A crew of ForestWatch volunteers braved some foul weather this past weekend to remove tamarisk from the Rancho Nuevo watershed.
Twelve hearty souls spent several hours on the edge of the Dick Smith Wilderness uprooting the invasive plants from at-times muddy locations. (Those spots were assigned to the youth volunteers, who took to their assignments with great enthusiasm!)
Tamarisk was sold as an ornamental and windbreak plant in the 1800s and 1900s. Mature tamarisk trees can produce millions of tiny seeds that easily disperse through wind and water, and these seeds quickly escaped from gardens and started taking over the banks of streams and rivers. Tamarisk grows rapidly and can reach heights of twenty feet, and its taproot can extend more than one hundred feet underground.
The plant provides poor habitat for native bird species, smothers native willows and other plants, and consumes large amounts of water from adjacent streams, leaving greatly-reduced water supplies for fish and wildlife. It has been discovered throughout the Los Padres National Forest, and an advance team of LPFW volunteers surveyed the Rancho Nuevo drainage in January and discovered well over 200 specimens, so a series of projects along Rancho Nuevo are planned … this was only the beginning!
For more information about ForestWatch’s volunteer projects or to get involved, visit LPFW.org/volunteer.