Arundo donax in the walnut creek watershed
Arundo donax (also called giant reed or giant cane) is an invasive non-native plant that grows along creeks. It can grow four inches a day and up to a total height of thirty feet! Arundo consumes prodigious amounts of water and spreads aggressively—these qualities make it easy for Arundo to outcompete native plants for resources and space. The plant provides little food or habitat for insects, birds, and other wildlife. Arundo’s encroachment on waterways can lead to flooding, and the plant poses a fire hazard.
In 2018 the Walnut Creek Watershed Council started a program to address Arundo throughout the watershed. With over 250 stands mapped to date the next step is developing a program to stop the spread and replace this highly invasive plant with native species. This sort of work requires collaboration between public agencies, like the Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, and private citizens, as jurisdiction over creeks varies. Some creeks are private, while others serve as flood control channels. Creating a program where creek restoration is a priority takes a lot of public buy-in.
As part of the outreach the Walnut Creek Watershed Council developed a brochure to share why Arundo is a problem in the watershed, how it impacts the environment and best practices to keep it from spreading.