At Point Pinole Regional Shoreline they are continuing with the very misguided policy of killing coyote brush and poison oak. They plan to remove most of the coyote brush and poison oak growing in the grasslands of the park in an attempt to restore native grasses. Much of the brush has already been cleared over the past 10-15 years and the numbers of scrub dependent wildlife, such as quail and brush rabbits, has dropped to zero. Remaining wildlife species which depend on shrub cover will continue to be negatively impacted by this work.
The fact is that coyote brush and poison oak are not the reasons for the native grass disappearing in the first place; rather it is the introduction of non-native grasses and weeds from Europe.
Destroying the poison oak and coyote brush will merely destroy more valuable wildlife habitat and do nothing to improve the situation for native grasses. Most likely the land cleared of these native plants will be invaded by more non-native grasses and weeds.
The money spent on killing native plants would be much better spent on combatting the real threat to native grasses, the non-native grasses and weeds.
In addition, the pond at this park which at one time had a huge population of treefrogs and toads has been completely overrun with carp which were introduced a few years ago. The numbers of the amphibians has dropped so low as a result of the introduced fish that some amphibian species may have been eliminated entirely.
Surely these introduced fish and weeds are more deserving of control efforts than native plants which have lived in this area for millennia.
Anyone who is concerned for the persistence of the native plant, bird, and frog populations at Point Pinole Regional Park please contact John Hitchen (Point Pinole park supervisor) and Doug Bell (Wildlife program manager for East Bay Regional Park District).
Thank you, Steve Powell