“Invasion in My Backyard: Managing Pests and Weeds to Benefit Fish“

The Santa Clara River riparian corridor is plagued with weeds and aquatic animals that overtake native fish habitat but steps to reverse that situation will be shown at a public program hosted by CalTrout on May 25 at 6:30pm at Patagonia (235 W. Santa Clara St., Ventura).   Non-native plants aggressively displace riparian vegetation resulting in disruption of the ecosystem and loss of other important indigenous species, such as insects and amphibians that are important to steelhead growth.  Invasive aquatic animals outcompete steelhead for available food sources as well as directly prey on the native fish eggs, larva and steelhead smolts. 

Santa Clara River Steelhead Coalition stakeholders; CalTrout, The Nature Conservancy, Stillwater Sciences and UC Santa Barbara RiVRLab are part of a collective effort to eradicate invasive plants which negatively impact the Southern California steelhead’s survival along the Santa Clara River and restore riparian habitat.  Arundo donax (Giant Reed) is targeted for eradication, and uses exponentially more water than native vegetation, as well as changes the local fire intensity and frequency. “Grant funding has been awarded to restore a large, contiguous native riparian zone along the River main stem from Santa Paula through Fillmore,” remarks Candice Meneghin, Southern California Conservation Program Manager, “and the final goal is to produce a long-term self-sustaining native freshwater ecosystem for the benefit of several species, and in particular, the steelhead population.”  This effort will restore 35-50 acres, saves 800 acre feet of water, and aims to connect and expand existing efforts on the lower Santa Clara River.

Program attendees can expect to come away with a better understanding of what non-native plant and animals are present, how they got here, and corrective steps that are being taken to remove them.  The program is an excellent opportunity for students, residents and advocates to learn from science-based, solutions-oriented professionals involved with environmental sustainability.

Water Talks are an ongoing series of informational and educational presentations which include local and regional speakers sharing their knowledge on a range of water related topics.  The programs is intended to increase informed participation in water policy through interaction between community members and experts.  All Water Talks are free, open to the public and hosted by the Santa Clara River Steelhead Coalition whose mission is to protect and restore wild Southern steelhead and its habitat in the Santa Clara River watershed. The Coalition is chaired and coordinated by California Trout, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring resilient wild fish in healthy waters for a better California.

For more information contact Nina Danza, California Trout Project Coordinator at ndanza@caltrout.org.

Volunteers removing Arundo Donax (photo credit: Nina Danza)

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3 Responses to “Invasion in My Backyard: Managing Pests and Weeds to Benefit Fish“

  1. William Hicks May 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Managing this invasive plant is not an option. Irradiation, although expensive and time consuming, is the only way to return these rivers to their original native plants. Although there is research on biological methods of control, they are a long way off from a proven control method. Realistically, this is a project than will take years of effort using all methods known to be effective, including chemical, mechanical and manual efforts.

    • William Hicks May 11, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      irradication, not irradiation.

  2. William Hicks May 10, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    My suggestion to the leaders of this program is to contact Monsanto. They have been very successful in the chemical removal of non-native plants in the Galapagos Islands. OR, they can waste their energy trying to remove Arundo donnax manually.


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