Beginning iNaturalist entries: Common Edge Habitat Field, June of 2021

This 2 acre field just north of the ABQ City Open Space Visitor Center has been managed by Peter Callen and Cameron Weber for the past 3 years (since March of 2018). Several attempts had previously been made to plant trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs in the field, but a variety of factors led to the field remaining mostly a mix of compacted clay with field bindweed and Siberian Elms. Pocket gophers were present, but only on the edge of the surrounding road, not in the field itself.
After creating a central irrigation ditch in the field with several side laterals, Peter and Cameron, with the help of the Ancestral Lands Youth Corps, built up 10 planting beds alongside those side laterals. Using sheet mulch and "composting in place", we built up soil there for a year and a half before planting. We sought public input by holding envisioning workshops and asking volunteers what they would like to see growing here. Bamboo fences were built to define and protect some of the remaining trees and shrubs planted in previous years, and a shade structure with bench was built from local materials. Entry gates were constructed to welcome public interaction and define the walking paths. A hawk pole was erected for raptors and owls as there were not any perching sites nearby; this to encourage predation on the rodent (ground squirrel and pocket gopher) and rabbit population.
Now after 3 years of careful irrigation management, numerous months of volunteer weed management, and several public planting workshops in the newly established beds, and seeding 3/4 of the rest of the field with a Truax no-till seed drill, we have approximately 14 trees and shrubs, 9 species of grasses, 2 of rush/sedge, and 33 species of forbs, most of these being native to North America if not New Mexico.

We are still building soil, and will be focused on that for years to come, and we have several invasive species to constantly deal with, such as the Bindweed and Siberian Elms, Johnsongrass and Kochia, Cocklebur, Silver-leaf Nightshade and Goatheads. But these are not out of control at the time being, and with various pulling, cutting/mowing and raking techniques, we will be able to contain their spread with hand tools and small machinery.
The NE quarter of the field has been left in a minimally managed/irrigated state as a "control" or "before" example, and to protect archeology sites near the surface.

Posted by peter6 peter6, June 10, 2021 23:27


No comments yet.

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments