Friday, May 15, 2015

BOOBAM ON THE DAM- Friends of the Noxubee Refuge

Some years ago as the wife and I were on the way to be spooks in a “haunted house” the subject of the bamboo at the old house came up in the conservation. Try as she could, the wife kept saying boobam instead of bamboo. This started the giggles which of course made saying bamboo instead of boobam almost impossible. Notwithstanding, the term refers to tuned bongos constructed of natural bamboo and was described as bamboo spelled sideways by the beatniks of California from long ago. However, the problems with bamboo can go way beyond proper pronunciation and bongo playing musicians as the staff at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee NWR well know.

Bamboo is the largest member of the grass family and is also
categorized as an invasive exotic plant. Bamboo grows particularly vigorously in low lying wet areas and the North and East levees of Bluff Lake are perfect areas. Giant bamboo was planted along the levee years ago for erosion control and then quickly began to crowd out the native plants and threaten the area’s biodiversity. Bamboo plants grow fast with certain species growing almost three feet per day, and they spread by rhizomes just as fast. Even though these rhizomes do not directly damage the levee, no one wants these invasive exotic bamboo roots creeping in. So began the staff’s eradication program to take out the bamboo.

The Staff at the refuge have been steadily working for the past three years to take out one particular patch on the Bluff Lake levee. This past summer the YCC crew cut and removed many loads of the bamboo from this patch. Then the area was cleared and sprayed with herbicide in an attempt to further eliminate it completely. But, according to Andrea Dunstan, it is sprouting back in a few places and so the battle is still ongoing.

So, if you see some bamboo around the lake, know that it is not there for you to make a homemade fishing pole nor even for a set of bongos but as a testament to one of the most difficult of the invasive plants to eradicate. As such, an appropriate expletive could become “boobam on the dam”.

Tom L. Gregory