Promoting Stewardship, Preserving Biodiversity

by Frank Wallace
Project Director, Sacramento Weed Warriors

The American River Parkway and riparian areas along creeks throughout Sacramento are being invaded. The invaders are non-native plants, such as red sesbania, Spanish broom, arundo (giant reed), yellow star thistle, Chinese tallow tree, pampas grass, and others. So what’s wrong with these plants that have come from distant parts of the world? Why not let “nature” take its course?

    Red Sesbania
    Yellow Star Thistle             Red Sesbania

Unfortunately, these non-native plants have been brought to Sacramento by actions of man, not by “mother nature”. In their native environments, insects, animals, disease, soils and weather all combine to limit their growth. In our environment, because of their adaptability, these non-native plants are able to out-compete young willows, sycamores, cotton woods, oaks and native shrubs and grasses for water, soil nutrients and sunlight.

So what are we doing about this invasion? Since May 2001, the Sacramento Weed Warriors (SWW) project, under the leadership of the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, with support from the Sacremento Urban Creeks Council and the Americen River Parkway Foundation, has been implementing a community-based invasive weed eradication initiative. Environmental organizations, government agencies, schools, community groups, and businesses are supporting this initiative and have been encouraging their members to participate.

We need more volunteers. This war on invasive weeds will be successful only if we are able to expand our community-wide campaign. Throughout the year, SWW conducts an invasive plant removal work group on the first Saturday of the month. SWW provides all the necessary tools, gloves, and even extra water. Visit the CNPS website for more details at or call Frank Wallace (contact information below).

Equally important, SWW needs interested individuals who can assist with outreach activities. We will be organizing a team of outreach coordinators who can communicate with interested organizations about the negative impacts caused by invasive non-native plants and the SWW projects. If you would like to get involved, please contact Frank Wallace, SWW Project Direcor, at 427-5694 or email

This article originally appeared in our Summer 2004 Newsletter

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