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Audubon Society teams up with county, firefighters on Santa Cruz River project

Audubon Society crews
Pima County
Crews from the Audubon Society will clean up tamarisk on the Santa Cruz River.

The Tucson Audubon Society will remove salt cedar trees in the Santa Cruz River for wildfire prevention. 

The workers will target the invasive trees as well as flammable plants such as buffelgrass and fountain grass.

They will also create firebreaks. The Audubon Society is working with Pima County and Tucson firefighters on what is supposed to be the first step in a multistep process.

Jennifer Becker of the county flood control district said it’s critical to take the long view when removing species such as buffelgrass.

“So many times, invasive species treatments, people treat it like a one and done," Becker said. "And if you don’t come back, the seed bank is still contaminated. The follow up work is crucial for success.”

The work is being funded by state grants and should also benefit plants, birds and other species.

Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.