With year-round efforts, Tucson Electric Power supports the management and local eradication of buffelgrass, a highly flammable, invasive species that threatens the Sonoran desert ecosystem.

TEP participates in Beat Back Buffelgrass Day, dedicated to spreading awareness and removing vast quantities of the perennial grass.

“TEP will rally employees, friends and family members to help manually remove buffelgrass throughout our community,” said Shannon Breslin, TEP’s Manager of Land Resources. “It will be a mass effort.”

TEP wants to create awareness of buffelgrass and its dangers.

Buffelgrass is an invasive grass that was brought to the United States intentionally for cattle feed and to Arizona mostly for erosion control – and then it took off. It’s a severe fire hazard and poses a significant threat to the region’s native vegetation, notably to the emblematic saguaro cactus.

TEP and other utilities are land managers and important partners in local buffelgrass eradication efforts. TEP actively removes buffelgrass from its substation facilities and rights-of-way, and it works collaboratively with land owners on project sites to manage the land in the best way possible.

“We have staff to manage our facilities, but we can’t fight buffelgrass alone. It’s a collaborative challenge that we have. It’s about getting a groundswell of success and building on that,” Breslin said. “Managing buffelgrass helps protect TEP facilities and the desert at large.”

TEP recognizes the Sonoran Desert is a destination location for its beautiful scenery – and buffelgrass poses a threat to this.

“The desert is a spectacularly thriving natural community. This plant and others that have similar habits don’t belong here,” Breslin said. “People come from around the world to see saguaros and other incredibly stunning unique plants, and it would be a tragedy to lose them, from both an ecological perspective, as well as an economic perspective.”

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