2024.03.07 | Care for a Place You Love

Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve is planning an ice plant pulling work party Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to noon, under the direction of Michael Thomas.  This is a fantastic opportunity to help restore the beloved Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, catch up with old friends, make new friends, and get a great workout.  And even after FFRP and Cambria Community Services District’s amazing progress removing ice plant over the last several years, there is still plenty of ice plant to go around.

     Meet up at the North Windsor Bluff Trail entrance Saturday April 13, at 10 a.m.  The work area will be the first remaining ice plant intrusion south along the Bluff Trail, no more than a quarter mile from the North Windsor Bluff Trail entrance.

     No experience is necessary, volunteers will show how the weeding is done and will supply tools.  Pulling ice plant really is demanding work, but everyone works at their own pace, with no competition, and every little bit helps.  Be sure to wear sturdy shoes, clothes you do not mind getting grubby, and bring a good pair of gloves.  And please bring a sustainable water bottle.  Michael Thomas will have a two-gallon jug of filtered water on site for refills.

     FFRP has productive work parties on Fiscalini Ranch Preserve almost every Wednesday morning, but February 21 was extra special.  The core group of volunteers was joined by an industrious, enthusiastic group of future leaders from Leffingwell High School to supercharge our ice plant removal mission.  By rough estimates, the group removed ice plant from well over 100 yards of the bluff at the north end of the Preserve and piled up at least 10 to15 cubic yards of debris for hauling away.  And as if that was not enough, some of FFRP’s veteran volunteers uprooted a few thousand mustard plants invading the hill above the bluff.

     FFRP is often asked why we remove ice plant from Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.  Ice plant is at the very top of the list of invasive species on the original survey when the Preserve was created. Ice plant is not a California native plant; it was introduced into California from South Africa in the early 1900s for erosion control on railroad tracks, and later used by Caltrans on roadsides. With shallow roots and branches climbing over each other, and leaves that are plumped with salty water, it becomes very heavy.  This causes large mats of the ice plant to spall off steep surfaces, taking nutrients and topsoil along with it, which is especially damaging along our coastal bluffs.  Ice plant competes aggressively for space with native plants, smothers protected habitats like our coastal cliffs, increases soil salinity, and leads to more rapid erosion.

Spread the news, invite friends, the more the merrier!

Article first published in https://cambriaca.org/