Friends of Bidwell Park
P.O. Box 3036
Chico, CA 95927
September 30, 2003

Dear Members of the Stream and Preservation Committee,

Bidwell Park is a unique and important component of our community. The diversity of species is unparalleled within any other Municipal Park in the country. This biodiversity is dependent on the myriad of natural habitats found within the Park including riparian woodlands, oak woodlands, annual grassland, chaparral, vernal pools, seeps, springs, rock outcrops and a major perennial stream.

Protecting these habitats from the invasive non-native plant species that are currently overrunning the Park is essential if we hope to maintain the diversity of native plants and animals that live there now. Many of these weedy plants reproduce prolifically and quickly grow over native plant species. In Lower Park, virtually the entire under story of the riparian corridor is now dominated by introduced plant species.

Local citizens have long shown an interest in removing non-native plants from our community. These groups include the City of Chico, California State University Chico, California State Parks, Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, The California Native Plant Society, Kids and Creeks, Streaminders and Friends of Bidwell Park. Individuals from the community have single handedly removed tons of invasive weeds from the Big Chico Creek watershed.

Although the attempts by the various groups and community volunteers to curb the growth of invasive weed species is noble, without a comprehensive strategy that targets specific species in specific areas, we will fail to prevent the spread of these noxious weeds into native areas of Upper Park and surrounding areas. More organized efforts must be made to remove species such as broom, privet, ivy and olives from Upper Park. Now. Before it becomes virtually impossible, as it has in Lower Park.

Upper Bidwell Park is worth saving in its natural state. It is a unique component of California’s natural heritage and our community. Keeping noxious weeds out of Upper Bidwell Park will protect its native habitats, rich biodiversity, and important ecological functions. Keeping weeds from Upper Bidwell Park also has aesthetic and spiritual value. People need nature.

But nature needs people. If we are to succeed in keeping weeds from taking over Upper Park, Chico needs a plan and the City of Chico also needs to fund the Park Department to implement the plan. Volunteers are eager to help and, as members of the Stream and Preservation Committee, you can help too. Please support the development of a Master Management Plan that emphasizes protecting the natural elements of Bidwell Park with proactive vegetation management. In the upcoming Master Management Plan, a detailed weed management section, including specific weed location maps and control strategies, detailed implementation plans and periodic progress reviews, is key to protecting the natural elements of Bidwell Park for future generations to enjoy. Chico and the community working together can accomplish this.


Josephine Guardino

Cc: Dennis Beardsley, Park Director
Chris Boza, Urban Forester