A small crew of ForestWatch volunteers descended on an unnamed tributary of the Sespe late last month, continuing our on-going tamarisk eradication efforts in the area.
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.
There are more tamarisk still growing in this beautiful corner of the Los Padres, so we’ll be back soon! Huge thanks to our volunteers, and to UCSB’s Coastal Fund for supporting Los Padres ForestWatch’s 2014 volunteer work. For more information about ForestWatch’s volunteer projects or to get involved, visit LPFW.org/volunteer.