|California Hwy 78 Looking West towards San Diego County Mountains|
Here is a link to the website of the group responsible for this Mesquite Dune Experiment. It was conducted by the San Diego State University SDSU - Soil Restoration Group.
The reality is that I never really paid this project no mind other than slowing down once or twice and passively giving it some attention. I did stop once and gave a closer look. I was wondering of course what specific species of plants were used and what was the purpose of these plantings. I never saw anyone as I went past to stop and ask. Never the less I was curious, but I have to be honest that it wasn't till some years later it took on more meaning when I thought back on their project.
The SDSU Soil Ecology Restoration Group's purpose
of these studies have included evaluation of the nature of disturbance, soil remediation, seed collection, processing, and storage, dustfall and erosion control, plant production and outplanting techniques, remote site irrigation, plant protection, direct seeding, and the re-establishment of mesquite mounds along the San Felipe Creek watershed region of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The primary goal of these studies has been the mitigation of off-road vehicle damage, road construction, and mining. Once again , you may read further about this Project which was created by San Diego State University's Soil Ecology Restoration Group.
Here's an interesting map that gives an idea as to actual location. The area is about a mile or so from the Hwy 86 Jct on Hwy 78 and just north of the San Felipe Creek Ecological Reserve in Imperial County California. This map is from the California Department of Fish and Game and just about where you see on this map at about the green Hwy 78 sign is where the Project Habitat Restoration Site is located.
Let me give you an up to date visual of just what the place looks like as of last year June 2011. My wife and I stopped there on our way back from Brawley CA with my brother Lance going back to his home in the Mountains at Ranchita and I took a number of photographs. Some spots not doing so well and other trees were very impressive.
|Coming from the Jct 86 east to west with|
Mesquite Site on left
Ignore that masked man behind the Tamarisk Curtain! On a cautionary note: beware of the soft sand road shoulder off the south side of Hwy 78. The US Border Patrol regularly grades it to track illegals. No low clearance vehicle should attempt to park on the experiment side of the Highway.
|Notice not all made it but this one is still going as |
are others in background
As you an see, this little seedling was still hanging on but just barely. Considering this project started in 1995, that's Kool.
To her left notice what is left of the built up mound structure ? The basic frame was a straw bale covered by the native soil. Not sure why they built them this way other than ease of workload and cutting costs. As time went on the bales would deteriorate. The idea is that blowing sand would catch under the Mesquite tree and build it back up naturally.
I'd say half the project didn't make it but this experiment was about restoration in remote areas with minimal interference at the beginning for establishment and then letting nature take over from there.
Now there were some areas where there were great successes as you see here.
One of the things I noticed about these particular successful tree locations were the fact that they were not in a mound or dune situation. These were in lower water catchments where Thunderstorm Summer Monsoonal Rains coming up from Mexico in July/August running off the road and collecting here in small basins which filled to capacity. This was noticeable by the dried mud cracklings all around the ground.
The area is fenced mainly to keep people out and I was surprised by many of the Herbivore Protective Guards still left on most all of the trees since the website said these were removed in 1999. Still, some impressive looking trees for an area that receives less that 3 inches of rainfall a year. The the road runoff here may more than double that rainfall table totals. This may effect some accuracy rain data for the remote site location, but if these had the ability to tap into underground water table, then any lack of rain or low rainfall amounts would not be a factor. San Felipe Creek wash is only a couple hundred feet away.
Things the Mesquite Dune Experiment did correct & things not so good.
|Deep Pipe Irrigation|
The reference link for this phenomena is found here:
Below is a link to a PDF on the Irrigation techniques used:
Here are some examples of the deep pipe irrigation's ability to facilitate water into deeper soil layers which in turn encourages deeper root growth and movement down into the subsoil.
These same techniques can be utilized with deep rooted native bunch grasses and other desert trees and shrubs. Notice also the technical mechanisms for preventing animals, insects and other debris from entering the pipes ? A solid white PVC cap may also be used.
Let me offer an illustration of how a hole drilled beneath the root level would be better adapted to not only providing water at deeper root layers, but also creating the best area of water storage to be used by ONLY by these plants. You've got to put your thinking cap on here for a moment and imagine just how viewing elements of nature can be replicated in an actual implementation by human mechanical means to give a great head start at success, which is what everyone wants in the first place. So just a little extra effort for those enthusiastic about a project shouldn't be a problem. See Below:Another method would not only allow the plant to stimulate it's taproot downwards, but also protect against hungry herbivores like Rabbits, Squirrels, rats or mice.
Take a look at the root zone level deep down. Ideally this is where you want the water to end up and remain stored in the deeper surrounding soil layers for the plant to utilize to the full potential. The Gopher hole beautifully illustrates how this can be done, though maybe not at such a diagonal angle. BTW, I used these exact methods described above back in the late 1970s and they DO Work!!!
Clearly there are a number of means of which are available to humans to make this task much easier and more efficient. There are of course mechanical attachments for smaller garden sized or bigger tractors. In many cases this could be used not only for posting large hollow PVC Irrigation Pipe into the ground, but also for long drilling much deeper slender holes for planting the actual seedling grown in another unique container method which I'll allude to further down.
Some of this may even seem a bit radical, but if the project is important enough and quick success is of the utmost importance, then certainly nothing should be over looked. Humans have excellerated the destruction of our planet's environment. Clearly it is entirely proper to speed recovery along and in the most efficient manner possible and available. It also calls for the need to set aside certain almost religious sacred ideological philosophies of allowing nature to work on it's own.
Yes, to a degree I also like this point of letting nature do it's work, however humans have excellerated a climatic change of events on our Earth. The normal behavioral patterns of historical weather patterns cannot be counted on any longer. Removal of vegetation and disruption of plant community ecosystems Earthwide has almost destroyed the cloud formation mechanisms of many ecosystems by result of plant community removal. As already posted in this blog on some of the side pages along the lefthand side, there is major scientific evidence to show that plants regulate cloud formation around the globe even locally. Fast establishment of these plants, getting their roots deep into the earth to tap into it's energy and deeper layers of water and negative electrical conductivity will help to heal what has been lost. We DON'T need half-baked artificial means of fixing horrific weather events that WE (Humans) caused. We DON'T need the inventions of geo-engineering or low-tech weather modification devices as such has been championed down in Dubai. If they actually understood the mechanisms for which plants create weather and have attempted to replicate these through innovations, then you don't need to create a faked counterfeit. What we need is the authentic original. Start dumping the sub-standard science-based money profiteering technologies and go with what will work the best in the environment and that is nature based high-tech methods. Negative Ions emitted by plants grounded deeply in the Earth and simultaneously releasing into the air volatile organic compounds we call Aerosols which create cloud formation are what we have to bring back. Seriously here, nature doesn't give a crap about anything left or right winged and as long as these two failures bicker back and forth with spitting and poop throwing contests then count on the ecology to continue it's downwards spiral.
Techniques I didn't like, but it's not their fault.
So what do we do first ? Here's what I have done exactly two days ago from this writing here. We went to Tenerife in the Canary Islands in February 2012 this year. I walked around local neighbourhoods and collected seeds from Poinciana (Mexican Bird of Paradise, Paloverde and other seeds from the pea family there. I wanted to replicate a propagation experimental illustration I have performed many times since the late 1970s. I actually had this experiment in mind for when I came back from our trip earlier this year, but I've been putting it off until now. To replicate the acid etching necessary for the breaking down of the hard seed coatings, I used two sheets of sand paper with the seeds in between. I then pressed and rubbed back and forth to create scars on this outer coating which is technically termed scarifying. Take a look.
First we've got to get out our observational thinking caps and get our replication act together. With the method I use here (glass & paper towel school boy experiment) this allows the plant itself to illustrate just exactly what the DNA or genetic informational instructions are communicating to us as to it's needs and wants in step by step processes which are in order of importance as to what comes first. This is exactly what I do, but first, what do we know about a Mesquite's needs in such a hostile environment and what allows it to survive such unforgivable extremes in climate ? Take a look:
|The above animation is exactly the process you|
observe between the glass jar and paper towel.
|Bursage Nurse Plant|
|Can you believe this ? |
Again what kind of communication is going on here ?
I'll update this page here as time goes on with more photos. I'll write up a separate page on the side of what I believe will be a superior containerized process for nursery applications for outplanting in a remote environment. Home city situations are not the same for a one gallon root spiraled bound plant. At home a gardener is like a nurse taking care of a patient on life support until the patient can make it on their own. Remote planting has no such pampering privileges. So stay tuned! Special Note Here: I'm going to create a special page and update that on this desert seed germination and propagation experiment. It will be located with the other resource pages in the upper right hand side of this blog. Seed are really taking off now and this should be fun.
Below here are some projects ongoing and in a way associated with the restoration projects for this area of Tamarisk removal and Mesquite Bosque and other native Riparian Habitat restoration. Besides plants, other wildlife are generally taken into consideration. The Mesquite Dune Experiment also offers ideas and innovations for replacing ALL Desert Agricultural Windbreaks which mistakenly continue to utilize an introduction of Mid-East & North African Tamarisk Tree species which have rapidly gotten out into the wild and taken over many stream, lake and river habitats and decimated whole native plant & animal populations. Future article already on the draft board for that. Stay tuned and enjoy the photos and links below of things most are not aware of.
STATUS OF THE DESERT PUPFISH, CYPRINODON MACULARIUS (BAIRD AND GIRARD), IN SAN FELIPE CREEK - IMPERIAL COUNTY CALIFORNIA
|San Sebastian Marsh|