Help Detect Invasive Plants in Moro Canyon

It may not look like it, but Moro Canyon is a site of constant battle.  Throughout much of Southern California, plants like black mustard and Russian thistle have invaded pristine landscapes, displacing species that have lived here for millennia.

Crystal Cove is no exception.  Within these coastal hills, State Park natural resource managers actively fight the increasing threat of habitat loss due to invasive species.  Since autumn is the start of the growing season for many non-native plants, October is when we can expect to see the first of these invaders appearing in Moro Canyon

The good news is that with a little bit of time and a keen eye, you can help preserve our backcountry! Since it is much easier to eradicate invasive plants before they establish a foothold, quickly finding new invasive species is of vital importance.  This month, CCA is beginning a new citizen science project to assist Crystal Cove State Park natural resource managers in detecting invasive plants before they become a problem in the Park.

If you are hiking in Moro Canyon, you can use your smartphone to report invasive plant sightings by using the iNaturalist app.  After setting up an iNaturalist account, search for and join the Crystal Cove Invasive Plant Tracking project.  While you’re hiking, you can then use the Crystal Cove Invasive Plant Guide within the project to identify any invasive plants you might encounter and submit your observations to iNaturalist.  Observations will be shared directly with State Park natural resource managers.

If you are interested in learning more about the iNaturalist Citizen Science project and helping us fight invasive plants and monitor animals in the Park, join us for our next Field Science Saturday in Moro Canyon on October 8.



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