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Home > Feature Articles > Landscaping

Arundo and Other Invasive Weeds Destroying Native Habitat

Ventura County battles invasive plants during Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration project

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grass native species Invasive weeds destroy native habitat, which in turn, stress wildlife that depend on their specific foods (based on genetic need), for habitats needed for reproduction and water availability for health.

The Ventura County Watershed Protection District is fighting an invasion of "arundo", a giant cane that clogs riverbeds, poses a significant fire risk and chokes native plant growth in local habitats.

Crews will spray herbicide on dense thickets of the giant reed infesting 208 acres of flood plain along the Matilija Creek and Ventura River.

The herbicide glyphosate, which breaks down quickly and is approved for use in water, will be used to kill the invasive plants, said Pam Lindsay, a watershed ecologist with the district. Glyphosate, which is sold under brand names Roundup and Aquamaster, blocks the plant's ability to grow by disrupting protein production. Plants close to water or homes will be cut by hand, then daubed with concentrated herbicide.

This massive eradication program will also remove other invasive species including tamarisk, the yellow-flowering Scotch broom, Peruvian pepper trees and castor bean — also will be sprayed and removed.

Six sampling sites will be set up to monitor the water for contamination along the entire project area

Spraying will not be conducted on windy days or before a forecasted rainstorm

As required by state and federal regulations, the area was surveyed this week and determined to be clear of endangered red-legged frogs. Monitoring is also ongoing for steelhead trout.

Nature's Image of Forest Lake was awarded a $3.5 million contract to spray and remove the weeds.

The project is part of the larger Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration that will eventually remove the 60-year-old dam and replenish the habitat of native plants and animals in the watershed. The dam's removal will allow sediment to flow once more to the beach, which has eroded since the structure was built.

Read the SOURCE story at: Ventura County Star

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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