More than 100 battle invasive weeds at annual Northstar Day | SierraSun.com

More than 100 battle invasive weeds at annual Northstar Day

Nancy P. Ives
Special to the Sun

More than 100 homeowners and representatives from Northstar land management associations came out on May 31.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — It's been said that it sometimes takes a village. That was never truer than on May 31, when more than a hundred folks joined together for the third annual Northstar Day to attack non-native invasive plants.

Armed with shovels, snippers, rakes, hoes and other dangerous-looking implements, 41 homeowners and 69 representatives from Northstar land management associations waged their own private war on invasive weeds at 11 sites on the property.

They dug, pulled, chopped, raked and bagged for most of the morning, collecting more than ten cubic yards of targeted species, which this year included mostly bull thistle and poison hemlock.

After working hard, at what has now become the custom, the tired, hot and dirty weeders were treated to a gourmet lunch prepared by a cadre of other volunteers, headed by Northstar homeowners JoAnn and Joe Polverari.

Northstar homeowner Kathy Welch, who has a PhD in plant pathology, spearheaded the idea of a volunteer weeding workforce several years ago.

"Plants have always been near and dear to my heart," she said. "I saw beginnings of invasive plants here and it was a little scary to me. I'd always thought of this as a pristine and untouched area, but it isn't. The encouraging part was that we were in the early stages of infestation and we could do something about it."

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So, in 2014, Welch and a small group of homeowners decided to tackle what they saw as a growing problem.

That first year they decided to attack non-native invasive plants growing along the roadsides throughout Northstar. About 50 homeowners worked 11 sites and collected about two cubic yards of plants, including white and yellow sweet clover, bull thistle, tumbleweed, cheat grass and poison hemlock.

Last year about the same number of folks participated, with the same results. This year the committee decided to expand the effort.

"We wanted to make Northstar Day a true community effort," Welch said, "so we invited land managers because they're part of our community."

That decision paid off; this year's group harvested nearly five times more invasive plants than in the past.

Several Northstar land managers and their employees worked alongside the Northstar homeowners. Representatives came from Northstar's Condominium Association Management Company (CAMCO), Northstar Community Services District (NCSD), Northstar Property Owners Association (NPOA) as well as Vail Resorts, Welk Resorts and Tahoe Mountain Lodging.

Truckee River Watershed Council supplied information booklets to everyone.

All the sites will continue to be monitored throughout the growing season, Welch said. Results will be reported to Placer County and TRWC to provide information of the efficiency of the methods used to control non-native invasive plants.

Nancy P. Ives is a Northstar homeowner.