Last month, several Contra Costa RCD staff attended the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) regional mini-symposium at CSU East Bay-Concord to connect with fellow weed workers from Northern California. The Contra Costa RCD co-presented with Yolo and Solano RCDs about our cross-county collaboration on the Delta. Talks and breakout sessions shared technical strategies and inspired us to bring new perspectives to our work in Contra Costa.
A breakout session on early detection and rapid response (EDRR) shared a wealth of resources that Contra Costa RCD will reference as we expand the EcoStewards program. Because humans are a major vector for introducing invasive plants, it will be important for us to establish an EDRR protocol when the Dutch Slough tidal marsh restoration eventually opens to the public. Currently, most of the EcoStewards’ work focuses on invasive weed containment and long-term control rather than early detection, but this breakout session provided valuable insight into how to translate field data into management plans. The EcoStewards are working to become more proactive in our weed management strategies in order to conserve critical Delta habitat.
For me, the most meaningful presentation was the opening talk by Sean Burke from Save Mount Diablo because he reminded me why I am driven to do this work. Technical talk about management plans may imply that humans are separate from nature–we are over here, managing nature over there. The truth is we are not separate, but ourselves a part of nature. Burke emphasized that resource management is a relationship. Healthy natural resources allow us to live, we therefore have a responsibility to reciprocate by caring for this land as it cares for us. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the state of the environment these days. What keeps me going in the endless work of weed management is remembering that collective care is the remedy for this interconnected world.
The Mission of the Contra Costa Resource Conservation District is to Facilitate Conservation and Stewardship of the Natural Resources in Contra Costa County.