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
SEED CLIPPER CLEANER
We (NSF) are purchasing a seed cleaner and screens to make our seed processing more efficient and to provide higher quality seed for our seed distribution programs. The new seed cleaner costs $5,800 and is partially funded for $3,500 by a USDA SARE grant that NS/S received to work on heirloom wheats in Arizona. The seed cleaner uses different types and sizes of screens for cleaning a variety of crops. At the Conservation Farm, we grow and clean a lot of crop diversity, therefore we will also be purchasing a set of 13 screens for the seed cleaner that cost $60 each ($780). This seed cleaner is a small-scale, 2-screen type that is an appropriate model for small-scale farms. It will be available to our farming community to use, including Borderlands Restoration who work on native plant seed conservation for land restoration. It is an example of appropriate technology that is transferable to other small farms and it could be run on solar power.
OVERHEAD SPRINKLER SYSTEM
We are in the process of improving our water and energy conservation on the Farm by switching from flood irrigation to overhead sprinkler irrigation. The Farm has always pumped water up to an irrigation pond using a lot of electrical energy in order to flood irrigate. The pond is now in a endangered species restoration project with Fish and Wildlife that requires a continuous level of water to be maintained in the pond. For this reason, and for reducing the Conservation Farm’s water and energy use, we have decided not to use the pond to flood irrigate. We are looking to fund the equipment for an aluminum sprinkler irrigation system that will include mainlines, moveable hand-line sprinklers, and valves. This system will replace the gated PVC pipes that we have been using to flood irrigate. The aluminum pipes and metal sprinklers will be more durable and eliminate PVC from our farm landscape. PVC is a material that breaks down under UV in 3 to 7 years and it is not recyclable when it wears out.
Thank you Director Nancy Wall for arranging this grant.