Earth Day volunteers clean up Grover Meadow | RecordCourier.com

Earth Day volunteers clean up Grover Meadow

Staff Reports

Volunteers plant a native demonstration garden at Grover Hot Spring near Markleeville in Alpine County on April 22.

More than 60 volunteers celebrated Earth Day in Alpine County working on Grover Meadow near Markleeville.

Volunteers from California and Nevada pulled 150 pounds of invasive weeds, planted 120 native plants, and cleared 104 acres of meadow and park areas of trash on April 22, according to Alpine Watershed Group Restoration and Watershed Monitoring Coordinator Alyson Cheney.

"Grover Meadow is an unusual and valuable ecosystem," Cheney said. "Fed by water from the hot spring, it has alkaline soils that support an unusual community of plants that is not duplicated anywhere else in the world, including 23 special-status plants."

Earth Day volunteers made a big difference by pulling so many weeds early in the year, she said.

"Removing invasive plants from the meadow reduces the pressure on these unique native plants, Cheney said. "The only way to preserve and enhance the park's native plant diversity, while eliminating the weeds, is by hand pulling. This process is effective but labor intensive."

Volunteers also worked on an educational garden with native plants, which is located by the Grover pool, to show park visitors the meadow's composition.

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In addition to being an alkaline meadow, the Grover Meadow is also a high alpine meadow, fed by Hot Springs Creek and its tributaries, Cheney said.

"High alpine meadows are similarly important to protect because they serve as a natural sponge protecting us and our infrastructure from floods and providing cool, clean water downstream throughout the year," she said.

AmeriCorps event organizer Sarah Muskin said she was impressed by the turn-out.

"It was so great to see the community dedicated to protecting their watershed."

The Alpine Watershed Group is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect and enhance the natural system functions of Alpine County watersheds. For more information on upcoming restoration events, visit http://www.alpinewatershedgroup.org/ or contact Cheney at awg.snap.rm@gmail.com or (530) 694-2327.