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. One of the largest threats facing the Parkway today is invasive plants, non-native plants that cause some kind of harm to the surrounding environment. They 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.
Removing invasive plants allows our natural systems to flourish and prevents the loss of vital resources. It is also one of the single most impactful conservation investments you can make – with every dollar spent on early intervention saving $17 later. (The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” really rings true here!) That is why ARPF has managed invasive plants on the Parkway for over 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)
In 2019, 74600 invasive plants were removed from the Parkway.
How can you help? Join the Invasive Plant Patrol! Our Invasive Plant Patrol volunteers work throughout the Parkway to identify and remove invasive plants and help conserve rare riparian zones, endangered animals, and scenic views. Volunteers can adopt an area in need or act as a roving member helping out where needed. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to get involved.
Can’t join the Invasive Plant Patrol, but still want to help? Check out our calendar for regular invasive plant workdays.