Summertime … and the work parties are easy. That is because Nature’s spring frenzy is waning and we’ve had so many enthusiastic volunteers helping out at Point Isabel.
In July, we welcomed another extraordinary group of teachers-in-training from CorePower Yoga. The crew set to work clearing weeds from a new site that will be planted this coming winter. This area will become a butterfly habitat for the Anise Swallowtail and Monarch. The area was covered in oat grass and other weeds but the CorePower Yoga volunteers were unfazed and when the day was over the whole area was transformed and ready for mulching. We never cease to be amazed at how much work they get done in just a few hours.
In July and August we were finally able to turn our attention to the invasion of Algerian lavender (Limonium ramosissimum) along a berm jutting into the marsh as well as throughout a large section of Hoffman marsh itself. The entire stretch of the berm (earth covering a waste water pipe) was invaded by this lavender, but after multiple weed pulling efforts with stewards and core volunteers, and with many thanks to the leadership of core volunteer Nancy (who worked day after day removing the plants), it is now cleared of all visible traces of it. We previously eliminated the Russian thistle (Salsola soda) from this berm and the land now looks like a “marsh sunbeam” with marsh gumplant (Grindelia stricta) blooming along its entire length.
Tracking the tides, we scheduled numerous work parties within Hoffman marsh and removed massive swaths of Algerian lavender that were choking the sea lavender (Limonium californicum), pickleweed (Salicornia pacifica), and other California native marsh plants. Thanks go to Laura, Sue, Gudrun, Nancy, Jeff and Karen for helping us with this effort. The sea lavender is now breathing easier and rewarding bees and butterflies with its clusters of beautiful lavender flowers blooming throughout the marsh. Algerian lavender will undoubtedly re-appear but we have it under control at last and will continue removing it as it emerges.
Special thanks to East Bay CNPS member Gregg Weber for coming out to Point Isabel and identifying a couple of plants that had suddenly shown up along a newly cleared section of the trail. Gregg ID’d both of them as California native plants. One is coast tarweed (Madia sativa) and the other is Canada horseweed (Erigeron canadensis).
Thanks as always to stewards Margot, Ivy, and Lewis and to core volunteers John and Rob for their unceasing work to protect and enhance the habitat at Point Isabel. And to our EBRPD ranger Bruce for the tremendous support he gives us.
Jane and Tom Kelly