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Volunteers to try to beat back pesky buffelgrass

Annual Beatback Day happens Saturday

There is a invasive plant growing in Southern Arizona that threatens property and weakens the  delicate ecosystem of the Sonoran Desert.

On Saturday, volunteers will gather in an attempt to control the pesky weed during the Fifth Annual Beat Back Buffelgrass Day at Saguaro National Park West and sites around the Tucson.

Buffelgrass crowds out desert vegetation and creates a fire hazard around properties.

“We cannot let this invasive grass destroy our unique Sonoran Desert environment and quality of life,” said Darla Sidles, Saguaro National Park superintendent, in a press release.

“The Buffelgrass invasion is threatening to transform the diverse Sonoran Desert into a flammable and impoverished savanna, affecting both natural and urban areas,” she said.

Hundreds of volunteers are expected to turn out to help clear the park's Tucson Mountain District of buffelgrass, said park spokeswoman Natalie Luna Rose.

Last year,  566 volunteers helped to collect 1,474 bags of buffelgrass, according to the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center's website

Among those volunteering Saturday will be the University of Arizona's softball team and coach Mike Cadrea, students from Sahuarita, Walden Grove, Marana and Mountain View high schools,  and the Boy Scouts, Rose said.

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The Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center has put on the event since 2010.  SABCC is collaborating with the Pima Association of Governments, Tucson Electric Power are among Beatback's partners, Rose said.

Volunteers can register through SABCC's website.

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Step It Up 2007/Flickr

A volunteer helps to remove Buffelgrass around Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National park where the Fifth Annual Buffelgrass Beatback will happen Saturday.

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If you go

What: Fifth Annual Buffelgrass Beatback

When: Saturday, all day

Where: Saguaro National Park Tucson Moutain District and around the city. Find a map of locations at Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center's website or call 626-8307 for more information.