SAWPA has been working in conjunction with its partners, primarily the Santa Ana Watershed Association (SAWPA) and Riverside County Park and Open Space District, toward the goal of eliminating invasive cane, Arundo donax (Arundo) from the watershed and replacing it with native riparian vegetation. Thus Far, 3,000 acres of Arundo was removed an replaced with native habitat, providing approximately 10,000 AF/year of new water to the region. Arundo Brochure
SAWPA has funded Arundo removal and habitat restoration projects throughout the watershed using funds from Propositions 13, 50 and 84. Partnering agencies have successfully used additional funding sources to ensure the program’s success. SAWPA, as part of the Proposition 13, effort purchased 100 acres of Arundo mitigation credits. The sale of these credit provides on-going funding to maintain the habitat and ensure the water benefit to the Santa Ana River Watershed.
Arundo was brought to the region for erosion control and as a forage crop for livestock. The large root structures and the rapid growth pattern of Arundo result in the plant using more than three times the water as native vegetation. The large root structures and segments of Arundo “cane” also provide the means of vegetative reproduction that allowed the plant to at one time infest approximately 10,000 acres of the Santa Ana Watershed. Since that time, through cooperative programs, including the SAWPA Arundo removal program, nearly 40% of the standing Arundo in the watershed has been removed and is being replaced with native riparian or wetland vegetation.
Large stands of Arundo, growing up to 30 feet in height, have limited wildlife habitat value and often shade out desired species. The tall Arundo plants also break easily during flood flows and unlike native vegetation, are likely to form large debris dams that threaten infrastructure and property. Finally, tall stands of senescent Arundo are a significant fire risk and have resulted in large fires in the river corridor. These fires may damage property along the river and carry fires log distances through the watershed.
For further information about this project, please contact Jeff Beehler
Email: First name initial last name @sawpa.org