In 2015 Amaterra provided $1000 for seed funding to support Watershed Management Group’s Sabino Creek Restoration Campaign launch.
Photo from the Watershed Management Group’s website at https://watershedmg.org/rivers
The campaign’s goal is to restore habitat and surface flow to Sabino Creek, located downstream of Sabino Canyon, the most visited natural area in Tucson. Sabino Creek is located in a shallow groundwater area, where groundwater is 50 feet or less and still supports riparian habitat. This and other shallow groundwater areas are declining as groundwater pumping increases from area residents and as development encroaches. The campaign is a long-term, multi-faceted program including an educational/advocacy program with local residents; on-the-ground restoration efforts in private and public spaces; and policy actions to protect and enhance shallow groundwater areas.
Some of the things to be accomplished in the next two years:
- Facilitate a stakeholder group to develop a restoration plan for Sabino Creek.
- Lead watershed restoration workshops in public spaces in the Sabino Creek watershed, such as schools, ranches, or trailheads. Lead hands-on watershed restoration workshops with private residences in the Sabino Creek watershed, focusing on rainwater and greywater harvesting, green infrastructure, and small-scale restoration practices such as one-rock check dams.
- Partner with four schools to teach our Shallow Groundwater Youth Advocacy Program, including two schools located within Sabino Creek watershed. In 2014 this program was piloted with Western Institute for Leadership Development, a Tucson charter high school.
- Run a public marketing campaign to raise awareness and inspire action to restore Sabino Creek. Publish the “Get Wet Guide: Sabino Creek,” an interactive guide highlighting recreation opportunities, cultural destinations, wildlife, and ways to protect/restore shallow groundwater areas. Create a series of 3 “Get Wet Videos” about the importance of shallow groundwater areas and a specific call to action for Sabino Creek.
For more information about Watershed Management Group, please visit their website at www.watershedmg.org
Amaterra’s $2000 grant to Native Seeds/SEARCH Conservation Farm for improving and building new infrastructure will help take their seed conservation mission to a new level. To meet a critical infrastructure need of expansion and growth, a green house is being constructed for the production of crop seedlings and food crops.
Sorting and Packaging Seeds
The seedlings will be sold in the NS/S Retail Store for our Spring, Monsoon, and Fall plant sales. The retail store sells seedlings from several growers in Arizona. Seedlings from the Conservation Farm will introduce new crops from the seed bank and make them more widely available to gardeners, thereby increasing the diversity of adapted and drought tolerant crops for local food production. Food produced in the green house will be sold to restaurants to promote the mission of NS/S to the public. The sale of the plant seedlings and produce from the green house will also provide a reliable income stream for the Conservation Farm each year.
Another function of this green house will be to produce seedlings for the Conservation Program’s grow-outs of crops from the NS/S seed bank. A new seedling house with phytosanitary protocols ensuring disease-free seedlings is, therefore, critical. Some seedlings are grown from seeds that are endangered so there is a need to ensure that the seeds can be multiplied from healthy plants. The green house also provides a season extension function so that crops that may need a longer growing season than the Patagonia site normally provides, have an improved chance of producing seed in the field.
In addition to the season extension function, the green house will provide climate mitigation for seed crops and for food production. This is an ever more important function in this time of changing and extreme climate. The unheated hoop house type of greenhouse will use only solar energy and ventilation to control the conditions inside the structure. This type of inexpensive, energy efficient, structure is widely used in agriculture today. These efficiencies are transferable to a wide geographic area, urban areas, and to different scales of food production.