Posted by: twotrees | February 28, 2012

Arundo conundrum

Last week the city of Ventura, in coordination with social services, PD and other agencies, began to seriously address the issue homelessness in the Ventura river bottom.  Using the invasive Arundo donax reed plant as a focal point, the city gave notice to local ‘Inhabitants’, then infiltrated the river bottom area around Highway 101.  These inhabitants are dozens of homeless people who had set up camp in the overgrown area of the river bottom.

Last Thursday, workers infiltrated the area to make sure that the outdoorsmen had moved, then attacked the Arundo with mechanized equipment, decapitating the up to 15’ plants in a phase one endeavor to eliminate it from the area.  The plant, a non-native rhizome type of cane, is native to Asia but has been staking a claim on moist riverbed areas throughout California.  It’s a formidable pest.

My next door neighbor Jim told me years ago, just before he passed, that it will be a big problem in our area if left unchecked.  His forecast was on the mark – hundreds of thousands of dollars are now being earmarked to eradicate the plant locally in the future.  First step is to knock it down with machinery or by hand, then, after new shoots start again, to apply herbicide to kill the plant.  In a riverbed, this is taking one step backwards to move one step forward. 

The people who were living in the thicket had to move.  So most packed up and relocated further upstream in the river valley, taking their belongings and finding a new spot to settle.  Many left items behind, including dozens of gas canisters, among many other items.  

In a community that prides itself on its environmental interests, the Ventura river bottom is a pock mark.  Prior to this effort, service agencies and the city have mainly applied topical ointment on this wound, using CLU student cleanup events to do housekeeping for the ‘residents’ but finding no long term solutions to rid the area of interlopers.  This marks a new era – let’s see where it leads us…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: