Letter to the Editor

Invasive dune grass

San Luis ObispoFebruary 22, 2013 

The Tribune’s Feb. 8 editorial contemplates a “bouquet of dune grass” for Nipomo Mesa dust activists Larry and Arlene Versaw “if they lighten up.”

Dune grass, properly known as ammophila arenaria, is an invasive exotic species classified as “high threat” by the California Invasive Plant Council.

A weed.

Hundreds of acres of A. arenaria were intentionally planted last century by railroad, real estate, agricultural and flood control interests because this toxic grass has one outstanding talent: halting blowing sand. You think Nipomo has a blowing dust problem? You should have been here 100 years ago.

A. arenaria spreads like wildfire, crowding out rare natives and the snowy plover. It is the single largest destructive force in our dunes. It plagues miles of our coastline, including Morro Bay and beyond.

Grover Beach’s city website depicts this weed motif as scenery.

The Air Pollution Control District wants hundreds more acres unnaturally vegetated.

Single-issue land management deserves an apropos bouquet of weeds.

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