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IMPACT - Invasive Plant Control

Volunteer for the Invasive Management, Plant Assessment and Conservation Team (I.M.P.A.C.T.)

Watch the video about our latest project

IMPACT is a volunteer team dedicated to helping remove invasive plant species from the San Diego River Watershed. This dedicated team is supported by one of the River Park Foundation field staff. Volunteers receive training and learn about how to restore native vegetation to support a healthy ecoystem. You are invited to join the team!


Team IMPACT currently focuses their efforts on three areas in the lower section of the San Diego River: Mission Valley Preserve, near Fashion Valley Mall, and the River Center at Grant Park.


Invasive plants can have a huge effect by disturbing native flora and fauna, increasing soil erosion, fire and flood hazards, and degrading water quality. As the name suggests, this team has a wide-reaching IMPACT that will affect the health of the San Diego River Watershed for generations to come.


Click here for a flyer about this program's current restoration project near Fashion Valley Mall, or watch the video above for more information about the project.

Two Primary Goals of the IMPACT Team:

1. Transform disturbed areas of the riverbed into a healthy, restored river ecosystem

2. Increase natural spaces and improve the aesthetic value of the San Diego River


Join Us As a Volunteer

If you are available on Tuesday mornings, interested in meeting a fantastic group of hard working people, and want to make a difference for the San Diego River, then this may be the opportunity for you!


If you are interested, please click here for more information about the next event, or contact us through email or by calling (619) 297-7380.


Here are before and after photographs of a large stand of giant reed (Arundo donax) that was removed by Team IMPACT. Removing these giant reeds will allow both native plants and wildlife to recolonize this area, as giant reeds often monopolize space, water, and sunlight.




What is an Invasive Plant Species and Why Do We Care?

An invasive plant species is a non-native plant that has been introduced that causes environmental or economic harm to an ecosystem. A common characteristic to a successful invasive plant is one that grows aggressively, spreads, and displaces other native plants. Most commonly, invasive plant species are most successful in regions that possess a similar climate to their home location.


Invasive species can negatively affect multiple levels of an ecosystem's natural processes:




Invasive species drastically reduce the resilience of an ecosystem. Environmental resilience is an ecosystem's ability to maintain its normal patterns of nutrient cycling and biomass production after being subjected to damage caused by an ecological or human disturbance, like a fire, flood, or pollution event.


Invasive plants can increase risk of soil erosion, fire and flood hazards, and degrade water quality and quantity.
Invasive plants are comparatively poor habitat for native wildlife, and often reduce biodiversity.


Invasive Plants We Target For Removal

• Giant reed (Arundo donax)

• Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia)

• Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)

• Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis)

• Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia robusta)

• Acacia (Acacia spp.)

• Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.)

• Castor bean (Ricinus communis)

• Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana)

• Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)


Want to learn more about these plants? Download our flyer.


Where Do Invasive Plants Occur in the San Diego Riverbed and Where Do They Come From?

Unfortunately, invasive plants are common in the San Diego River Watershed, especially in the lower, more developed reaches of the San Diego River. Many invasive plants are introduced by people, either on accident, such as in livestock feed or hooves, or on purpose as an ornamental plant. These can then escape into native habitats when their seeds are carried by wind, water, or animals.


The San Diego River Park Foundation recently completed a survey to map targeted invasive plants along the Lower San Diego River. The Lower River Exotic Weed Mapping Report is available for download. This report has guided our planning with landowners to take a watershed approach to managing these invasive species.


Where Does the San Diego River Park Foundation Work?

The San Diego River Park Foundation completes invasive plant removal and control on our own lands, including our backcountry preserves and as part of our River Center at Grant Park project.


In addition, we work with willing land owner partners, such as the City of San Diego and City of Santee, as well as private landowners to remove invasive plants as part of a watershed-wide effort to reduce the harmful impacts of invasive plants. Often, we partner with the San Diego River Conservancy to comply with applicable environmental regulations.


If you have additional questions about invasive plants, please contact us by email or phone: (619) 297-7380.




Help us keep the River beautiful for the next generation.
Volunteer now »



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