Conservation Update, 2014 Nov | Stinkwort, Saddle Crest, Aliso Creek


A colony of Stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens) has recently been discovered in Arroyo Trabuco at the edge of Ladera Ranch. Stinkwort is one of California’s most serious invasive plant threats, especially in the Bay Area and northern Central Valley. This was the first time it had been discovered in OC. It was found by OC wildflower expert Bob Allen. The population covers about 1.7 acres along a narrow gravel roadway and adjacent footpath in an area just north of the Crown Valley Parkway bridge over Trabuco Creek.

Bob immediately reported the infestation to OCCNPS and within a few days chapter members had mapped the infestation and begun steps to insure its immediate removal.

OCCNPS’ Invasive Plant Subcommittee, led by Dr. Jutta Burger, Ron Vanderhoff and Celia Kutcher, with Bob’s assistance, communicated the significance and urgency of the infestation to Jennifer Naegele, Chief Restoration Ecologist at OC Parks. Because the plants were already dispersing seed, if OC Parks was unable to act swiftly, our chapter offered to mobilize its own volunteers. With our urging, Jennifer and OC Parks have organized resources to remove this year’s infestation. Ongoing removal efforts, combined with several years of monitoring will be needed to ensure complete eradication. OCCNPS will continue to monitor the area. (Many thanks to Ron Vanderhoff for the information in this article.)

ACTION NOW:  Familiarize yourself with the photos of Stinkwort and other information on this plant in the above linked document. Be on the lookout for it when you’re out wildflower-watching. Stinkwort is almost exclusively found in disturbed soils, as along roadsides and trails. If you see it, please record its exact location and take some identifying photos. If you take a sample, please place it immediately into a sealed bag. Also, since the seeds readily attach themselves to moving targets, please check your clothing and shoes thoroughly before leaving the area and remove and bag all traces of seeds. Report the find immediately to Jutta, Ron or Celia (contact information is on the back page of this newsletter). You may also want to familiarize yourself with CalWeedMapperand report the occurrence on their site. By taking these actions, you will be a big help in protecting our natural areas from the threat of this highly invasive plant.


The hearing that had been scheduled for Oct. 21 has been rescheduled for Dec. 16, 1 PM, 601 West Santa Ana Blvd, Santa Ana.  On the chance that the hearing will again be rescheduled, check with Celia Kutcher the day before if you’d like to attend. See all 2013 and 2014, and earlier, Conservation Reports for background on this long-running issue.


The Army Corps of Engineers presented their Aliso Creek Mainstem Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study at a Stakeholder Information Meeting on Sept. 17. The PowerPoint presentation and additional info are on, on the “Aliso Creek Reports and Studies” subpage under the “Watershed Programs – Our Watersheds” tab. The Study is part of the basis on which the Corps will decide whether to fund the restoration project.

Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

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