Battle raging in Placer against pesky South America plant import

Robert Ross of Fuentes Lake and Pond Management shovels invasive pond plants into a boom before collection and removal. Gus Thomson/Auburn Journal photo

As reported in the Auburn Journal, a plant imported from South America is causing problems for Placer streams and ponds.

When parrot’s feather plant takes hold, it’s hard for it to let go

By: Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal

There’s a battle brewing near you.

The front lines are the ponds and rivers of Placer County.

The enemy is an invasive plant with the innocent-sounding name of parrot’s feather.

But don’t be fooled by the name. The flowering water plant imported from South America threatens to take over ponds and streams, choking out fish and native plants.

On a recent morning, Fuentes Lake and Pond Management of Loomis established the latest beach-head at a property off Mount Vernon Road traversed by North Ravine.

With funding from the Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead conservation group, two Fuentes employees waded into a dammed-up area of the stream and worked to gather more of the parrot’s-feather plant – a beautiful but pesky import from the Amazon River region that clogs up waterways throughout the world.

Robert Hane, North Ravine coordinator for the Save Auburn Ravine group, oversaw the work on stopping the invasion before it reached the larger Auburn Ravine confluence of the two streams in Ophir.

“The more it grows, the less the water flows,” Hane said. “We’re trying to keep it from getting into Auburn Ravine.”

Ernesto Fuentes, owner of Fuentes Lake and Pond, said parrot’s feather is popular for indoor and outdoor aquatic use because of its beauty and ease of planting.

But once it takes hold, it becomes more nuisance than beauty.

“It’s a common weed but one of the most difficult ones to control,” Fuentes said.

An invasion means action against it that includes a mass removal of the plant from the water. Fuentes pointed to piles of the plant drying in the morning sun at the rural Auburn location. Within two weeks, the heat and sun will have dried out the plant and it will find some use as compost or mulch.

“Just don’t put it back in the river,” Fuentes said.

The conservation group is also working on a spillway at the property that will allow fish year-round passage farther upstream, Hane said. The North Ravine runs about 4 miles from North Auburn to Wise Road. The Auburn-based non-profit has coordinated clearing of about 1.5 miles of the stream, he said.

“If you have this weed in your pond, you need to start getting rid of it because it’s not good for the fish,” Hane said.

 

Read the full story on the Journal web site

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