VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO SAVE DESERT WILDFLOWERS FROM INVASIVE WEEDS

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By Miriam Raftery

June 24, 2014 (Borrego Springs)--Where have all the flowers gone?

Anza-Borrego has long been famous for its spectacular spring wildflower blooms.  But now the region’s biodiversity is threatened by an invasive weed—the Sahara mustard.

The hardy invader first took root in the area about three years ago and is thriving in the desert heat.  Now it’s crowding out the native wildflowers that attract visitors and tourism dollars to the region each spring, KPBS reports.

Jon Rebman, botany curator with the San Diego Natural History Museum, warns that it’s “changing the ecosystem completely.” 

Kathy Dice, Superintendent at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, says some species are being “driven to extinction.”

Americorps has sent a team to work with the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to try and eradicate the invasive species. In just three weeks, they hauled out three quarters of a ton of Sahara mustard.

More help is needed, and a Sahara Mustard Task Force has been formed that seeks community volunteers willing to help uproot the tenacious weeds that are crowding out desert wildflowers.  For more information on how you can help, visit  http://theabf.org/sahara_mustard_task_force