Volunteers and Invasive Plants: Learning and Lending a Hand link

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
America's National Wildlife Refuge System

Volunteers and Invasive Plants: Learning and Lending a Hand

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Restoring Tidal Marsh Habitat, San Pablo Bay NWR, California

The San Pablo Bay NWR near San Francisco manages some of the remaining tidal marsh habitat in the San Francisco Estuary. In its open water, tidal marshes, mud flats, and upland habitat, San Pablo Bay is home to several threatened, endangered, and endemic plants and animals, including the California clapper rail. Many of these species are at risk due to diminishing habitat and introduced plants and animals. But the refuge staff is working with several partners to restore native habitat that will benefit these species.

The refuge is working to control perennial pepperweed, an herb that is invasive in moist habitats, and to restore native plant communities. In this vein, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has teamed up with Sonoma Land Trust, Friends of San Pablo Bay, the Bay Institute, Save the Bay, and the Marin-Sonoma Mosquito District.

Volunteers surveyed the refuge for invasive plants such as pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) on the refuge and on adjacent lands managed by Sonoma Land Trust and the California Department of Fish and Game. Next, the data were used to plan and implement a control program. With the help of the Friends of San Pablo Bay Refuge, Bay Institute, Save the Bay, and refuge volunteers, the refuge established a native plant nursery to grow native tidal marsh plants. These plants are placed in areas where invasives were removed.

The Bay Institute brings school children and others to the refuge and through the greenhouse for their educational programs. Children are learning to pot native plants and will be involved in planting them in the ground. Save the Bay is coordinating adult volunteers to help with the planting.

With the cooperation of several groups and volunteers, San Pablo Bay NWR is on the way to restoring native habitat.

Learn more about this refuge:
San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Photo of kids learning about tidal marsh ecology.
Learning about tidal marsh ecology
Photo of kids mapping invasive plants with a GPS.
Mapping invasive plants with a GPS
Photo of students helping to propagate native plants for restoration.
Helping to propagate native plants
for restoration

Photo Credits: Bay Institute
Image of perennial pepperweed mapping project study area map.
Perennial pepperweed mapping project study area
Photo credit: USFWS