The first step in the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration project has begun with the Arundo eradication program. Work will begin in Matilija Canyon, starting in the reservoir area above the dam, and will utilize foliar spraying of herbicide. The intent is to move to the headwaters and "get" all the Arundo in Matilija Creek before moving downstream as far as the Highway 150 bridge. Over 200 acres of this weed have been identified in the watershed.
Although just about everyone recognizes there is some negative impact of herbicide application, the long term goals are to save water, reduce flooding and fire hazards, and restore the native habitat. The eradication program will use "BMP's" (Best Management Practices) intended to minimize overspray and water contact. The Matilija Coalition and Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper played an active role in ensuring these BMP's were included in the plan.
For the remainder of the year, Stream Team water monitoring in Matilija Creek and downstream will include sampling for "glyphosate," the active ingredient in Rodeo, a version of Roundup herbicide approved for use near water. We hope our samples come up negative, but if herbicide is detected in the river the operations will be modified and carefully monitored.
For more information on the eradication plan and water quality monitoring see http://matilijadam.org/reports.htm
For the Matilija Coalition 2001 Field Survey see http://pages.sbcglobal.net/pjenkin/matilija/arundo.htm
Cooincidentally, "High Country News" has an article about weed control that is relevant to the situation in the Ventura River - http://www.hcn.org/servlets/hcn.Article?article_id=17192