October 6, 2014
Highlights and Sticky Notes:It towers to the treetops, collapsing onto itself to create grassy caves. Dense and aggressive, it chokes out vegetation and clogs the waterways.
Arundo donax has plagued parts of Chico for years but its established concentration in Little Chico Creek has reached a crisis point, critics say.
Now, the city is partnering with the state Department of Water Resources and the geography department at Chico State University to do something about it, although tackling the invasive weed to the point of eradication will take years.The reasoning for its eradication is both environmental and also because of its immense fire danger. Walking through a stretch of Little Chico Creek this week, Chico State professor Mark Stemen ducked under the thick canopy and used caution as he walked on slick carpets of the snapped-off reed.He noted where homeless people have made sleeping spaces under Arundo canopies. Fire pits stand out charred and black in the middle of the caves.Councilor Randall Stone is also advocating for action and requesting the council take up the matter Tuesday.Susan Mason with the California Native Plant Society said it was never as bad in those locations as now in Little Chico Creek.On Saturday, Stemen and a group of students mapped 45 different locations, ranging from a single plant to a solid bank the length of a football field. In total, they identified 2,702 feet of stream infestation in Little Chico Creek.The city also hopes to address Arundo on its own parcels, making them models and educating plants on other landowners' property, perhaps with the help of Butte Environmental Council.Tags: BEC, chico, water, weed, creek, fire, arundoby: rdifalco