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Canyon Creek Invasive Plant Removal

Projects Goals
Canyon Creek is located just below the Mogollon Rim and a bit east of the Young Road. This beautiful, deep canyon is the site of a major fish hatchery and Canyon Creek is very popular among trout fisherman. VOAz has made a multi-year commitment to Tonto NF to help them realize their goals in Canyon Creek.

Bull thistle moved into this area after the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2002, . As is common with plants brought in from other places, bull thistle has no local natural enemies--bugs, plant diseases, or animals. This is why it is so easy for invasive plants to get the upper hand and behave like bullies, forcing out the native plants that are so needed by local fauna.

A U.S. Forest Service brochure provides much more information about their program to reduce the presence of bull thistle in Canyon Creek.  One page  The other page

Diffuse knapweed - Centaurea diffusa Lam. The origin of diffuse knapweed is the Mediterranean region of Europe. It was probably introduced to North America as a contaminant in alfalfa seed from Asia Minor or in hybrid alfalfa seed from Germany. It is one of the dominant rangeland weeds in North America, infesting over 3 million acres of rangeland in the western United States, with the area infested increasing at a rate of 18 percent a year (Zimmerman 1997). It often invades disturbed areas, but is able to compete easily in well-managed range lands.

Diffuse knapweed is a many-branched annual or short-lived simple perennial ranging in height from 1 to 2 feet at maturity. Basal leaves are finely divided; stem leaves are entire and smaller than basal leaves. It flowers from June through September with a white to purple flower. Characteristic floral bracts are yellowish green with a light brown, comb like margin. These bracts are tipped with a definite slender spine.

Spotted and diffuse knapweed seeds exhibit three germination patterns: non-dormant seeds that germinate with or without light exposure, dormant seeds that germinate in response to red light, and dormant seeds that are not light sensitive. All germination types occur on each plant. Seeds often disperse when stems break off near the ground and tumble along with wind.

>Diffuse knapweed contains an allelopathic chemical that can suppress growth of other species and allow diffuse knapweed to grow in monotypic stands. It is unpalatable to livestock, and its spines can cause injury to grazing animals. It also causes increased soil erosion and reductions in wildlife populations.

On the Tonto, this species has been documented growing at the Pleasant Valley airport, the Pleasant Valley Ranger Station, along Cherry Creek, and along Highway 288 at Board Tree Saddle south of Young. There are many small infestations on the Pleasant Valley Ranger District. Diffuse knapweed is common on private lands in Young.


Rosette Photo by Patti Fenner & Mature plant photo by Cindy Roche

Project TA: Patti Fenner, Noxious Weed Manager, Tonto National

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events.

Completed Work
Number of Events: 6
Total Volunteer Hours: 1008
Total Participants: 119
Project Outputs
Acre(s) cleared of noxious weeds: 37
Other (bags of BullThistle seed heads): 80
Other (30 gallon bags of seed heads): 65

Completed Event Reports

July 24 - 25, 2010  Bullthistle & Canada Thistle Eradication
Canyon Creek Jul 2010

VOAz participated in treating 3-acresof invasive plants from the project area. Work consisted of spraying the herbicide Milestone and cutting and bagging seed heads from plants.
Total Volunteer Hours: 146    Total Participants: 18
Event Outputs
Acre(s) cleared of noxious weeds: 3

July 25, 2009  Bullthistle & Canada Thistle Eradication

Battle against Bullthistle and Canada Thistle

VOAz Canyon Creek Bullthistle July 2009

Click on photo to view report & photos.

Seventeen VOAZ volunteers wielded shovels, pruners and backpack sprayers to combat invasive Bullthistle and Canada Thistle near Canyon Creek in the Tonto National Forest. Several acres were treated over the weekend resulting in 144 hours donated by these volunteers. Camped at Upper Canyon Creek campground under the tall pines, everyone enjoyed getting away from the heat of the valley, the meals provided by VOAZ and, of course, the prize draw. Thom Hulen was awarded a Ten-pin for his 20th VOAZ event and Mike Snodgrass was recognized for his 100th (!) event.

Total Volunteer Hours: 166    Total Participants: 18
Event Outputs
Acre(s) cleared of noxious weeds: 3

August 2 - 3, 2008  Diffuse Knapweed Removal

Diffuse Knapweed Removal

Twenty-two VOAz volunteers (and four canine companions) traveled to the rim country and put in 207 hours removing diffuse knapweed in a 2 acre area of the Tonto National Forest. We eliminated thousands of invasive plant seeds from spreading and sprouting in the forest thereby helping to protect the local ecosystem. Afternoon storms cooled down the camp and made for a pleasant stay. Dutch oven cobblers for dessert on Saturday and dutch oven frittatas for Sunday breakfast were well especially well received.

Sue Thiebes and Shawn Redfield were recognized for their twentieth VOAZ event participation. Gail Landry was presented by Patti Fenner a Tonto NF belt buckle for her continued efforts in this project.

Volunteers: Joe Zveglich (Crew Leader), Dave Toon, Sue Thiebes (Photographer), Mike Snodgrass (Day-of Event Manager & Cook), Marilyn Schrab, Annie Rollins-Protas*, Sandra Rode*, Shawn Redfield (Crew Leader), Jennifer Petrie*, Peter Michels, Tim Leichtnam, Lynn Larremore (Crew Leader), Gail Landry (Event Manager), Sally Kirch, Jackie Keller, Jack & Els Janus, Sandy Heunish, Diana Hernandez, Carol Chaney, Rita Brady, Donna Alexander. (* = first VOAz event)

Special thanks to Patti Fenner, Tonto National Forest Noxious Weed Program Manager for her leadership, friendship and continued support.

Total Volunteer Hours: 257    Total Participants: 22
Event Outputs
Acre(s) cleared of noxious weeds: 2

August 4 - 5, 2007  Bull thistle removal

Photo by Marilyn Schrab

Bull thistle removal Photo Album

Twenty two Volunteers enjoyed the cooler conditions up in the Mogollon Rim country while working hard to remove 76 bags of bull thistle, clearing a whopping 29 acres of the pest! Wow! What a GREAT JOB!!

Cindy Bell, Judy Breen, Marc Brown, Nancy-Todd-Emily and Michael Cruse, Doug Gregory, Beth Johnson, Gail Landry, Steve Larson, Kathy Lopez, Matt Martin, Sonia Mehren, Diane Rymer, Marilyn Schrab (Crew Leader), Mike Snodgrass (Chef), Nancy Spence (Crew Leader), Dana Stedron (Event Manager), Deb Stevens, Nell Teter and Joe Zveglich (Crew Leader) (Bold = first VOAz event)

Special thanks to Patti Fenner, Noxious Weed Manager for the Tonto National Forest

Total Volunteer Hours: 179    Total Participants: 22
Event Outputs
Acre(s) cleared of noxious weeds: 29

September 16 - 17, 2006  Bull Thistle Removal

Volunteers with their shovels, pruners, blue bags

Bull thistle removal Photo Album

Eighteen volunteers spent a lovely weekend in the pines along Canyon Creek eliminating thousands of existing and potential bull thistle plants.  The group harvested sixty-five 30 gallon bags of seed and flower heads (to eliminate the re-seeding of the invasive plant) and dug up too many plants to count in a four acre area above the creek and adjacent to Airplane Flats Campground.  Everyone slept well in the cool nights at the campground and enjoyed their Ziploc omelet.

Thanks to Shirley Armstrong, Cindy Bell, Ginger Bidle, Kim Bidle, Judy Breen, Doug Gregory, Barb Houck, Sally Kirch, Gail Landry (Photographer), Charles LeFevre, Terri Metzger, Mark Minisce, John Mullen, Shawn Redfield, Marilyn Schrab, Mike Snodgrass (Event Manager, Tool Manager, Cook), Deb Stevens, and Joe Zveglich for their effort at this event.  (Bold = first VOAz event).

Thanks to Patti Fenner, Noxious Weeds Manager for the Tonto National Forest, for her guidance.

Total Volunteer Hours: 160    Total Participants: 18
Event Outputs
Other (30 gallon bags of seed heads): 65

August 13 - 14, 2005  Bull Thistle Removal

Pam, who became a VOAz member at this event, is our feature photo holding her bull thistle bouquet

Bull thistle removal Photo Album

Twenty one volunteers gathered in questionable weather to dig, cut, and pull out the invasive bull thistle from along the creek bed at Canyon Creek.  Using spades, pruners and gloves, the volunteers removed as much of this biennial weed as it could, helping to restore the creek bed, reduce wildfire risk, and improve the overall habitat.  We were especially glad to see Devon, 6, and his sister Serena, 9, - our youngest volunteers - at this event.  Special thanks go out to Patti Fenner, Noxious Weed Manager for the Tonto National forest for educating us on the importance of the bull thistle's removal and helping to organize the event.  We welcomed nine first-time project participants.  Judy Breen and Deb Stevens were honored at lunch with a ten-pin for attending their tenth project.  Although the project was cut short by monsoon storms the team collected 47 bags of bull thistle plants and seed-heads in four short hours!

Leadership Team: Sandra Stirnweis, Patti Fenner, Mike Snodgrass, Gail Landry
Work Crew Members: Peter Birch, Judy Breen, Monica Burian, Nancy, Serena and Devon Cueva, Dennis Grady, Judy Hulden, Sandra Miller, Pam Moore, Bonnie Nelson, Heather Rothbard, Kristin Sanford, Roger Shelton, Linda Shilling,Deb Stevens, Thomas Tusia, Eric Wood

Total Volunteer Hours: 100    Total Participants: 21
Event Outputs
Other (bags of BullThistle seed heads): 80



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