ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST, CA
Angeles National Forest, CA
September 27, 2016
Early in the morning, we loaded into a van with a crew from the LA Conservation Corps and made our way out of urban Downtown Los Angeles to the foothills of the Angeles National Forest. The project: removing arundo, an invasive species, from the Tujunga Watershed.
Arundo displaces native plants by monopolizing soil moisture and shading native plants from sunlight. Some of the reeds we cut yesterday were upwards of 15ft tall! Since the Arundo disrupts native plant species, it also has a negative impact on wildlife in affected area by disrupting habitats and food supplies. Everything from insects, birds, and turtles can suffer from Arundo into their habitats. As well, dense patches of Arundo act as fuel during forest fires.
Once we arrived on site, we saw the extent of the Arundo invasion.
We learned a lot from the LA Conservation Corps Crew Supervisors, Veronica and Ed, who've worked with botanists and environmentalists to map out the removal of the Aruno species from the Tujunga Watershed. This project is ongoing until March 2017.
Once we got a handle on the day's situation, we geared up with our loppers and headed down into the riverbed to start chopping with the LA Conservation Corps Crew.
The LA Conservation Corps is the nation's largest urban conservation corps as well as LA's preeminent youth development organization. They provide a means for LA's at-risk young adults and school-aged youth to have stable, paid work while finishing their high school diploma in on-site classrooms. The community work gives Corps members valuable work experience and equips them for a stable future. The Corps build parks, plant trees, refurbish hiking trails, and build community gardens– enhancing the LA community for everyone. Learn more about them here.
We were lucky enough to meet some of the Corps members while we were volunteering, and they were an incredible group of young adults (and they completely outworked us).
We started by chopping down the Arundo with loppers (it was too dangerous to use chainsaws due to a high fire risk).
We neatly piled it up at the riverbed to be removed and placed into larger piles for a chipper shredder (which would arrive the next day).
It was a hot day in Los Angeles, and this crew worked hard. We were definitely guilty of taking more phone breaks. We got to know some of the crew members, who all brightened our day. The project was rewarding but hearing from the hard-working crew made it even more fulfilling.