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News.bytes Extra, issue 466

Volunteer Day in the Alabama Hills

The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and BLM Bishop Field Office hosted the first of a series of Volunteer Days in the Alabama Hills for 2011. Folks from Lone Pine, Bishop, and Ridgecrest showed up -- plus others from as far away as Visalia, representing the Southern Sierra Climbers Association (SSCA). A total of 18 volunteers participated. (text continues below)

Volunteers work their way up a dusty hill, planting shrubs.

The project involved naturalizing former routes agreed upon to be restored by the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and BLM. Volunteers broadcast and planted native seed, with assistance and guidance from BLM Rangers Scott Justham and Dave Kirk.
The group also installed “vertical mulch” throughout the restoration area. Vertical mulching is the placing of dead brush upright in the soil. This method can encourage plant establishment by increasing water capture, providing cover for seeds to lodge and sprout, and providing a source of organic matter to help return the soil ecosystem to health.
The other benefit of vertical mulch is aesthetic. Vertically-mulched disturbed areas visually blend in with surrounding vegetation.
The SSCA also helped reduce visual impacts to the crags they came to climb by painting fixed anchors to match to color of the rock. Stencils, to avoid overspray, were provided to the climbers.
The weather cooperated by being warm and sunny. A sincere "thank you" to those who participated. 

volunteers plant among a rocky landscape
volunteers place brush over a track to be closed
seed drops from a hand into a small hole
To see more photos of the restoration visit the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group website.

- David Kirk, BLM Bishop Field Office, 1/16/11

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Last updated: 01-26-2011