20,000 trees on the Rio Grande!

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The International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC), has begun work at several habitat restoration sites along the Rio Grande within the cities of El Paso, Texas and Sunland Park, New Mexico. USIBWC requests visitors to take precaution, heed safety warning signs, and stay on trails and levees during construction.

Three sites are along recreational hike and bike trails. Two sites go through the Sunland Park trail (Anapra and Sunland Park Restoration sites), and the third site goes through the river portion of Valley Creek Park/Mary Frances Keisling Park in El Paso’s Upper Valley (Valley Creek Restoration Site). A fourth site south of the Country Club Bridge is not along a trail.

As a safety precaution during planting and site preparation, USIBWC contractor IDEALS-AGEISS will have temporary rolling closures of the paved hike and bike trail, in which pedestrians and cyclists should stay on levees and heed signs. Closures will take place only in small segments of a couple hundred feet at a time in the immediate vicinity of heavy machinery. All site prep and planting work is expected to be completed by March 30, 2018, with most work in the trail areas completed by March 1, 2018.

USIBWC contractors are using heavy machinery to remove non-native vegetation, particularly saltcedar bushes. Contractors will also be mitigating mistletoe damage on existing large native cottonwood trees, which may include pruning infected branches of large trees. At the Country Club East site south of Country Club Bridge, crews will be excavating the floodplain to create channel cuts and other areas for plantings. After the site preparation is complete, USIBWC contractors will be planting approximately 20,000 native trees and shrubs across the sites, including willows and cottonwoods. Some of the plantings will be transplants from vegetated islands that USIBWC will excavate from the Rio Grande channel as part of its routine maintenance program.

In addition, USIBWC has other active restoration sites in Vinton, Texas, and Shalem Colony, NM with similar work, although these sites are not located in designated trail areas.

These sites will also have several thousand trees and shrubs planted. The principal objectives of the restoration are to enhance the connection of the river and the floodplain; reduce exotic vegetation; restore endangered species habitat; and reestablish riparian habitat. Additional information about the USIBWC’s habitat restoration can be found at https://www.ibwc.gov/EMD/canalization_eis.html.

Owl lady to speak February 27

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El Paso’s Urban Biologist, Lois Balin of Texas Parks and Wildlife will be the Sierra Club speaker on February 27.  Her presentation entitled “Creating Habitat for Burrowing Owls in El Paso” will highlight all of her efforts to help one the area’s most amazing birds.  Her presentation will include the fascinating ecology of the Western Burrowing Owl and the research that has been done at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park in El Paso on monitoring and providing habitat for burrowing owls.

El Paso Group Sierra Club presents 2017-2018 Kevin von Finger Speakers Series. Named after the late Sierran and ecologist, Kevin von Finger, the series will include talks about Aquatic Life in the Huecos, Climate Change, Wolves, Recycling, Burrowing Owls, the role of utilities in renewable energy and sustainability and more. All talks will be given on the 4th Tuesday of each month from now through May. All talks begin at 7PM at the UTEP Centennial Museum, 500 W. University.

Sierra Club Speaker Series

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2017-2018 El Paso Group Sierra Club Speakers Series

El Paso Group Sierra Club presents 2017-2018 Kevin von Finger Speakers Series. Named after the late Sierran and ecologist, Kevin von Finger, the series will include talks about Aquatic Life in the Huecos, Climate Change, Wolves, Recycling, Burrowing Owls, the role of utilities in renewable energy and sustainability and more. All talks will be given on the 4th Tuesday of each month from now through May. All talks begin at 7PM at the UTEP Centennial Museum, 500 W. University.

 

2/27/18                      Lois Balin (Creating Habitat for Burrowing Owls in El Paso) This presentation will include the fascinating ecology of the Western Burrowing Owl and the research that has been done at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park in El Paso on monitoring and providing habitat for burrowing owls.

3/27/18                     Rick LoBello (Dude, come on, wolves need a decent life) For the sake of wilderness and our ecosystem, a growing number of people believe that the Mexican wolf should be given the chance to reclaim its rightful role in the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas.  Rick LoBello from the El Paso Zoo will tell the rest of the story.)

4/24/18                      EPEC (The role of utilities in renewable energy and sustainability)

5/22/18                      Paul Hyder (“Ecological and Environmental Consequences of the “Wall”)