Monday, July 15, 2013

Step 1. Pull weeds, Step 2. Put weeds in bags

This week we went to the Katherine’s Landing area of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Our job was to remove the invasive species Brassica tournefortii, commonly called Sahara Mustard. In many areas it forms dense fields which crowd out native plant species. We removed it from two sites: along a horseback/hiking trail near Davis Dam and around a marina/campground at Katherine’s Landing. Sahara Mustard is an annual plant, which means individuals only live one season. Survival of the species depends on producing a lot of seeds and reproducing during that one season. We were removing the plants as seeds were beginning to form, but before they were dispersing. To prevent the seeds from spreading we packed all the plants we pulled into trash bags. This method and timing will reduce the number of seeds in the area which means there will be fewer plants to eradicate next season.

The funniest story from this week was about our supervisor, who had made a new year’s
resolution to eat vegan. She had obviously been considering giving it up lately, and about half way
through this week she did. One evening, as she ate yet another pita, she decided she was officially over eating the same old vegan meals at work every hitch. The very next day she was in the grocery/gift shop at the marina buying a pack of Bologna! Not sure that’s the first meat I would go back to.

On the last day we were able to visit The Grapevine Canyon Petroglyph site for education. These
are prehistoric rock carvings and at this site they were really well preserved. This was a beautiful site
which overlooked the expansive Newberry Mountain range. After that we drove through Christmas Tree Pass. The locals have a tradition of decorating the juniper trees with various Christmas tree ornaments. As cool as the trees look, the BLM unfortunately classifies this as litter; therefore we removed many of the decorations along the way. This probably sounds like a really boring week to readers, but I enjoyed it and would actually consider this one of my favorite hitches. Now there wasn’t anything particularly exciting about it, but the work wasn’t difficult, the weather was nice, and it was pretty satisfying seeing the sites after we removed the Sahara Mustard.

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