BLM Arizona and partner unveil interpretive display during NPLD celebration

Story by June Lowery, public affairs specialist

State Director Raymond Suazo and Gila District Manager Scott Feldhausen celebrated National Public Lands Day (NPLD) at the Waterman Restoration Site located on the Ironwood Forest National Monument with our partners Arizona Native Plant Society and the Arizona Sierra Club, and more than 50 members of the public. 

man standing outside behind a podium with two people standing and one sitting on a rock listening to him talk
State Director Ray Suazo provides BLM remarks.

The celebration included a short ceremony unveiling a new interpretive display showcasing the restoration work and its benefits to the Sonoran-Desert ecosystem. Following the ceremony, attendees toured the new interpretive display and demonstration garden. Enjoyed lite refreshments and received NPLD t-shirts and National Environmental Education Foundation fee free coupons.   

4 interpretive panels being unveiled by 4 people. Mountains standing in the background.
Pictured from left to right: Arizona Native Plant Society President Doug Ripley, Sierra Club Arizona President Sandy Bahr, BLM Arizona State Director Raymond Suazo and Arizona Native Plant Society State Conservation Chair John Scheuring unveil the new interpretive display.

In the early 2000s the Waterman Site had become an 18-acre buffelgrass monoculture because of unauthorized use - and unfortunately buffelgrass is extremely invasive and damaging to the Sonoran Desert ecosystem. Thanks to the efforts of BLM staff, interns and partners, this site is now a restored upland saguaro-palo verde landscape with over 110 native plant species and fewer than 150 buffelgrass plants still emerging per year. 

Three people standing and talking with a crowd of people behind them and a mountain in the background.
Gila District Manager Scott Feldhausen talks with Sierra Club Arizona President Sandy Bahr and Catalina Council Scout Executive Jeff Hotchkiss.

“To ensure that the native vegetation continues to thrive, periodic checks for buffelgrass and preventive management and spraying will be necessary,” said State Director Raymond Suazo. “To further this critical work, BLM Arizona received $390K in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for the Monument that is being put into a new multiple year buffelgrass treatment contract.”

Person wearing suspenders and a ball cap standing next to an interpretive panel
Arizona Native Plant Society State Conservation Chairman poses by one of the new interpretive panels.

The Waterman Restoration Site project supports the Department of the Interior’s goal of working to conserve at least 30% of our lands and waters by the year 2030. It also supports the BLM’s conservation and restoration goals of focusing on restoring our lands and waters, creating resilient landscapes, and addressing climate change.