October 2005

How One Person Can Make a Huge Difference Toward Preserving More Mesa
Last winter’s heavy rains produced a fabulous wildflower show in spring. Unhappily, fennel seedlings also exploded all over the South Coast, and on More Mesa. Fennel is a robust invasive that can destroy the beauty, accessibility and ecology of More Mesa, if it is allowed to proliferate. Thousands of new fennel seedlings are now established, and will return larger and taller next year. New plants, and the ones that are already firmly established, have produced millions of seeds all over More Mesa; seeds that are long-lived and tenacious. Fennel seeds can be easily scattered by wind … and folks moving about on More Mesa. Walkers, runners, bikers, dogs, riders and horses brushing up against fennel plants, end up inadvertently dropping seeds onto the trail, where they can then be transported to other sections of the Mesa … to start still more colonies next year.

Wind we can’t control, but it would be extremely helpful if More Mesa users could refrain from using trails where they encounter fennel, and are likely to loosen and scatter seeds. It is also crucial not to cut new trails with so many of these seeds around. This practice opens up disturbed ground, which is perfect for colonization. Just these two simple practices … staying clear of fennel and not cutting new trails, can make a world of difference to More Mesa in years to come. Thanks so much for helping!