To Our Ojai Community:

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we recover from the damage from the Thomas Fire on our trails. In the coming months trails will likely open and close depending on rain and changing trail conditions. Click here for current information and trail notifications »

Drought, flooding and fires

Water
Arundo is a voracious water consumer – utilizing 3-6 times more water than native plants. Large stands, like those found along San Antonio Creek, are capable of drying up local streams and depleting underground aquifers. The OVLC’s project will remove approximately 23 acres of Arundo – which according to the California Invasive Plant Council, will result in the savings of 460 acre feet of water per years. This is the amount of water used by 920 average households in one year!

More information – Arundo and Water Consumption

Fire
Arundo is highly flammable (even when green). It creates a high volume of burnable biomass and effectively conveys fire across stream corridors that would otherwise serve as natural fire buffers. Fires frequently ignite in areas with large Arundo populations, with most of these starting in areas with homeless camps. Riparian zones that have Arundo burn hotter than native stream habitats, often killing the native vegetation. Following fires, Arundo’s growth rate tends to result in expanding populations.

More Information – Arundo and Fire

I can confidently state that the Arundo removal on our property by the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy saved our home from burning this year during the Thomas fires. If it had not been completed, it is very likely that we would not have our home standing today.

It created a defensible space that allowed the firefighters to protect our home. Over the past nearly 15 years, we have not been successful in personally winning the battle against this aggressively invasive plant with our own limited removal attempts.

I hold a bachelor’s degree in biology and am solidly in favor of being good stewards of our land in an environmentally conscious way. That being said, this invasive species problem is one that we created by introducing this non-native plant into our local ecosystem. I don’t know anyone who is in favor of introducing poisons into our land, but this appears to be the only effective method for removing this problem we created and in the long run is a small price that I am willing to pay in order to allow the native flora and fauna a chance to recapture this natural habitat.

I fully support the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s efforts in removing this plant. The reality of the current state is that the process has already begun and needs to be followed through to completion so that the desired result is achieved. We can’t take back the poison that has already been applied, but the limited amount that is needed ongoing to eradicate the remaining amounts left in the already cleared areas is minimal in comparison.

The native plants are already beginning to flourish again in areas that were choked out formally by the Arundo. This is very exciting to watch.

To halt the process now would be ill-advised since we have already accomplished and gained so much ground in this battle.

– Keith and Ruth Brooks

Flooding and Stream Channel Impacts
High stream flows are capable of transporting large amounts of Arundo cane biomass that cause debris dams in channels and can accumulate at bridges and culverts causing substantial damage and flooding. Live Arundo on the active floodplain also blocks flow and can lead to both flooding and alterations of river channel morphology as water velocities rise and flows are diverted.

More Information – Arundo and Flooding / Hydrology and Geomorphology

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