This morning, Twin Peaks was radiant.
Not the view from Twin Peaks, which is always amazing: the flowers. It was splendid with drifts of oxalis and mustard, california poppy and lupine, iris and calendula, all set against a vivid green from the lush grass growing there after the winter rain. In some lucky places, there was a honey scent of sweet alyssum.
The honey bees and bumblebees were busy with the oxalis. A little flock of California Tortoiseshell, a migratory butterfly, chased each other over a hillside, but posed briefly for the camera. As did another Californian, the pocket gopher.
Twin Peaks is seldom like this. The flowers bloom only in the spring, and the oxalis and the california poppies scroll their flowers shut like parasols when it’s gray or wet. It takes a sunny spring morning to bring out these flowers in all their beauty.
Predictably – since this is a Native Area – the pesticide is coming out to get rid of the oxalis. They’ve scheduled Garlon spray for March 2-16, before noon. Pity it’ll be just when the flowers are at their loveliest, and if the spray-days are sunny, they’ll hit the bees as well. Presumably they’re not native.
Beautifully written. And they wonder why the bees are dying. Spraying with Garlon is so stupid. If they want to get rid of the oxalis–although it will disappear on its own in a few weeks–they could just pull it out easily.
Actually, there’s a lot of oxalis…
I’m wondering if it really needs to be removed. It seems to coexist just fine with the native species like California poppies and lupine, and it seems to be a good nectar species.
It is not possible to hand-pull all of the oxalis, because the Natural Areas Program does not have the people-resources to do so. As a consequence of having claimed one-third of all parkland in San Francisco and Pacifica (over 1,000 acres), NAP has put themselves in the position of using herbicides to compensate for having bitten off more than they can chew. Some natural areas are visited only once per year. Even popular natural areas, with a volunteer following, are not visited more than once per month for a 3-hour work session.
The use of herbicides by nativists is one of many contradictions in their agenda. They claim to be the greenest of greens, the crème de la crème of environmentalism. Yet they use poisonous herbicides to destroy plants.
Twin Peaks is a good example of their conundrum. It is the watershed that feeds one of San Francisco’s few remaining creeks, running through Glen Canyon below and south of Twin Peaks. This creek and its riparian corridor are one of the so-called “natural areas.” Is the aerial spraying of herbicides on Twin Peaks poisoning the creek in Glen Canyon? Are they sampling the water in that creek to determine if they are fouling their own nest? These and many other questions never have been answered because 15 years after this program was initiated there is still no environmental impact study for the project.
As the webmaster often says, “First do no harm.” Shouldn’t that be the top priority of people who claim to wear the mantle of environmentalism? Unfortunately, the nativist mantra seems to be “First kill non-natives.”
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