May 02, 2021
In Trip Reports
Hydrology and post fire burn response was the focus of this trip. We were joined by Kelly Mott Lacroix, Tonto NF Watershed Program Manager and Forest Hydrologist and Brooke Wheelock, Tonto NF Volunteer Outreach Coordinator. TRAL really appreciates the effort made on behalf of the Forest Service to make time for our volunteers. Thank you Kelly and Brooke! The area we chose for this trip was Four Peaks Road, where in June, 2020 the Bush fire eventually burned nearly 200,000 acres. The Inciweb map of the Bush Fire. The Bush Fire started near Bush Highway and took a quite destructive path burning and killing thousands of saguaros and other cacti as it tore through the Desert Sonoran ecosystem at the lower elevations. This fire spread rapidly due to the abundance of invasive species grasses (primarily Red Brome grass) in the area and was carried up through Chaparral and into Manzanita thickets and over the top of Four Peaks, eventually consuming the small Ponderosa Pine ecosystem found there. This was a working trip for Kelly, she needed to see how the area had responded to the fire both visually and quantitatively by sampling the soil for hydrophobic response and the measuring water samples for dissolved oxygen content and temperature. Kelly Mott Lacroix demonstrating how dissolved oxygen levels are measured at Picadilla Creek. In each ecosystem the burn response 10 months after the burn was quite different. Fires are not all consuming. In any fire, there are always pockets that were not burned. Lower elevation desert plants such as cacti, are not well fire adapted. The burn response tends to be very slow, grasses and invasive grasses, which are fire adapted tend to come back first. At higher elevations, the plant life becomes more woody and the plants are more fire adapted. Fire happens with some regularity in those ecosystems and the plants that have managed to survive there have adapted to it and can come back from even the most catastrophic fires. Almost everywhere we looked we saw new growth being established from the charred remains of previous plant life. Kelly mentioned that the fire recovery at higher elevation typically takes five years. At lower elevations, the saguaro forests that we loved may never come back. We stopped at several Riparian areas on our way to the top which showed a great response to the fire. New Sycamore, Fremont Cottonwoods, Arizona Walnut, Willow and Oak could be seen. We even spotted a small frog in the waters of Picadilla Creek. Can you spot him in this picture? Kelly also talked to us about how TRAL could help her in identifying issues in areas where motorized trails cross running water.
Apr 15, 2021
In Events Hosted by Other Groups
Friends of the Tonto National Forest - Water Source Inventory Project. Friends of the Tonto National Forest is a 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer organization whose primary mission is support of the Tonto National Forest. The Water Source Inventory project is being undertaken in cooperation with TRAL to assist the Forest Hydrologist and other forest specialists by collecting data related to developed water sources on the forest. Throughout its history, the Tonto National Forest applied for hundreds of water rights. The Forest is now compiling a database of current information on the developments at every water source in order to maintain these rights. Developed water sources were constructed for use by livestock and wildlife. Three types of developed water sources to be inventoried are: windmills, springs and stock tanks. You can help Friends inventory developed water sources on the Tonto National Forest. The Tonto will create an accurate map of water locations and their construction from the data collected and use this information for future environmental analyses as well as for the adjudication of water rights by the State of Arizona. You will need a 4WD high clearance vehicle on most of the Forest Roads that lead to the sites. In addition, an iPhone or Android device to run the Collector mapping software on, and a satellite GPS unit, such as a Bad Elf capable of locating a water source development. Some sites will require short hikes. Two ways to participate With a Friend Grab a friend as we recommend this activity for at least two participants working together. Preferably with two vehicles. Schedule data collection at your convenience. Group Outing Friends of the Tonto will organize one group run per month (possibly two) to specific areas of the forest, where there are high concentrations of un-inventoried sites. Depending on the size of the group, we will split up into smaller teams and collect in neighboring areas. We will use CB radios for vehicle to vehicle communication. We will be out of phone contact in many locations in the forest. We plan to have a couple of loaner CB radios available. How do I get involved? The Tonto National Forest Hydrologist, Kelly Mott La Croix will hold a 45 minute virtual training session, followed by a 15 minute question and answer session on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 7PM. We will follow this with a field day which is tentatively planned for Saturday, May 8, 2021. Detail connection information will be provided to those who respond. If you are still interested, please let me know and I will make sure you are invited to the training. If these dates do not work for you let me know that as well and we'll work something out. We have an option to have this April 29th, but I’m afraid that if we push this out any further Kelly will be working on a fire. I’d like to try to make these dates work if possible. Virtual Training Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 7PM Field Training Day Saturday, May 8, 2021 9AM-2PM? Contact Trent Shue at email@example.com
Mar 28, 2021
In Trip Reports
A Big Thanks to Chad Harold, Tonto National Forest Geologist and the Forest Service crew who took time out from their busy schedules to spend a day with TRAL in the Hewitt Station, Superior AZ area. We had a great turn out and it was great to see old friends as well as make some new ones. Chad provided a wealth of information. He went into great detail about the rocks and geology of the area and history of mining in the area, as well as how to spot mining claims. Chad spent some time explaining the on-going mining activities of Rio Tinto and others, which includes the drilling throughout the region of geo-technical and hydrologic wells for the purposes of monitoring ground water levels and the rock layers beneath. The area where we were exploring is being considered as a possible storage location for the Rio Tinto block cave mine tailings, something ultimately to be about the size of Picketpost Mountain. Also fascinating was the process used to extract the copper form the crushed rock and the current state of copper processing in the USA. We traveled to several abandoned perlite mines and a collapsed mine that had an exposed chrysocolla vein. We finished at the Pinal City Cemetery at the grave of Mattie Earp.
Oct 15, 2020
In General Discussion
Each user will have to signup for the forum on tralaz.org using the same email address they used to join TRAL. Approval will be provided by an administrator. The signup form is accessed from the Login menu item on the far right of the Menu bar. Note that existing users can Login using Facebook or Google, if the email matches what is in CERVIS. Otherwise, enter your email manually by selecting the bottom button. Upon completing the signup form, you will receive an acknowledgement email from firstname.lastname@example.org. Non-member signups will be directed to the new volunteer page. Once you are approved you will receive and approval email from email@example.com. Login from the Menu or by the provided button to the Home page. Access your Profile from the drop-down menu in the account box on upper right-hand side of the screen. Edit name and add an Avatar image, then Publish. Your profile will only be viewable to members of the group. I hope this helps, --Trent