With over 40 species of fish, hundreds of plant species, and 220 species of mammals the American River Parkway is an important natural oasis in our growing metropolitan area. From iconic Valley Oaks to endangered Salmon the Parkway contains some of the last remnants of our Great Valley. One of the largest threats facing the park today is invasive plants. Invasive Plants are non-native plants that cause some kind of harm to the surrounding environment. These undesirable species affect the Parkway in a variety of ways including:
- Increase soil erosion and can cause major damage to streams and other wetland areas that provide habitat for native fish, plants, and animals.
- Increase the frequency and risk of wildfires.
- Decrease biodiversity.
- Put endangered and threatened species at further risk. In fact, invasive species are the second leading cause of animal population decline and extinction worldwide.
- Displace native plants that wildlife and fish depend on for food.
- Decrease flood conveyance, increasing flood risk to surrounding areas.
The phrase ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is particularly true of invasive plant management. It is one of the single most impactful conservation investments you can make – with every dollar spent on early intervention saving $17 later. Removing invasive plants allows our natural systems to flourish and prevents the loss of vital resources. This is why ARPF has managed invasive plants on the Parkway for close to 15 years.
Invasive plants removed from the Parkway include:
- Red sesbania (Sesbania punicea)
- Spanish broom, French broom, and Scotch broom (Spartium junceum & Genista monspessulana)
- Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana)
- Yellow star thistle (Centaurea solstitalis)
- Chinese tallow (Sapium sebiferum)
- Giant reed (Arundo donax)
- Pyracantha (Pyracantha sp)
- Stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens)
How can you help? Join the Invasive Plant Patrol. As a volunteer, you will help conserve rare riparian zones, endangered animals, and scenic views. Our Invasive Plant Patrol volunteers work across the Parkway to identify and remove invasive plants. Volunteers can adopt an area in need or act as a roving member helping out where needed.
If you cannot make this commitment, you can still help. Check out our calendar for regular invasive plant workdays.