The Spartina Control Program (Control Program) is
the “action arm” of the San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Project,
a project of the California State Coastal Conservancy.
The Control Program uses an Integrated Vegetation Management
(IVM) approach to prioritize and implement control efforts.
Applying this approach, the Control Program uses all available
scientific information regarding the San Francisco Estuary,
the invasive cordgrasses, and the likely economic, sociological,
and ecological consequences of both the invasion and the treatment
program, to develop a management strategy that is effective,
economical, and protective of public and environmental health.
The Control Program is moving forward with an aggressive
treatment program, aimed at quickly eradicating invasive cordgrasses,
particularly Atlantic smooth cordgrass and its hybrids, from
the Estuary. This approach was supported by a panel of international
experts at the Third International Conference on Invasive Spartina (November
8-10, 2004, San Francisco, California), which indicated
that anything less than a rapidly implemented, full-scale eradication
program would likely fail.
As the Control Program is implemented, the ISP staff considers
the developing scientific understanding of such critical issues
as cordgrass hybridization and the resulting changes in plant
biology, the effects of non-native cordgrass invasion and its
control on California clapper rail populations, the spread
of Atlantic smooth cordgrass hybrids onto mudflats, and the
successional processes of invaded marshes, subsequently adapting
the goals of the program to maximize environmental benefits
and minimize environmental costs.
To implement the site-specific management strategies, the
Control Program relies heavily on partnerships developed with
the landowners and managers around the Bay that have non-native Spartina growing
on their lands. The Coastal Conservancy provides treatment
and eradication grants to these partners, who subsequently
select an appropriate aquatic vegetation control contractor
through a competitive bid process, or utilize their own equipment
and crews in the case of flood control and mosquito abatement
districts. These partners are ultimately responsible for the
success of the project through the long-term commitment to
monitor and maintain the eradication efforts, and ensure that Spartina is
not reintroduced to the system.