Mountain Home Village Tree of Heaven Removal
Site Background: Mountain Home Village, a small community in San Bernardino County situated northeast of Yucaipa, is located next to Mill Creek, which is an important tributary to the Santa Ana River. Because this creek is situated in the upper reaches of the Santa Ana River watershed, it has been identified as a critical location for control of invasive plants to prevent downstream spread of non-native species. In 2013, residents of Mountain Home Village community first began working with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to voluntarily document locations of the invasive tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) within private properties, primarily due to their location immediately adjacent to the also-infested Forest Service parcels. Ultimately, the IERCD determined control of these mapped infestations as appropriate for special projects funds monies due to (1) implications of lack of control of tree of heaven on adjacent USFS lands, (2) its position in the upper Santa Ana River watershed, (3) willingness of landowners to take responsibility for long-term property maintenance as a companion to partner agency direct and in-kind funding, and (4) alignment with IERCD mission and strategic plan.
Project Work: Mountain Home Village upper and lower regions represent the central section of a 406-A polygon identified as in need of invasive vegetation removal involving a number of target species; these include but are not limited to tree of heaven, Spanish broom, and Arundo donax, among others. Within this 406-A, Mountain Home Village represents 80-A surveyed, of which 10% are 100% infested with tree of heaven. This infestation is spread across multiple private properties belonging to tens of homeowners, none of which are eligible for USFS funding or assistance due to their status as non-public parcels. The IERCD chose to participate in this project, both due to our flexibility in working with public and private lands, and due to our commitment to community outreach, education, and eradication of target invasive species to the best of our ability, particularly in the upper Santa Ana River watershed.
On October 17th, 2016 the IERCD initiated tree of heaven basal bark and foliar spray treatments. Over the course of two weeks in cooperation with community leaders and private landowners, the IERCD treated over 600 trees. 50 of these trees are large and pose a threat to nearby structures. They are slated to be removed by the end of 2016. There are still many stands of tree of heaven in and around Mountain Home Village and IERCD will continue to work with homeowners, US Forest Service, and other property owners in the area.