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ASU Students Install Riparian Preserve At Polytechnic Campus


July 15, 2005

MESA, Ariz. — Tucked away between the entryway to Arizona State University"s Polytechnic campus and the Golf Driving Range used to be an overgrown drainage area for storm water. With a grant from the Arizona Game and Fish Department and student"s hard work, a riparian preserve containing native Sonoran Desert plants is in the process of emerging.

The preserve will complement the growing desert arboretum on campus and provide a unique wildlife habitat in an urban site. This site is not the only one in the East Valley, though.

"The Town of Gilbert has two wetland preserves, which offer a natural way to recharge or filter water," says John Brock, applied biological sciences professor. "It also provides a place for wildlife enthusiasts and for those seeking a quiet place to recharge themselves."

The ASU riparian preserve is a great way to promote wildlife habitats on campus and offer another peaceful place for students, faculty, staff and visitors, according to Brock.

The riparian preserve at the Polytechnic campus will also provide students with a living laboratory. "Students will be responsible for producing reports on plant survival, growth and development as well as wildlife information for various wildlife and ecological restoration classes," says Brock.

With a $13,000 grant from Game and Fish"s Heritage fund for Urban Wildlife and Urban Wildlife Habitat for the project and help from fellow professor Doug Green, Brock has been working with students since fall 2004 to develop plans for the preserve. The physical work on the project should be completed by spring 2006.

The first part of the preparation of the site included the clearing of non-native plants from the natural waterway. Only native desert plants were left standing. More than 67 varieties of vegetation, including trees, riparian and desert grass, and sedges will be planted during the fall semester. There also will be a basin to collect and pump water which will operate off of solar energy. Rock formations will be a part of the landscape as well.

"The only other riparian sites in the East Valley are in Gilbert, so this site will be a nice addition to the southeast Valley," says Brock.

The preserve will offer seating areas and will be open to the public next spring. For more information on how you can help support this project, contact Professor Brock at (480) 727-1240 or john.brock@asu.edu.