FEATURED COMMITTEE: Habitat Restoration

By Bob Byrnes, Co-Chairperson, Habitat Restoration Committee

CNPS-SD has decided to feature one of our committees each month to shine a light on our many and diverse activities. This month we feature the Habitat Restoration committee.

The goals of the CNPS-SD Invasive Plant Group include: (1) restoring native open space by controlling competing non-native and invasive species, (2) teaching people the skills and knowledge to be able to carry out restoration, (3) developing a regional network of partners to further our efforts, and (4) sharing and exchanging knowledge to further our purpose.

The chapter has developed a group of volunteers who work to control non-native invasive species through hands-on training as a way of restoring native habitat.

Following is a brief report by Bob Byrnes of work completed during June and July 2017 at Lusardi Creek. Perhaps you would like to help. If so, contact Bob Byrnes at Bob.Byrnes@cnpssd.org .

Week of June 19: Last week we treated artichoke thistle and tamarisk. Melissa, our newest member, was a great help. The red-tailed hawks in their nest on the pylon supporting the power lines seem to dominate the skies whenever we work underneath. They are quite majestic, flying to and from their nest, and sometimes soaring, just for fun, it seems.

Week of June 26: We continue to make inroads against invasive plants at Lusardi Creek. We have finished up nearly all the remaining artichoke thistle that is doable. On Friday, two park rangers, Byron and Rob, teamed up with the Alpha Project and myself to cut down a sizable number of tamarisk. The next day, Melissa and I cleared out many more.

Tamarisk, palms, and acacia remain to be removed. It's interesting to note that one of the large acacias at the plank crossing the creek at the east end has a nest of bees in the base. Arne Johanson has been trying to kill this tree for years but there is still some green on it. With the presence of bees, it looks like it will remain alive for a while longer.

Speaking of bees, yesterday Melissa and I were standing at my car at the end of the day when one stung me on the ear. It wasn't very painful, but by the time I got home, my ear had swollen a bit. My wife commented that it made me look like a Vulcan. "Live long and prosper" is my motto.

Week of July 3: We continue to make inroads against the tamarisk infesting Lusardi Creek.

Week of July 10: We had to cut short last week's efforts because of record heat. Nonetheless, we accomplished a considerable reduction in the number of tamarisk trees in the creek. One area, at the gate for the crossing to the other side of the creek, is looking the best I have ever seen it.

This week, our efforts are focused on -- you guessed it -- tamarisk. It should be a bit cooler. I expect to be working on dry land out in the open air, rather than in the water, so there also should be some air movement, at least. As always, we adjust our activity according to the weather.

We will continue to provide periodic reports of the work Arne and Bob’s volunteer team are making to restore native habitat.