDY
DON & JAN GALVIN
LILA, BERNARD & MICHAEL GREISMAN
BRYCE & ZOE HORNER
BILL & JOYCE HAVENS
KARL & BETTE JOHNSON
LT. GEN. ROBERT JOHNSTON &
TERRY & REBECCA KAUTZ
LEMMONAID SOCCER TEAM
DEAN & JANE LUCAL
JUDY & ROBERT McCORMACK
LAURENCE M. MALONEY
GARY S. MILNER
THE NATIVE SEED COMPANY
SADDLEBROOKE HIKING CLUB
MR & MRS. R. TERRY SEITZ
CHARLES & DAWNE SCARLOTT
MARGE & MARTIN SCHAFFNER
ANN & JERRY SHULL
THE SMITTHIPONG FAMILY
SUN BONNET GARDEN CLUB
GEORGE & JANE SWEET
GORDON & JOAN STARK
THE STRAUSS FOUNDATION
TRAVOR & SALLY
ALL THE WASSENBURGS
BOB & CATHY WORKMAN
THE ZAETTA FAMILY
To the boy's "LemmonAid" soccer team and the anonymous donor who contributed a most generous stock gift -- and all the groups and individuals who pledged their support for the Aspen Fire Recovery Fund, thank you! The rehabiliation of the wilderness areas blackened by the Aspen and Bullock fires on Mt. Lemmon will take many years. Fire and subsequent flood damage caused by Mt. Lemmon run-off has impacted many watersheds like Sabino Canyon in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Your donation through Friends of Sabino Canyon can help support our public lands. Private donations make so many special USDA Forest Service projects, like the trail rehabilitation work in the Sabino Canyon Basin, a reality. In addition to the Aspen Fire Recovery Fund, your support makes a difference for wildlife research and post fire habitat studies within the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, restoration to preserve historical sites, and enhancements including drinking water provisions at Shuttle Stop #8 (approx. 3.5 miles into the canyon). As the new president of the Board of Directors, I invite you to become involved with Friends of Sabino Canyon. We hope to see you on April 3rd at 6:30 PM for the donor tile art dedication and moonlight tram ride (remember, prepaid tram reservations required -- call 749-2327 after March 15). Also, if you wish to volunteer or become a member of our Board of Directors, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
President - Friends of Sabino Canyon
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jonathan Pinkney-Baird - PRESIDENT
Howard Weiss - VICE PRESIDENT
David Bushell - SECRETARY
Tracey Rowley - TREASURER
Jim Click, Jr.
RECENT MOUNTAIN LION SIGHTINGS within the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area indicate a potential risk to visitors. Visitors of all ages are advised to hike with a companion. For their safety, do not leave children unattended. Please report all mountain lion sightings to Arizona Game and Fish 628-5376 or US Forest Service 749-7703.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, DIAL 911.
SABINO CANYON VOLUNTEER NATURALISTS
Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) is a non profit organization that provides environmental education for visitors to Sabino Canyon. The largest and most well known of its programs is the school program serving children from 1st to 6th grade and a special program for kindergarten students. Teachers from schools in Southern Arizona make reservations to bring classes to the program which consists of an hour of instruction and an hour-long nature walk. There are six subjects the teacher can pick from ranging from animal camouflage to the web of life. This program runs from October to May each year. Over ten thousand children were seen last year. A fourteen week training program is given every fall for new Naturalists accepted into the program. Additionally, SCVNers lead hikes, plant and bird walks, panning for garnets, staff demonstration tables in the Ramada, and answer questions in the exhibit hall at the Visitor Center. If you are interested in being considered for the training class of Sept. 2004, please call Judy at 299-0117.
Become A Member
______Yes! I want to be a FRIEND OF SABINO CANYON.
Membership: NEW RENEWAL NEW ADDRESS
Enclosed is my tax deductible gift to Friends of Sabino Canyon.
____ $1000* ____ $500* ____ $250* ____ $100 ____ $50 ____ $25
____Aspen Fire Recovery Fund
____General Fund for Sabino Canyon Special Projects
Please make checks payable to: FRIENDS OF SABINO CANYON.
______VISA ______ MasterCard
Credit Card # ___________________________________
Name (on card): _________________________________
FOR SPECIAL GIFTS OF $250 & ABOVE.
Your name as you would like it to appear on your handcrafted ceramic donor tile to decorate rafters by the Visitor Center Bookstore Entrance:
(please print legibly):
Due by October 15, 2004 for December installment.
_____ Yes! I wish to donate a gift of stock to Friends of Sabino Canyon.
Please contact me.
Phone: ____________________ E-mail: ___________________________
Mail this form along with your contribution to:
FRIENDS OF SABINO CANYON
P. O. Box 31265
Tucson, AZ 85751
Friends of Sabino Canyon is a 501(c)3 charitable organization
Photography: © 2001-2004 David Wentworth Lazaroff.