News

Spraying to start in some East Bay parks to stop spread of harmful plant species

No Tri-Valley parks to be affected, though trails elsewhere could be closed

The East Bay Regional Park District is starting its sixth year of efforts to control the spread of a harmful plant species in the San Francisco Bay estuary, according to park officials.

Spartina is a highly invasive cordgrass that alters the physical structure and biological composition of the tidal marshes, mudflats and creeks in the area, according to park officials.

Park crews and contractors will be spraying a state and federally approved herbicide on the Spartina plants between July and October at Hayward Regional Shoreline, Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline, Oyster Bay, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, and Eastshore State Park.

A helicopter will be used for aerial applications of the herbicide on Monday, while the other spraying operations through October will be done by ground crews using backpacks, trucks or boats, according to park officials.

The herbicides have no adverse impacts to human health or safety, and are non-toxic to mammals, birds, fish and aquatic invertebraes.

However, district regulations will force trails adjacent to the sprayings to be closed to the public for about 12 hours during and after the operation.

Similar treatments in 2008 resulted in a 40 percent reduction of the Spartina plant, according to park officials.

Preventing the mudflats is important because open mudflats are essential to the ecology of the Bay, and an integral part of the feeding habitat for thousands of migratory birds that pass through the area, according to park officials.

For more information on the regional Spartina control program, contact Pete Alexander of the East Bay Regional Park District at (510) 544-2342 or Peggy Olofson of the Invasive Spartina Program at (510) 548-2461, or visit www.spartina.org.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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