Appendix M - NF of Southern California Weed Management Strategy (Introduction)

Appendix M - National Forests of Southern California Weed Management Strategy


The spread of invasive weeds on the national forests of southern California is threatening the health of forest, chaparral, and grassland ecosystems. Current inventories indicate that weeds are spreading at an increasing rate within the southern California national forests, especially along roads, trails, and stream corridors. The spread of noxious weeds and nonnative invasive plant species reduces biological diversity; impacts threatened and endangered species, wildlife habitat, modifies vegetative structure and species composition; changes fire and nutrient cycles; and degrades soil structure.

Under the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), and the Forest and Range Renewable Resource Planning Act (RPA), the national forests were given the task of preparing Land and Resource Management Plans (forest plans) to establish management direction along with long-range goals and objectives. During the development of forest plans for the national forests of southern California in the late 1980s, the problems caused by noxious weeds were not as widely recognized as they are today. Initial efforts in education, prevention, inventory, control, and monitoring were piecemeal and uncoordinated. The national forests of southern California have revised their forest plans and this strategy as an appendix to the forest plans, which provides a bridge between forest plan direction of the past and the Forest Service's vision of future conditions.

In 1995, the Forest Service revised its national policy on noxious weed management (FS Manual 2080). The new policy places stronger emphasis on integrated weed management. It outlines responsibilities for integrated pest management, prevention and control measures, cooperation, and information collection and reporting.

In 1998, the Forest Service developed, in conjunction with other federal agencies, a strategy for the management of noxious weeds. That strategy (entitled Pulling Together: A National Strategy for Invasive Plant Management) focused on three primary goals: effective prevention, control, and restoration. The Forest Service also developed a national strategy focusing on five areas: prevention and education; control; inventory, mapping, and monitoring; research; and administration and planning.

In response to national direction and regional needs, the Pacific Southwest Region has subsequently developed a Noxious Weed Management Strategy and Action Plan. Tiered to the national strategy, the Regional strategy has three primary goals:

  • Increase the understanding and awareness of noxious weeds and the adverse effects they have on wildland ecosystems.
  • Develop and promote implementation of a consistent integrated pest management (IPM) approach. Institutionalize consideration of noxious weeds in all planning and project analyses.
  • Develop strong partnerships and cooperation with private landowners, county governments, state and federal agencies, extension services, universities, and the research community for a consolidated and united approach to managing invasive species.

The Region's strategy uses six emphasis areas to address the goals identified above. They are:

  • Coordination and Cooperation
  • Prevention and Education
  • Control
  • Inventory, Mapping, and Monitoring
  • Research
  • Administration and Planning

Within each emphasis area, the strategy identifies objectives and proposed action items to carry the Regional Noxious Weed Program forward.

In a similar fashion, the southern California national forests' noxious weed strategy is tiered to the regional strategy. The purpose of the strategy is to transform these region-wide goals and emphasis areas into a three to five year action plan that results in on-the-ground accomplishments on the national forests of Southern California.

In 1999, Executive Order 13112 on Invasive Species was developed requiring federal agencies to prevent the introduction of invasive species and not authorize or carry out actions that are likely to cause the introduction or spread of invasive species unless the agency shows that benefits of actions clearly outweigh beneficial harm and feasible and prudent measure to minimize the risk of harm will be taken in conjunction with the actions. This order promotes the prevention of introductions of invasive species, rapid response to control and monitor populations, to provide for restoration of native species and habitat conditions in ecosystems that have been invaded, and to conduct research and provide education on invasive species. A management plan entitled Meeting the Invasive Species Challenge was completed in 2001 to comply with the executive order.

In 2003, invasive species management was brought to the forefront of the Forest Service Strategic Plan. In the FY 2003 Strategic Plan update, one of the six Priority Goals for the US Forest Service for 2003 through 2008 is to “Reduce the Impacts from invasive species: Restore the health of the nation’s forests and rangeland to be resilient to the effects of animal, insect, pathogen and plant species.” Objectives include: 1) survey of forests, grasslands, and water bodies to detect and monitor invasive species; 2) to improve effectiveness of treating invasive species; and 3) to provide scientific information, and develop and distribute scientific strategies to improve prevention, detection, and control of invasive species ( Baselines will be provided in June 2003 and performance measures will be tracked over the duration of the FY 2003 Strategic Plan Update.

In 2004, the National Strategy and Implementation Plan for Invasive Species Management was completed. It proposes actions to guide Forest Service programs to employ effective, integrated, comprehensive, and science-based approach for addressing the invasive species problem.

1. Coordination And Cooperation

The spread of invasive weeds ignores all boundaries. The only way that the national forests of southern California can succeed in the control and prevention of noxious weeds is through coordination and cooperation with neighbors and partners. Ranger Districts within the southern California national forests have been active in the following weed management areas (WMAs): Big Sur, Kern County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Santa Barbara County, San Bernardino County, and San Luis Obispo County.


  • Use WMAs to consolidate and coordinate weed control across jurisdictional boundaries.
  • Ensure that adequate scientific expertise, organization skill, and administrative support is available for local weed management efforts.
  • Minimize barriers to noxious weed prevention and control efforts.

Proposed Actions

  • All National Forests
  • All national forests/districts strive to be active participants and leaders in WMAs.
  • Coordinate with California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to:
  • Control Spanish broom along California State Highways 2, 18, 33, 38, 39, 67, 74, 138, 330, and Interstate 8.
  • Inventory and monitor weeds along California State highways.
  • Coordinate with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Southern California Edison, and Pacific Gas and Electric to inventory and monitor weeds along their right-of-ways.
  • Work with permittees to remove invasive plants from permit areas.
  • Work with Native Americans to identify and control noxious weeds in areas of concern to tribal members and to assist in development of restoration techniques for habitats affected by noxious weeds.
  • Work with other program areas to gain support and investment in the prevention, education, and control of noxious weeds.

Coordinate with partners to:

  • Implement prevention programs to prevent spread of weeds along trails and roads.
  • Develop education programs for national forest visitors.
  • Control arundo and tamarisk.
  • Control cheatgrass or other invasive plants in restoration sites
  • Release biological control agents for yellow star-thistle and spotted knapweed where applicable.

Angeles National Forest

  • Coordinate with Los Angeles WMA to continue controlling and/or removing:
    • Spotted knapweed in Tanbark Flats; German and English ivy, Vinca, and Spanish broom in Santa Anita, San Dimas, Bouquet, Arroyo Seco, and Millard canyons; yellow star-thistle on the Santa Clara Mojave Rivers Ranger District; and distaff thistle in San Francisquito Canyon.
    • Tree of heaven, tamarisk, and arundo in San Francisquito, Bouquet, Soledad, Little Tujunga and Big Tujunga canyons; arundo and giant tree spurge at Chantry Flats; and tree of heaven, tamarisk, and arundo in San Gabriel, Big Dalton, and San Dimas canyons.
    • Spanish broom along Rincon-Redbox Glendora Mountain and Glendora Ridge Roads, and Scotch broom in upper Chantry Flats.
  • Coordinate with the Los Angeles WMA to monitor status of:
    • Dalmatian toadflax near county line in Frazier Park, halogeton along California State Highway 14 near national forest boundary, and perennial pepperweed in the Santa Clara River near national forest boundary,
    • Apiary sites for yellow star-thistle, spotted knapweed, and other invasive plants.
  • Coordinate with State of California for tamarisk removal in upper Castaic Creek.

Cleveland National Forest

  • Coordinate with San Diego Water Utilities Department to control tamarisk in Santa Ysabel and Cottonwood Creeks.
  • Coordinate with State Coastal Conservancy to control tamarisk in San Mateo Creek.
  • Coordinate with California Department of Agriculture and San Diego County to control spotted knapweed in the Julian area and on Palomar Mountain.
  • Coordinate with Orange County to control arundo, fig, and castor bean on the west side of the Trabuco Ranger District.

Los Padres National Forest

  • Coordinate with Caltrans to control French Broom at the Hwy 1 Maintenance Yard and along West Camino Cielo.
  • Coordinate with Sespe Flyfishers and Keep the Sespe Wild volunteers to control tamarisk in Sespe Creek.
  • Coordinate with Habitat Works of southern California volunteers to control tamarisk in Piru Creek in concert with the USFS use of Triclopyr to treat larger trees.
  • Coordinate with Kern County WMA:
    • to eradicate Dalmatian toadflax on 250 acres near Frazier Park.
    • to eradicate spotted knapweed in Pine Mountain Club.
  • Coordinate with Big Sur WMA:
    • and California State Parks to control five acres of French broom along the Vicente Flat Trail.
    • and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to control two acres of Cape ivy and 80 acres of Italian thistle.
  • Coordinate with Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner to eradicate five acres of pampas grass at Kirk Creek Campground.
  • Continue to allow San Luis Obispo County to test yellow star-thistle control techniques at Pozo Corrals.
  • Coordinate with Santa Barbara Agricultural Commission to release a rust fungus, Puccinia jaceae var. solstitialis, for use in the control of yellow star-thistle.

San Bernardino National Forest

  • Coordinate with San Bernardino County/Corps of Engineers to control tamarisk at Seven Oaks Dam and Spanish broom along the mountain highways.
  • Work with Mojave WMA on cooperative inventories and tamarisk eradication efforts along the Mojave River/Deep Creek.
  • Coordinate with Riverside County to control tamarisk in Bautista Canyon.
  • Continue cooperation with the Resource Conservation District to control arundo in Cajon Wash.
  • Coordinate and cooperate with the Santa Ana River WMA.
  • Work with BLM and other partners on tamarisk removal in Palm Canyon and other areas in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
  • Coordinate with the Bear Valley Municipal Water District to control tamarisk in the Baldwin Lake and Big Bear Lake vicinity.
  • Coordinate with Southern California Edison to control Spanish broom in the Mill Creek drainage, with Silverwood State Park to control Spanish broom along Hwy 138, and with Habitat Works volunteers to control Spanish broom in Deep Creek.
  • Coordinate with Big Bear Green Thumbs to eradicate sweet pea and Dalmatian toadflax near Juniper Point, and with Big Bear Mountain Resorts to control the spread of Melilotus.

Next section: Appendix M - Part 2 Prevention and Education

Key Contacts

  • Chinling Chen, NEPA Planner
  • Phone: (626) 574-5255.