June 28, 2011
Today I worked with Charlie De La Rosa and the Invasive Plant crew removing invasive Tamarisk on the West end of the Island. We hit the road that enters the interior near Catalina Harbor in a dense marine layer. The whole trip there we could only see a few feet outside of the car until Charlie pulled over on a nondescript section of road and said we had arrived. The crew piled out, did some stretches and prepped for the day ahead of us.
Charlie led Tammy Tran and me down the main drainage of the area that has a few populations of Tamarisk before we would meet up with the other crew to hit the main population. As we hiked down we passed beautiful scenes of Catalina Ironwoods, a massive Cherry tree and small rock waterfalls with calm pools of water. As we were traversing a dense patch of Cat Tails, of which the shoots and pollen are both edible [survival skills!], Charlie shouts out that he found some Tamarisk. When I investigate his finding all that I see is a seemingly dead stump but he points out a small shoot with a few leaves that had branched off underground and was weaving through the cattails. As he sawed and applied herbicide to the plant, Tammy and I trampled through the area looking for other shoots, finding none yet successfully getting tangled and thoroughly pollinated by the reeds.
After treatment we continued down the trail and I saw what i believed was a crawdad in the water. Charlie glanced at it, immediately told me it was a dragonfly larvae and snatched it out of the water to display its retractable mandibles used for feeding. We continued down the watershed, performed another simple treatment and then began seeing signs that the other group had already passed through our area. Once we caught up, the other group was already working on removing the main population of this persistent plant. Since I am unable to handle the herbicide I began digging a channel along some tamarisk shoots to see if we could find a place where they joined up underground. After a good amount of toiling in the moist, silty bottom of the drainage Charlie decided to make the cuts and apply herbicide because it seemed like we would never unearth these roots.
We finished heading down the basin to where it emptied into the ocean and saw a beautiful cove with an impressive rock jutting out of the ocean just offshore. We sat and decompressed as the waves crashed into the cove; the perfect end to a great day, except now we had to get back to the truck. We hiked with a healthy mix of bouldering up a different ravine towards the ridge. As we ascended, the marine layer had burned off opening up magnificent vistas of the surrounding peaks, accented by clouds above and the marine layer below. I arrived at the ridge quite winded but was rewarded with an amazing view of the Southern California Bight, Catalina Coves and mountains on the mainland. I crawled into the truck tired, covered in dirt and immensely satisfied: I had just spent a day among some of the finest nature and people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.