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The River Run Network’s Arundo Removal Effort






WMG’s River Run Network is excited for another year of removing the invasive species Arundo donax (giant reed) from along Tanque Verde Creek in east Tucson to restore flow and riparian habitat. We invite you to join us on Saturdays (Sept-May) to aid in the effort (sign up below)!

About This Invasive Species Removal Effort

What is Arundo?

Arundo plants are long, green, sturdy reeds that can grow over 20 feet tall sometimes as quickly as 4 inches per day. Originally from Asia and the Mediterranean, Arundo was initially introduced to the Western USA for erosion control and aesthetics. However, because of the aggressive growth style of this plant, the situation quickly got out of control and led to large areas of banks and waterways being covered in tall, dense stands of the reed.

What’s the Issue?

Arundo causes 4 main issues for our desert ecosystems. 1) Arundo uses up to 4 times the amount of water native plants use. 2) Arundo’s tall, dense clusters of stalks crowd out native plants. 3) Arundo’s dense root systems increase risk for floods. 4) When Arundo dies, their stalks become very dry and very flammable, increasing risk of wildfire. Because Arundo outcompetes native vegetation and degrades our riparian ecosystems, we want it out of our creeks and rivers!

What’s the Effort?

The water use requirements of Arundo have contributed to a dramatic reduction of flow in the Tanque Verde Creek. By removing Arundo, the River Run Network is helping to restore groundwater levels and surface flow in the Tanque Verde. To combat the reduction of native plants due to Arundo presence, we launched phase two of this project in 2023: replanting native riparian trees and shrubs where Arundo has been removed! Learn more about our efforts to restore Tucson’s watersheds through this video by Arizona Illustrated which follows a group of student volunteers as they participate in the removal of Arundo from the Tanque Verde. Hear from our interns about their experience removing Arundo on our River Run Network Blog.

So far in the effort we’ve worked on 55 acres along the Tanque Verde Creek and formed a community of over 300 volunteers! But there’s still so much more to be done…

Where Do I Come In?

Volunteer to help! Come work with WMG staff and River Run Network volunteers in a beautiful riparian area to remove this invasive species and contribute to the restoration of flow and native vegetation. We are out along the Tanque Verde Creek every Saturday morning from September to May, so choose a Saturday or two (or three…or ten!) that works for you and register using the event list below.

Workshops are outdoors and may include rough terrain. You will be walking and working in sandy, rocky, possibly wet soils, and navigating through riparian environments as well as using tools and moving heavy Arundo stalks.

New to this effort? At each workshop, we will hand out a punch card to new volunteers and punch returning volunteers' cards to help you keep track of the workshops you've been to! Make sure to sign in on the registration sheet to be counted as well.

  • Attend 3 workshops to win a River Run Network T-shirt from our Living Lab

  • Attend 6 workshops to be invited to attend our Grand Prize Field Trip. (This will be announced in early Spring 2024.)

  • New! Refer A Friend - Tell your friends about the Arundo Removal Effort and bring them to workshops! If you bring a friend (limit one friend and one workshop), you and your friend will receive our brand new Arundo Removal sticker (right).

Our volunteers are doing incredible work, see some of the photos below from our workshop + celebration on March 25th, 2023. A team of 52 volunteers removed 2 tons of Arundo in 3 hours. You can also view our photo album of this event and the Tanque Verde Creek here.


Thank you to the Arizona State Department of Forestry and Fire Management for providing funding through their Invasive Plant Removal program and thank you to the supportive landowners along the Tanque Verde Creek with whom we are coordinating removal efforts.

Upcoming RRN Events

03/02/2024 - 9:00am to 5:00pm
03/03/2024 - 9:00am to 5:00pm
05/07/2024 - 5:30pm to 7:30pm