Lower Salt River
In 2018 Thunderbeard expanded our volunteer efforts with the Tonto National Forest Service to conduct invasive species removal along the Lower Salt River. This is a gorgeous dam-fed section of class I-II river with seasonal raftable flows. The Salt River runs right into Mesa, Tempe, and Phoenix and it’s proximity to the city makes it very popular with college students and weekenders. Unfortunately this brings a great deal of garbage to the river as well, so we have been filling bags with beer cans, clothing, equipment and other assorted detritus on each of our trips.
Our main focus for this river project has been the removal of apple snails, an invasive species which is displacing native snail species in the area, which disrupts the food supply for fish and birds in the area. The snails lay a cotton-candy-pink mass of snail eggs all over the cattails and reeds lining the sides of the river. Our work focuses on removing these eggs by scraping them into the river where they are no longer viable. We are also working on a piece of equipment that should make this job much easier so stay tuned for some innovative egg removal techniques.