Rim to Rim Restoration seeks to regenerate and repair damaged or altered landscapes. Primarily we seek to “do no harm”. To achieve this, thorough site evaluations are imperative to ensure actions we choose to implement will best regenerate the land, and not inadvertently cause more problems.
With all projects we first look to determine what has caused the damage, and if that activity or agent can be removed. In some situations, our only action may be to remove this cause and then step away. In other situations, we may decide we need to intervene with on-the-ground actions to help the site regenerate itself. We always look for ways the least amount of work can facilitate the most regeneration.
Questions we ask when approaching a project:
“…..two quite different kinds of time. The first is time spent working….If the work is done by paid labor, this time costs money. The second is the time spent waiting…This time costs patience, but no money at all”
Same location in 2016, looking east
Work Time and waiting time
Location in Mill Creek Canyon before…
….and after Summer Youth Program work
The Bradley Method relies on the landscape’s ability to regenerate native vegetation on a damaged site when that vegetation is given the space, and time, to regrow. The idea is to shift the balance of the plant community from favoring weeds to favoring native plants. In the heavily impacted high use areas around Moab, this method has limitations. However, there are several strategies for helping it along which make it quite viable. These include: installing fencing and other barriers; land contouring and erosion control measures including wattling and facines; re-establishing native plants by transplanting plants in islands where large areas have been disturbed; using pole plantings and longstem plantings in areas that flood; planting seedlings and watering them deeply, and providing some water to assist in establishment; and seeding.
Restoration is only possible in areas where the activity that damaged the land is no longer occurring, and the ecosystem can regain function, possibly with a little help. Restoration restores natural patterns, abundance, and distribution of vegetation on a site with the intention of helping rebuild a system that functions without repeated resource inputs. Restoration is never simply putting plants into the ground. Plant materials used in these projects maintain the genetic trace of local natural selections, which means all plants are taken from or propagated from adjacent geographic areas and similar landscape types. Invasive exotic weeds are removed to the best extent possible. Even in the remote areas of the Southwest, restoration is often impossible due to damming, irrigation withdrawals or other land uses that cannot be changed.
This site shows tamarisk clearing in the Matheson wetlands in 2005. While the area of clearing is large, it is small in relation to the overall area of Tamarisk and native plants have been left to help repopulate the area. Using a timber ax to masticate the biomass leaves the roots in place and covers the area with mulch from the chipping, helping hold down weeds.
The trees were treated with herbicide at the time they were mowed. Unfortunately, a fire a few years later burned over 200 acres of Tamarisk, including this area.
Tamarisk removal in 2007/08 with a Timber Ax head on a RC-100 high track skid loader in the north end of the Matheson wetlands cutting narrow areas and some larger openings to help encourage native plant growth. Unfortunately this area burned soon after this work was completed.