Members of the Tucson Cactus & Succulent Society have been out at the Rosemont Copper mine site in the Santa Rita Mountains for the past two weekends, collecting cacti from two 5-acre tracts where the University of Arizona is about to begin full blown field tests of re-vegetation plots. The two plots will be cleared and planted with a variety of grasses and other native plants that were chosen based on a two-year study of what plants will be most effective in the proposed mine's reclamation plan. The test plots are at high and low elevations in the project area and on different substrata. The higher elevation plot should be visible from Highway 83 [right, view of the mine area from Mile Post 44. Credit, Augusta Resources]
The first weekend, 80 people showed up for the plant rescue effort. A much smaller group was out last weekend. But when word of the clearing plans for the two test plots circulated, some mine opponents feared Rosemont was starting mining operations without approval, and they alerted local news media. Watch for a story in the Arizona Star.