The November 2008 Freeway Complex Fire burned down all of the 20 foot tall, dense Arundo donax (giant reed) in Carbon Creek. With the biomass removed by the fire, there was a window of opportunity to get rid of this invasive, water hogging, stream choking weed. Arundo grows so fast and uses so much water that it prevents native plants from growing and prevents wildlife from accessing the creek. It has no biological usefulness. Since Arundo does not branch, birds can’t nest in it and since it contains silica (glass) wildlife can’t eat it. In addition it is highly flammable. Streams are supposed to slow the progression of a fire, but the Arundo in Carbon Creek carried the fire upstream.
A large and committed coalition has come together to get rid of the Arundo once and for all by spraying it with an herbicide. Project partners include: California Department of Parks and Recreation, CalFire, Caltrans, Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council, Chino Valley Fire District, City of Brea, City of Brea Fire Department, Hills For Everyone, Santa Ana River & Orange County Weed Management Area, and Santa Ana Watershed Association.
Hills For Everyone’s first $5,000 started the ball rolling. Brea followed with $25,000 and CalFire has approved $40,000. Though more funds are needed, the project is on its way to helping Carbon Creek act like a real stream once again.
Timeline of Arundo since the 2008 Freeway Complex Fire