With the participation of students from UCHS’ AP environmental science classes, the organizations will work together to undertake invasive plant control in parts of the Rose Creek Watershed, including at UC High.
Students and volunteers alike will work over the next several years to remove non-native trees, like the eucalyptus around Genesee Avenue, as well as pampas grass. Not only will this work to increase the overall health of the native ecosystem, it can also decrease the risk of fire and flooding in creeks and canyons. Invasive plants actively displace the native plants and animals and increase risk factors for fires.
“Many of the trees are diseased and falling limbs have created a fire hazard,” said Kelly Makley, Rose Creek Watershed program manager. “So, over 1,000 eucalyptus trees, most just inches in diameter, will be removed on the north bank below UCHS.”
The invasive plants, Makley said, usually come from landscaped areas where they are planted on purpose.
“These plants then ‘escape’ and establish themselves in natural areas, growing so fast they crowd out native vegetation, block streams from flooding and produce so much biomass that they become a hazard,” she said.
Due to UCHS’s proximity to Rose Canyon, students will be assisting over the next several years.
“There will be semester projects involving data collection that will continue for other students that enroll in AP environmental science in the following years,” said teacher Tara Howell. “Each class will get a history lesson on the restoration project and what new research prospects they can contribute to the project.”
The unique opportunity for students also benefits the project.
“Friends of Rose Canyon is very excited about this project. We have worked for a number of years with UCHS teachers to provide programs that bring students into Rose Canyon,” said Deborah Knight, president of Friends of Rose Canyon. “This will expand on that work, and provide a hands-on experience for students to learn about native plant restoration.”
The public, too, can get involved — even by simply taking the time to learn which species are invasive.
“The best thing people can do is to review the ‘Don’t Plant a Pest’ brochure, survey their yards and make sure they are not harboring any of the invasive plants listed in the brochure — and to remove them, if they are,” Makley said. “Always keep an eye on new sprouts, as well.”
Residents can also help be the eyes and ears of Rose Canyon, helping to make sure others don’t use the open space improperly.
“Don’t litter in the canyons, pay attention to what’s being washed down the storm drains and keep an eye out for illegal dumping,” Howell said.
For volunteer opportunities or to learn how to get involved in the cleanup effort, visit www.rosecanyon.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (858) 597-0220.