Recently, Partners In Conservation, PIC, and Virgin Valley High School FFA students did maintenance and clean-up work at the City of Mesquite’s mitigation site, just south of Hughes Middle School.

These tasks were approved by the City of Mesquite and included removing invasive weeds, picking up trash, cleaning up trails, and trimming–plus widening the foot path at the western edge of the site.

“Our FFA classes have worked with PIC and the City of Mesquite for the past 5-6 years removing tamarisks, collecting data such as soil types and temperatures, performing monitoring tasks, and many other duties,” said Jeri Benell, FFA Advisor.

“The partnership has been so beneficial for our students,” she continued, “as it offers them hands-on experience and real-world application of the many conservation and agricultural lessons they learn in class.  The National FFA has placed an emphasis on conservation in the past several years as so many careers are available in conservation now.  We really appreciate the City letting the mitigation site serve as a learning laboratory for the students.”

Elise McAllister, Administrator for PIC added, “While the entire community has always been so supportive of the work at the mitigation site, we have been particularly proud of the work the youth have done—from scouts to high school students to church groups to the entire FFA dept., much of the work at the mitigation site has been done by this valley’s youth.”

All the requirements to complete mitigation work at the site were finished in 2018 and the City requested a final maintenance ‘sweep’ so that the natural area could be fully enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.  Besides trimming paths and removing weeds, one other task is noticeably apparent–the placement of several signs along the trails.

“The City wanted several signs to remind folks to be safe and respectful while enjoying such a natural area,” McAllister said.  “Safety because run-offs and erosion occur all the time and the smallest weather event upstream can create flooding and swift water in the Mesquite area, so the public is advised to be careful and proceed slowly as conditions on site will ALWAYS change.”

“Sharing the trails, packing out empty water bottles or snack wrappers, and picking up after our pets are all easy things to do and will help keep this area enjoyable for years to come.”  She added, “it really is a rare gem in the middle of the Mojave Desert, to have such access to a naturally thriving riparian ecosystem and free-flowing river—what better place for a quick evening hike or a fun ride along the ATV trail.  Be Safe, Share the Trails, and Enjoy!”