U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 283

Students remove invasive grasses on Ocean Day

Staff from the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office and volunteers from Friends of Dunes continued their three-year-old Ocean Day partnership on May 22, when they led more than 750 elementary school children, teachers and parents in efforts to remove invasive European beach grass from the sand dunes on Humboldt Bay's South Spit near Eureka.

Classes from 18 Humboldt County Schools participated in the outing, pulling invasive plants from a seven-acre area, and then forming a giant "aerial art" illustration on the sand, below. It was photographed from a US Coast Guard helicopter. Below, getting more than 700 excited children into position for the aerial art formation is always a challenge for volunteers. Students file into the art formation, while others play on the beach. (story with more photos continues below)

students file into the art formation, while others play on the beach

Ocean Day - aerial view of "Protect" and outline of whale

"This is a great effort to involve children in learning about and protecting their environment," said BLM Arcata Field Manager Lynda Roush. "And, it falls right in line with the BLM's 'Take it Outside' initiative, which encourages families to discover the outdoor adventures awaiting them on the public lands."

Below, volunteers gather up their school identification signs and discuss final arrangements before the school buses arrive. It takes plenty of coordination to ensure the classes get to their work sites, position themselves correctly for the aerial art display, and most importantly, have a safe day. In the second photo below, Arcata Field Office Biological Technician Clara Sander gathers her class before heading into the dunes.

In the photos below, work continued for about two hours. Prior to coming to the South Spit, the students heard classroom presentations from Friends of the Dunes volunteers about why the beach grass needs to be removed.

A Friends of the Dunes volunteer pulls non-native grasses

A student volunteer pulls non-native grasses for removal

A team of students works on the non-native grass removal

Below, with a huge pile of beach grass marking their accomplishment, a student work group takes a well deserved snack break.

A student work group takes a well-deserved snack break, with a pile of pulled grass in the background

Members of the Eureka news media shared the success story with the public. Below, Tyson Ritter of the daily Eureka Reporter discusses dunes ecology with BLM Botanist Jennifer Wheeler. In the second photo KIEM TV reporter Jill Weaver interviews Friends of the Dunes coordinator Carol Vander Meer as Ritter (background) checks his photos of the children.

Tyson Ritter of the daily Eureka Reporter discusses dunes ecology with BLM Botanist Jennifer Wheeler

KIEM TV reporter Jill Weaver interviews Friends of the Dunes coordinator Carol Vander Meer, with groups of working students as a backdrop

Burying a buddy in the sand is always a good way to pass the time, below.

Burying a buddy in the sand is always a good way to pass some free time

Friends of the Dunes organizes the Ocean Day even with funding from the California Coastal Commission. The BLM Arcata Field Office provides project sites and organizes the event using the Incident Command System.

South Spit Cooperative Management Area:The BLM leads a cooperative management effort for the 4.5-mile-long spit that separates Humboldt Bay from the Pacific Ocean just south of Eureka. Humboldt County, the California Department of Fish and Game, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Coastal Conservancy and the Table Bluff Reservation are involved. Under the management plan, the public has access to the spit's beaches, dunes and marshes, while areas are specifically set aside for managing and improving nesting sites for the Western snowy plover, a shorebird federally listed as threatened. Removal of beach grass and other invasive plants is an important component of the management effort to restore beneficial native plants on the spit.

- Jeff Fontana, 5/07


BLM California News.bytes, issue 283


 
Last updated: 05-30-2007