Letter: Plant Power

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Letter to the Editor

The National Parks Service (NPS) is gathering input for an integrated invasive plant management plan for the Santa Monica Mountains and the Redwoods. 

The NPS is currently using four different chemical herbicides, including Round-Up, to fight invasive weeds on park lands. Additional herbicides and aerial spraying are also being considered. 

The stated purpose for utilizing these chemicals is to protect native plants and wildlife. This method is short sighted and will only set the NPS on a never ending path of chemical use in our parklands. Native plants to the Santa Monica Mountains thrived before European contact because the early Americans were intentional farmers with nature. Without this tending, the landscape changes. 

We were told at the Temescal Canyon scoping meeting by a park botanist that very little monitoring of plants or restoration is being done. This must change. 

What are now termed invasive weeds are merely opportunistic plants that take advantage of poorly tended lands. American Indians used spot fires to properly clear certain areas. They aerated the soil while harvesting tubers for food. Instead of bringing practices such as these back into play, the NPS is in a constant dependence on herbicides to fight a natural changing landscape. 

We urge the NPS to change their battle plan of destructive and defensive chemical attacks. We propose instead, the proven sustainable offensive tactics of restoration and proper tending of the wild flora and fauna. 

Comments are being taken until Oct.1. For more information, visit parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=341&projectID=44351&documentID=54793 

Linda Gibbs, Malibu Agriculture Society member