Sahara Mustard & Volutaria Eradication Task Force


Last updated 4/6/2017 at 2:44am

The fifth Sahara Mustard & Volutaria Eradication Task Force meeting of the will be held 1:00 PM on Wednesday, April 12 at the Desert Research Center.

The minutes for March 2017 meeting can be found below:-

Invasive Task Force Meeting March 1, 2017

Present: Gina Moran, Pat Matthews, Sicco Rood, Jim Dice, Sam Webb, Briana Puzzo, Chris McDonald, Kathy Bussey, Richard Gleaves (guest), Mason Hyland, Joe Woods, Ramona Robison (by phone)

Jim Dice – Mustard was seen and pulled at Texas Dip, DiGiorgio Road and Hawk watch Hill. All volunteer hours spent on Volutaria (V) or Sahara Mustard (SM) should be tracked and submitted to Jim Dice monthly.

Mason Hyland – Said that the Park’s focus will be on Volutaria (V) this year because it is still an achievable goal to eradicate it. Sahara Mustard (SM) will still be worked on but Volutaria will be the priority. The Park is conducting weekly weeding for the public through the end of the month. A group of volunteers from the Sierra Club worked in Borrego Palm Canyon. V was seen in Little Baja (400 plants). His team is using GPS to record survey areas and findings on maps. The maps will be used to identify any gaps in the survey areas and use Alternative Spring Break volunteers to fill in where needed. They hope to re-survey areas every month. The Park has submitted invasive species articles to the Borrego Sun and The Bridge volunteer newsletter. State Parks staff pulled Sahara Mustard near Plum Canyon.

Sam Webb – stated that he’d like to see an equal split in effort between V and SM. Congratulated Sicco Rood for creating a beautiful and effective Invasive Task Force website within the Research Center’s site.

Chris McDonald – The spread of V is still seen as manageable if work is done. V grows more densely, needs less rain, and is more aggressive than SM. His “weed scientist” opinion is to focus on Volutaria but keep prioritized “mustard free” zones. Said SM will never completely go away without a bio control.

Pat Matthews – (representing CALIPC) Helping with Wednesday Weed Walks. Reported that the County has been spraying road sides. She is now working on Right of Entry on Borrego Water District and private properties. Volunteers removed 15,000 Volutaria plants. V should be double bagged when buds are seen. Work parties are planned for the next two Saturdays (March 4 and 11) from 8am-12pm meeting at Ave Nordeste.

Ramona – Said they’re creating a Google Earth file so everyone can see the locations of V that have been recorded. Would like to determine the boundaries (northern, Southern, Eastern and Western) where V has been seen. Asked if Parks has done regional surveillance along Hwy S22. Parks surveyed along Rockhouse Canyon Road and Clark Dry Lake. Unknown areas include the Borrego Sink and east of Borrego Valley Road between Palm Canyon and Henderson Canyon roads.

Chris – Said that V seeds can remain viable for 3-7 years. Chris reminded everyone that now is the time for public events and establishing where V plants are located because it can be easily found now, before everything turns brown. Chris is giving a public talk tonight (March 1) on SM and V. Plans to contact the Agricultural Commissioner and grower agencies in Imperial Valley to put them on V watch. He surveyed with Tom Chester at intersection of Borrego Springs Road and Granada (about 100 acres) and found a lot of V. Noted that the majority of the plants were found in the depressions of the sand. Reported that that Chula Vista Volutaria site has been treated. The Orange County site was also treated but a subpopulation was found. The OC site is now thought to be the original V infestation in the 80s. Chris is seeing lots of SM all over southern California.

Sam – There is the potential for park volunteers to organize a SM pulling event in Rockhouse Canyon. Jack McGuire would be the contact and Gina would like to coordinate a date with volunteers.

Mason – areas the Park has historically targeted/focused on SM eradication are Henderson Canyon Road, Borrego Palm Canyon and the end of DiGiorgio Road.

Submitted by Briana Puzzo - ABF

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