SCA Yucca Valley
56020 Santa Fe Trail, Suite H
Yucca Valley, CA 92284
Vertical Mulch: The collection and artistic arrangement of dead and downed plant matter into fake bushes. This process is capable of producing woody perennial growth in as little as two years for the following reasons:
1) It creates a visual barrier. The vast majority of people who ride off-highway vehicles illegally on federal lands do so without knowing they are on illegal routes. By blending vertical mulch with the surrounding landscape people will not confuse these routes for those designated by land use agencies. This stops further harm from coming to these areas.
2) It helps to simulate the growing cycle of the desert. The desert grows primarily beneath nurse plants—large plants who have enough mass to produce a microclimate. Beneath these plants the air is slightly cooler and the sun is less direct, so water will not evaporate as fast. These plants also work as wind blocks, so seeds have a chance to take root, rather than being blown willy-nilly. By placing our fake bushes on the illegal routes, we create faux apex species. Despite not being living plants, they perform most all of the functions of actual nurse plants. We even take seed from other nurse plant seed banks and sow it around our bushes. By mimicking the natural growth patterns of the desert, we create projects that do not require upkeep.
Below are before and after photos from the 2007-08 Jawbone crew. Look closely and be amazed.
I'm the Program Manager and general Cat-Herder for the Restoration Corps, this is also my 4th year down in the desert. I started with SCA in the summer of 2009 when I led a wild-and-wooly group of adventurers doing restoration in the Inyo National Forest. After that I led the intrepid WiRMs (Wilderness Restoration Monitoring Squad) for 8 months. We were monitorin', restorin' and generally livin' it up all over the California Desert District.
Talk with me long enough and you'll learn that I have an identity crisis. I claim to be from Seattle (8 yrs), California (3 yrs), New Jersey (8 yrs), and Montana (10 yrs) depending on what we're talking about. I feel extremely blessed to be tapped as the Program Manager of the Restoration Corps, I've come to love not only the desert but the people it attracts and the passion, dedication, and intestinal fortitude it takes to thrive out here.
The Restoration Corps began in 1999 as a five week high school program conducting desert restoration in Wilderness areas of Southern California. This year, we have 6 crews performing service in California and New Mexico with the Bureau of Land Management, and 2 crews working with the US Forest Service. With volunteer corps members in the field year round putting in over 20,000 hours of service per year, we have facilitated the processes of natural regrowth of thousands and thousands of acres of habitat.
The Restoration Corps believes public interest and involvement is critical to protecting the land. We are taking the lead in educating the public in Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use issues in order to raise community awareness. Restoration crews are active in environmental education in schools, at community events, as well as organizing our own local volunteer events.
The Restoration Corps' holistic approach to restoration has been very successful in healing the land, and has gained the attention of land management agencies outside the BLM. Our expansion into forest ecosytems, formerly in Inyo National Forest and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest are perfect examples of SCA restoration that is not exclusively in the desert.
The success of this program is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of the versatile field staff and die-hard members that serve to help protect and restore the environments around them.
Rand Mountains ACEC - CA
Jawbone-Butterbredt ACEC - CA
Kiavah Wilderness - CA
Grass Valley Wilderness - CA
WildCorps - CA