Friends of Juniper Flats respect and admire the beauty in the Mojave Desert, and our volunteers make a difference. In addition to cleaning up trash left by others and blown in, volunteers do “restoration” projects. Last year we completed several projects including the Restoration Workshop April 8, 2017 and the National Public Lands Day Project. On January 1, 2018 we completed another project which included the repair of a fence along with restoration. That project “saved” a few remaining plants and despite the lack of rain, other plants are taking hold under the “stick trees” we planted to create shade and retain some moisture. That project also improved safety for people exploring the area because the fence repair closed a cut in the fence and now visitors are in less danger of driving on a closed route and “rolling over” down the steep hillsides.
This month we have another project planned which will improve the safety of visitors walking or riding to Arrastre Waterfall along the Powerline Road from Coxey Truck Trail. Unless you have a sturdy 4×4 vehicle the only way to get to the waterfall is to hike along the dirt road. Short cuts on blind curves make this road dangerous, therefore a fence was recently installed on top of one such hazard.
Our project on May 18, 2018 is to help the scars heal so that plants are encouraged to grow and the visual aspect of the landscape is improved. Soils are a bit like your skin. When you cut your skin, depending on the severity of the cut or scrape, you may need to give it some help such as a bandage. Scars and scrapes on the landscape may also need help depending on the severity of the disturbance. Soils in the Mojave Desert have a delicate crust that is easily damaged. These biological soil crusts (BSC) are a complex blend of microorganisms carpeting arid environments. Although not much can be done to repair damage to the soil crust, we can use restoration techniques to help plants grow again. You can read more about the scientific knowledge of soil crusts in arid environments at the Soil Science website .
On Friday, May 18, 2018 we will be doing some raking, getting the soil back up onto the slope, adding some dead “stick bushes”, adding dead logs to help keep the soil in place, and spreading some seeds that have been collected from nearby. Participants will learn this technique of “Vertical Mulching” which was used in 2001 at the same location.
That effort in 2001 won a National Award, and was successful for several years. Now a renewed effort is needed to help slow the erosion, restore the visual appeal of the walk to Arrastre Waterfall while providing a safer passage for all visitors.
After completing the repair at this site, we will be monitoring the effectiveness of the new fence and restoration. We hope to encourage future visitors to report any damage to the site so that our trained volunteers can repair the damage promptly.
Anyone wishing to help with this project is urged to register as soon as possible by email to FOJF2@yahoo.com or by completing the form below.