You may have noticed some changes in the beach dunes and hammock at Red Reef and South Beach parks. The City is partnering with The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) to remove invasive plant species and replace them with native plant species, as part of its Restoring the Gold Coast program. The work is part of a multi-year management plan to enhance the resiliency and biological diversity of the City’s beach parks.
Why should invasive species be removed from the parks?
Invasive species tend to grow quickly and spread easily, taking over space from native species. This is a problem as it reduces the biological diversity and reduces habitat and food sources for native insects and animals. Invasive species may not provide the same benefits as native plants, therefore reducing the resiliency of the dunes and other coastal ecosystems.
What are some examples of exotic plants being removed?
There are several invasive plants being removed, three of the most abundant are beach naupaka (Scaevola taccada), oysterplant (Tradescantia spathacea), and bowstring-hemp (Sansevieria hyacinthoides). Some of these plants may be familiar to you as plants found in landscaping or as house plants. Species which become invasive are often originally introduced as ornamental plants.
What native species are being planted?
Coastal Strand Plants:
- Dodonea viscosa (varnishleaf)
- Ernodea littoralis (beach creeper)
- Erythrina herbaceae (coralbean)
- Heliotropium angiospermum (scorpionstail)
- Heliotropium polyphyllum (pineland heliotrope)
- Melanthera nivea (snow squarestem)
- Optunia humifusa (pricklypear)
- Salvia coccinea (tropical sage)
- Sophora tomentosa var. truncata (necklace pod)
- Suriana maritima (baycedar)
- Tournefortia gnaphalodes (sea lavender) **state endangered**
- Trichostema dichotomum (forked bluecurls)
Beach Dune Plants:
- Ipomoea imperati (beach morningglory)
- Iva imbricata (beach elder)
- Hymenocallis latiforalis (mangrove spiderlily)
- Scaevola plumieri (inkberry) **state threatened**
- Spartina patens (marshhay cordgrass)
- Uniola paniculata (sea oats)
How is this work being done?
The City and the IRC are working together on management strategies and changes for Red Reef and South Beach parks. IRC will conduct large scale exotic species removal, and additional important ecological restoration work will be completed by volunteers of all ages. Community volunteers are a great resource for the City to complete this work efficiently. Our volunteer work days allow for large areas to be cleared or planted within a single morning, and provide a fun and educational activity for residents who want to want to participate. . Sign up to the Sustainability newsletter to learn about future volunteer opportunities and earning service hours.
By the Numbers:
- # of volunteers and/or # of volunteer hours used on the project – 37 volunteers for a total of roughly 100 volunteer hours.
- Area cleared (this is a rough estimate but over 1000 sqft of Scaevola taccada removed)
- Over 1154 pounds of the invasive oysterplant (Tradescantia spathacea)
- Number of native plants installed - 90 plants added to Red Reef so far with 3 more planting volunteer days scheduled between now and the end of September 2023.