Invasives are plant and animal species that have evolved in one region and are introduced, usually by humans, to another region. They spread quickly and can displace native species by eating them and/or their food source. Invasives can also damage the environment and even threaten human health. The Las Virgenes-Triunfo Joint Powers Authority (JPA) supports efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of invasives.
Much of the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District service area lies within the sensitive Malibu Creek Watershed. Over the last 100 years, much of the native aquatic life, including steelhead trout and red-legged frogs, has been impacted by invasives, such as crayfish (pictured right) and New Zealand mud snails. Crayfish are fiercely aggressive, eating everything from small fish to frog eggs and aquatic bugs; and while the New Zealand mud snail eats troublesome algae, it also produces ideal conditions for new algal blooms. Algal blooms not only create a poor habitat for aquatic life but also toxins that can sicken or kill animals and people.
In addition, an invasive plant called Arundo donax has become established in the watershed. This fast-growing, invasive plant outcompetes native plant species and absorbs large quantities of water, depriving native fish and wildlife of water they need for survival.
When Malibu Creek dries up, the JPA releases recycled water from its Tapia Water Reclamation Facility into the Creek to help preserve the habitat for endangered steelhead trout and other native aquatic life.
Invasive plants and weeds can also outcompete native plant species and eliminate the habitat and food source of native fish and wildlife. They can also provide food and shelter for undesirable non-native animals.
Certain invasive plants can even increase wildfire danger. While many invasives are drought-tolerant, they don’t belong in fire-prone Southern California.
Review this list of invasive plants before converting your lawn to a water-efficient landscape.
See our Native Plant Guide for a list of drought-tolerant, non-invasive plants.
More ways to stop the spread of invasives:
- Do not release pets, aquatic animals or plants into the wild.
- Wipe down your boat, trailer and fishing equipment after each use. Be careful not to release any non-native fish or bait into the water. Watch this video for proper boat cleaning instructions.
- Wash boots and tires before hiking/traveling to or returning from a different watershed location. Let boots dry at least three days before using them in a different watershed.