Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet at the NEC office with a very industrious group of citizens that call themselves the “No Ivy League,” a small local volunteer group that has been pulling ivy out of Patrick’s Point and Trinidad Beach State Parks for years.
The problem has gone way beyond the efforts of a few people to control the exponential spread of this highly invasive plant. The next time you walk anywhere in a rural area of the North Coast, take a good look at the vegetation. The chances are you will see a plentiful amount of English ivy. In some places, that may be all that you see.
English ivy is becoming an increasing threat to the biodiversity of the North Coast. This evergreen vine grows in sun and shade, smothers ground vegetation and climbs high into trees, forming dense sun-blocking mats of vegetation that can topple the trees during storms.
Our California State Parks, which should be in the forefront of protecting our region’s biodiversity, have been strangely lax in doing so. Parts of Patrick’s Point State Park and Trinidad State Beach look like the background for a creepy sci-fi movie, because so much of the landscape is an ivy monoculture. The Park bureaucracy insists it doesn’t have the money to fix the problem, but it has been slow to seek grants, and its cumbersome application process discourages people from becoming volunteers.
If we want to continue to see wildflowers and native conifers in the not-too-distant future, we need to take some active steps. Remove ivy from your yard and trees. Participate in weekly and monthly ivy pulls. Encourage local environmental organizations to support efforts to get ivy listed as a noxious weed. Put pressure on nurseries to stop selling ivy. Plead with our California State Parks, and other city, county and state governments, to control the spread of ivy in our parks and open spaces. Tell your friends.
The NEC encourages you to learn more or to join in with the “No Ivy League”, contact Kim Tays at firstname.lastname@example.org.