In a worst case scenario, it could someday be known as the "grass that devastated the Sonoran Desert" - but you have an opportunity to help stop it.

The fifth annual Beat Back Buffelgrass Day will bring together hundreds of volunteers Saturday to do battle with the invasive grass.

"Last year we had 571 people take part at 18 sites," said Lindy Brigham, executive director of the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center. "This year, we'd like to see at least 700 people out there."

Buffelgrass has spread over vast expanses of public and private land - taking over terrain needed by native species and providing fuel for raging fires.

"It makes a continuous fire source that allows fire to spread where it would not spread before," Brigham said. "Native plants are destroyed, but buffelgrass is used to fire and comes back stronger."

Brigham said members of the public may register on the coordination center's website - - to help dig up and bag grass at any of 18 to 20 sites in the Tucson area.

Members of the University of Arizona softball team will join in the effort - helping remove buffelgrass on Tucson International Airport land.

how to take part

• What: Fifth annual Beat Back Buffelgrass Day. Volunteers will dig up invasive buffelgrass and bag it for removal to a landfill.

• When: 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

• Where: Grass will be removed at 18 or more sites in the Tucson area.

• What to wear: sturdy boots or shoes, long pants, long sleeves and sun protection.

• Register: Go to to choose a site and register to work.

grass removal sites

Here are sites where volunteers will remove buffelgrass Saturday:

• San Juan Natural Desert Park

• "A" Mountain/Sentinel Peak

• Airport Corridor - Irvington Road and Benson Highway

• Skyline Drive area

• Brown Mountain

• Colossal Cave Mountain Park

• Esperero Canyon

• Green Valley area

• Kennedy Park

• Rio Vista Park

• Saguaro National Park West District - King Canyon

• Samos Neighborhood

• Sycamore Canyon

• Town of Marana - River Walk

• Town of Oro Valley - Naranja Townsite Park

• Town of Sahuarita - West Duval Road Site

• Irvington and Pantano area

• Tucson International Airport

Did You Know?

Buffelgrass is an African species introduced into the United States in the early 1900s to control erosion and feed cattle. Buffelgrass is fast-growing, highly flammable and potentially devastating to the desert ecosystem.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at or at 573-4192.