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Efforts Under Way to Remove Invasive Plant

March 15, 2011

The Placer Sierra Fire Safe Council is participating in a region-wide program to help eradicate a non-native plant, the Scotch Broom. The invasive plant, introduced in the mid-1800s, is hearty and excellent for erosion control. However, those same traits also make it a fire hazard and difficult to eradicate.

The Scotch Broom Challenge was started by the efforts the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County and is a cooperative effort by local groups and agencies to encourage local landowners, businesses, organizations and agencies to help remove the plant. There will be two days when work parties gather in Placer County communities to help remove the plant.

The first, sponsored by the Placer Land Trust, will be at the Canyon View Preserve just off Hwy 80 at the Bowman exit in Auburn on Sat., April 2. The second event will be in the town of Dutch Flat on Sat., April 30 and is sponsored by the Placer Sierra Fire Safe Council.

Chair of the Placer Sierra Fire Safe Council, Karina Silvas-Bellanca, emphasized that Scotch Broom is an extremely invasive plant that decreases native plant diversity and is a fire hazard for our communities. “This is the first of many projects in the Placer Sierra Fire Safe Council’s area to eradicate this plant, and re-establish native and fire adapted plants. Collaboration will be key to making this program a success in Placer County. We hope to get all of the Placer County Fire Safe Council’s involved in this effort.”

Placer County has significant stands of Scotch Broom, which are impenetrable to wildlife, choke out native plants and grasses. They also create a dangerous fire hazard. There are about 600,000 acres infested with the invasive plant in California.

The plant is considered a pest because:

  • It is highly flammable;
  • Displaces native and beneficial vegetation;
  • Slows forest production;
  • Forms dense stands that impede wildlife and livestock:
  • Degrades wildlife habitat;
  • Is toxic to humans, horses, and livestock;
  • Its seeds can live in the seedbank for over 80 years;
  • One shrub can produce up to 15,000 after two years of growth;
  • Seeds can be transported by animals, humans, water, and vehicles; and
  • It can tolerate a wide range of environmental and soil conditions.

For additional information on the April 2 event, contact Erin Tarr, 530-887-9222. For the April 30 event, contact the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County 530-272-1122 or email placersierrafsc@gmail.com.

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