The Solano Resource Conservation District is working with private landowners in the Cache Slough area to control Arundo. Arundo is a non-native plant introduced to stabilize levees. It provides D+ habitat, so the Delta Conservancy applied for a grant with the Department of Water Resources to work on eradicating non-aquatic invasive plants. The Solano RCD was given funds to work with local private farmers and ranchers to replace Arundo with a complex of native plants along irrigation canals.
In situations where the adjacent land is used for grazing livestock it also requires an investment in fencing and watering troughs to move intensive animal use off the area. This improves the health of the livestock and limits direct access to the ditches to only pulse grazing. The RCD has been working for 4 years now with a few cooperating landowners.The Arundo still wants to come back, so there are no quick fixes. It reminded me of my never ending battle with crabgrass in my garden. At the same time the native plants are getting established and doing quite well even in the drought.
This conservation practice, if applied on a larger scale, could have a larger beneficial impact to the health of the sloughs and waterways in the Delta. Already you see more bird life and other critters.
This is a great example of how incentives for private landowners helps to offset the costs of changing how they do business. These changes are a win-win-win for everyone: better livestock, better environment, better soil and water management. And that is a win for all of us.