Montclair Park Update: How Local, Community-based Habitat Restoration Volunteers Heal Our Parks and Save our City $$. Tuesday, January 24, 2012.

The city crews came through this week, weed-whacking the area above the tennis court and the picnic area as they periodically do. And here is a brilliant example of why local, community-based restoration volunteers are a vital part of a healthy community, and of a healthy ecosystem:

This plant you see here is French broom. It is not a bad plant; it is just far, far away from the natural context in which it evolved, and thus far away from any natural controls on its unchecked expansion across our own beautiful California landscape. So much so that in a very short time it has choked off native trees, flowering shrubs, and bunchgrass prairies throughout untold acres of the East Bay Hills Ecosystem, including right here in many parkland areas within the Sausal Creek and Temescal watersheds.

And part of the reason this plant is so successful in conquering and holding ground is this: it crown-sprouts. Meaning that if you weed-whack it, what was initially a single, slender stem, with roots easily removable by a community volunteer with two minutes’ training in use of a weed wrench, instead becomes a multi-headed Hydra that will send up dozens of stems in place of one and will grow a thick, knotted root crown that is vastly harder to deal with the next time, and the time after that. Meaning needless time and labor cost to the City in a time of ever-tighter budgets; and, even worse, persistent patches of invasive, weedy, and often dangerously flammable vegetation in our public spaces.

The plant pictured above is already such a Hydra, born of a previous weed-whacking, and destined to sprout again forever unless something different is done. As is the nearby thicket of French broom pictured here below, were it to be cleared in similar fashion. You can take a chainsaw to this, and in an astoundingly short time it will be back and much, much harder to remove:

Now fortunately, the City has so far (as of Tuesday evening) only weed-whacked the area just above the picnic area and tennis court, something they have often done before and shall doubtless repeat again. And they are not to be faulted for this; they haven’t the time nor the budget to restore these areas in a way that will last and so are clearly focusing on maintaining buffer strips of cleared ground in the areas of highest concern for public safety. But there is an alternative, one that does last, and it is to be found here in Redwood Park…

…and along the Bridgeview Trail in Dimond Canyon…

…and along the Montclair Railroad Trail…

…and in Beaconsfield Canyon, the wild declivity between Ascot and Chelton in Montclair…

…and quite possibly, soon, here:

post in progress 24/25 jan ’12

This entry was posted in Montclair Park Restoration Project, Sausal Creek Watershed. Bookmark the permalink.

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