One hundred million acres in size, California is one of the most ecologically diverse states in the country. California has more than 3,400 miles of shoreline, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,800 lakes and reservoirs, 3 North American desert habitats, 3 forested mountain ecoregions, and coastal forests dominated by redwoods, the tallest trees in the world. California has more
native and endemic species than any other U.S. state, with over 750 native fish and wildlife species and over 6,000 native plants.
Development has led to enormous losses in wildlife and fish habitat. With a human population approaching 40 million, California’s natural lands face continual pressure from development. Since the 1900s, southern California has lost about 40,000 acres of wetlands to development.
Between 2001 and 2011, California lost 785 square miles of natural land to development, far more than any other western U.S. state. This loss of habitat threatens numerous species of plants and animals.
Removing invasive species and restoring native species brings myriad benefits. Restoration of wetlands, dunes, and other coastal areas protects against erosion, reduces flooding, and
improves water quality. Native birds, fish, and other wildlife return to restored areas, enhancing fisheries and biodiversity. Habitat improvement helps the recovery of threatened or
endangered species. Tourism and outdoor recreation benefit as people fish, bird watch, or visit wildlife areas.
Aquatic invasive species can harm local water supplies, damage native ecosystems, impact outdoor recreation activities, and threaten our health and safety. They cost the U.S. billions of dollars annually to manage and can cause long-term economic and environmental harm.
Common invasive plants in the California
Some of the most common invasive plants on the California coast are black acacia, umbrella thorn, giant reed, tree-of-heaven, iceplant, yellow starthistle, bull thistle, pampas grass, red and blue gum, edible fig, shamel ash, evergreen ash, Algerian and ‘California’ ivy, blue morning glory, ‘California’ privet, horehound, common iceplant, tree tobacco, fountain grass, castor bean, Himalayan blackberry, Brazilian pepper tree, salt cedar, tamarisk, common gorse, periwinkle, Mexican fan palm, and calla lily.
Invasive species and noxious weed classifications are very regionally specific. Sometimes, a plant classified as invasive in one area may not be invasive in another. Check the local noxious weed lists for species considered invasive and what level of control is required. Treatment/removal is unique to the plant species. Some species are easy to remove with hand pulling. Some species infestations are made worse by hand-pulling and must be controlled with pesticides in accordance with a permit. Consultation with local invasive species authorities is necessary when working with invasive species.
For questions on noxious and invasive plants in your region, the following contacts are a good place to start:
California Department of Food and Agriculture:
University of California Integrated Pest Management Program:
California Invasive Plant Council:
The best way for you to help prevent the spread of invasive plant species is to stop new outbreaks before they start. Each of us has a role in keeping our waterways clean and healthy for future generations. The best way that you can help to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species is to always clean your boat after use.
Early detection and reporting can help avoid many of the environmental and economic losses caused by invasive species. Reporting invasive plant species to the experts could stop the next invasion.
Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (national)
Report invasive plant species in your region:
Smartphone Reporting App: https://www.calflora.org//entry/applications2.html#phone