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Team to restore vegetation at S. Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon

An interagency team is starting a project this month to restore patches of native vegetation where recovery has been slow from the 2005/2006 wildfires in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

The team consists of about 30 people from agencies including the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, Great Basin Institute and the Nevada Conservation Corps, the BLM said in an announcement this month.

The team will plant seedlings in the Scenic Fire restoration area this week and Nov. 27-30, the BLM said.

During that time, vehicles and equipment will be staged at the Pine Creek parking area of Red Rock Canyon.

This phase of the project entails planting approximately 5,000 Joshua tree, creosote bush and white bursage seedlings. The seedlings were grown at Lake Mead National Recreation Area’s Song Dog Nursery from locally collected seeds.

Four Nevada Conservation Corps crews will work in conjunction with BLM Restoration staff, Great Basin Institute research associates, BLM Fire personnel, and USGS researchers to plant the seedlings.

USGS research staff will also measure plant survival and compare two types of plantings (potted seedlings and bare root seedlings) to two different types of seeding methods and herbicide/non-herbicide use.

This is part of the largest desert tortoise habitat restoration project attempted so far in the Mojave Desert, so there is careful assessment of each of the methods used to see which will be most effective and affordable for future efforts, the BLM said.

Drivers are asked to please use caution in the Pine Creek trailhead area during these days, as there may be temporary lane restrictions during loading and unloading of equipment, plant crates and water.

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