The city of Encinitas has decided to form a citizen's panel in addition to the Blue Ribbon Environmental Committee, to devise a plan and method to control invasive plant species.
Sounds dumb at first, right? It would be impossible to regulate non-native plant species in sprawling Encinitas. Our streets are lined with Australian eucalyptus (which I would like to see eventually replaced with California oaks) and other non-native trees. Heck, the beloved poinsettia is non-native.
But non-native and invasive plants are two different things. Invasive plants are basically weeds that can get out of control and take over, slurping up all the water, becoming fire hazards and dominating the increasingly rare native California plant species.
The city recommends banning the razor sharp leaves and itchy pollen of pampus grass from city properties.
The San Diego Union Tribune article by Angela Lua makes this story seems controversial, but is it really? link
From the article:
The 2002 Blue Ribbon Committee suggested, among other things, banning non-native plants on city property and requiring new residential and commercial developments to avoid using them. It also suggested eradicating pampas grass and arundo from city properties.
Besides pampas grass and arundo, the Blue Ribbon committee also listed acacia, giant reed, ice plant, wild fennel, perennial pepperweed, myoporum, castor bean, Brazilian and Peruvian pepper tree, and tamarisk/salt cedar as commonly found invasive plants in Encinitas.
Councilman Dan Dalager cast the only dissenting vote in this latest anti-invasive plant effort. He said the city doesn't need to set up a bureaucracy to regulate what people grow in their yards because city staffers already do a good job of keeping invasive plants out of developments that are near wildlife habitats.
“Talk about a regulatory nightmare,” Dalager said. “You have a whole code enforcement section walking up to little old ladies' doors to tell them rip this out and rip that out. It seems like a nice path to go down, but it's an infringement (on privacy). I have no problem at all with a program of education.”
Houlihan became concerned when she saw that a Cardiff revitalization plan contained invasive plants in its landscaping recommendations. That plan is being revised after numerous Cardiff residents told the council they were unhappy with many of the plan's recommendations.
I have to agree with Dalager in that trying to regulate what people plant in the gardens may be impossible and contains some Big Brother issues (you old hippy residents and your 2 or 3 wilting pot plants had better watch out). However, I think it's a good idea for the city to try and keep invasive plants out of places like Cottonwood Creek.
Big clumps of arundo have been growing down at Swami's and Beacon's beaches for over 30 years. They seem harmless to me at these locations. Besides creating shelter for bums and drug addicts that might even be stabilizing the bluffs. But, we don't want arundo in the creeks or wetlands where they could grow out of control.
Notice the large patch of vegetation at the base of the bluff at Beacon's beach. The surf spot in front of this patch is named "Bamboo's" after it, but I don't think that is actually bamboo growing there. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that is arundo or giant reed grass.
The NCTD controlled zone in Leucadia is a mecca for dirt and weeds (mostly dirt). Are there invasive plants growing here and would a city ordinance even apply to this depressing area?
Leucadia Blvd and the coast highway are blighted by non-native invasive orange sandbags.
More info on invasive plant species at The United States National Arboretum website.
California Invasive Plant Council