San Francisco Weed
This Strategic Plan outlines the framework in which the San Francisco
Management Area (SFWMA) will accomplish its goals. The Plan
the problem of invasive weeds and the mission of the SFWMA. It
the various program elements the SFWMA will pursue in order to manage
weeds. The accompanying Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
the SFWMA and defines the terms and conditions under which
agencies and individuals will cooperate and coordinate their activities.
The mission of the SFWMA is to promote and coordinate activities
to prevent the introduction, spread and establishment of invasive weeds
the City and County of San Francisco. In addition, the SFWMA
to educate the general public and others about the problem of weedy
and help make this knowledge more integral to the way urban dwellers
with the land. Thus, the two principal arenas of action will be
employing an integrated strategy for exclusion, detection, eradication
suppression of designated invasive weeds and 2) developing a
education program targeted to local decision-makers, landowners and the
general public about invasive weeds, including their identification,
The San Francisco Peninsula is a globally-significant hotspot for
and biodiversity. The region harbors the Golden Gate Biosphere
which includes many of the natural lands in San Francisco County.
weeds are a serious threat to San Francisco's natural resources.
threaten our precious remnants of the original landscape including
for rare plants and wildlife. Weeds can have the following
negative effects on the land and people:
• Create fire danger
• Promote soil erosion
• Impair unique geologic resources
• Threaten local food productivity
• Dominate open space areas turning them into
impenetrable, and potentially unsafe wastelands
• Reduce water quality, including sedimentation and
in San Francisco Bay
• Increase costs for private landowners and land
San Francisco has many areas where the proximity of intense urban
to wildlands can lead to invasive weeds escaping from developed and
areas into natural areas. Of the thousands of plants in the
trade, only a handful are considered to be invasive weeds. These plant
are capable of spreading rapidly and displacing native plants because
are adapted to similar climatic conditions, lack predators or pests
have other characteristics that make them thrive. San Francisco
also host to a number of endangered plant and animal species. If
invasive weeds are allowed to spread and take over important native
habitat, the survival
of these species, and the natural heritage they contain, is at risk.
San Francisco includes lands that fall under multiple political
In addition, several non-governmental organizations exist which are
in issues related to weed management and conservation. Several
and organizations are currently running successful conservation
that address the problem of invasive weeds. However, because
species are easily spread and do not abide by political or
jurisdictional boundaries, there is a need to coordinate weed
management activities across
political and organizational boundaries. The formation of the
will serve the overall shared vision of creating a City and County
from the scourge of invasive weeds.
The goals of the SFWMA that provide the framework for this Strategic
1. Protect and enhance the biodiversity of San
2. Make San Francisco’s rich natural heritage
3. Ensure that invasive weeds are not the primary
of degradation or demise of rare and/or endangered plant and animal
or geologic features within our unique native habitats
4. Increase the effectiveness of invasive weed
5. Eradicate or contain key weeds from the priority
6. Reduce fire hazard
7. Ensure invasive weeds are not significantly
to reduced water quality
8. Educate the public about invasive weeds and what
can do to help
9. Make invasive weed management a priority for all
San Francisco’s land management agencies
10. Cooperate in an adaptive management program which
responds to monitoring data
The following sections outline the weed management program, emphasizing
application of Integrated Weed Management practices. The plan
be revised annually to reflect program successes and new challenges.
The invasive weed management program in San Francisco is a cooperative
among federal, state and local agencies and other interested
and individuals. SFWMA cooperators will join resources, priorities and
into unified action. These organizations and agencies will cooperate in
grants and other financial aid and may supply money, personnel
and/or staff) and/or equipment (see also the attached MOU).
Integrated Weed Management is a system used to plan and recommend
methods to prevent, contain or manage the spread of undesirable plant
or groups of species. Strategic use of all available tools and
is economically and environmentally more effective than depending on
single option. The elements of integrated management include:
1. Education and outreach, to encourage public
2. Prevention and early detection of incipient
3. Mapping and inventory of existing populations
4. Management (physical/mechanical, biological,
cultural) of existing infestations
5. Monitoring and evaluation of completed weed
projects (See Program Elements below)
Since many invasive weeds are found in San Francisco, an integrated
to manage these populations could minimize their negative effects and
future infestations of undesirable plant species.
Because so many invasive weeds thrive in San Francisco County, it is
to manage everything at once. Prioritization is therefore
The SFWMA’s prioritization of weed species for management action
the experience and expertise of its members, as well as federal and
laws and regulations. Whether a certain weed is eradicated,
or otherwise managed may be determined by 1) state rating, 2) pest
in San Francisco, 3) size of infestation in the county, 4) whether
control methods are available and/or 5) whether there is interest from
agencies, organizations or other landowners. We focus our limited
on the highest priority weed species. Please see attached list of
Weeds For Management Action In San Francisco County. Weed
activities are not limited to species on this list, which may be
EDUCATION, AWARENESS AND OUTREACH
Education is one of the best tools for preventing the further spread of
species, locating previously unknown and remote weed populations, and
rallying support for managing and eradicating infested sites. A
goal of the SFWMA is to raise awareness about the threat invasive weeds
to local native plants and wildlife, fragile riparian corridors and
species, public and private landscapes, and other treasured elements of
Francisco’s ecosystems and aesthetic. This effort requires a
well-coordinated, well-funded, and long-term program targeted at agency
and the public.
1. The SFWMA is in the process of producing a
which is targeted to the general public and describes priority weeds in
City and County of San Francisco, their impacts and key contacts for
Once complete, a targeted distribution list for the brochure will be
to ensure priority audiences receive copies.
2. The SFWMA is currently distributing copies of the
Invasive Plant Council’s (Cal-IPC) “Don’t Plant a Pest” brochures to
agency landscape maintenance personnel, commercial plant nurseries,
environmental organizations, libraries, and other public and private
3. SFWMA members participate in on-going educational
outreach activities aimed at invasive weed awareness and
For example, SFWMA members participate in Cal-IPC’s outreach booth at
annual San Francisco Landscape Garden Show, as well as the Strybing
Summer Garden Fair, San Francisco Integrated Pest Management Technical
Committee, San Francisco’s Annual Restoration Conference, and other
professional and volunteer organizations. The SFWMA plans to
in “World Environment Day” activities in June 2005 hosted by the City
and County of San Francisco.
4. The SFWMA plans to maintain a website through the
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Weed Management
website. Efforts to add invasive weed education and resource links to
maintained by the San Francisco Department of the Environment, San
Department of Recreation and Parks, San Francisco Public Utilities
and other local websites will also be undertaken.
PREVENTION, EXCLUSION AND
Preventing a weed pest from becoming established in an area avoids
costs for managing that pest. Prevention covers all aspects of
an invasive species from becoming established in a new territory.
components of prevention commonly include exclusion, detection and
of small or isolated infestations. Public outreach is a key component
all aspects of prevention.
Exclusion includes activities to prevent an invasive species from
the border of a region. At the national or state level, this
includes border inspections. At the county and city level, it often
heavily on appeals to the public to use caution in activities that can
or unintentionally move species. It also includes county
activities such as plant quarantine inspections, nursery inspections,
other weed exclusion activities.
Detection and eradication of early small infestations involves locating
removing weeds that have eluded the exclusion system. Because new weeds
constantly being introduced into the region, a good detection system is
to reducing the cost of eradication and increasing the chances of a
Quarantine, nursery inspection and other regulatory activities related
the prevention of the spread of weeds is typically the responsibility
the agricultural commissioner. As of Sept. 1, 2004, the City Department
Consumer Assurance has been dismantled and now the nurseries inspection
of the San Francisco Department of Environmental Health regularly
nurseries and performs plant quarantine inspections of incoming plant
shipments for listed regulated weeds.
1. The SFWMA plans to develop an Invasive Weed
Resource List. This document will list such resources such as:
• locations where organizations and individuals can
weeds for identification and where to report locations of suspected
weeds in the City,
• key literature, websites, and organizations that
invasive weed prevention and management,
• “weed pulling” volunteer days at local parks, open
and natural areas,
• educational activities on invasive weed prevention
management targeted at youth and schools, and
• contact information on speakers available to
invasive weed issues and activities.
2. On-going monitoring activities by SFWMA members
of A-rated, B-rated and Q-rated weeds will help detect early stage
3. Through education and outreach (see previous
the SFWMA will encourage public and private entities to use
techniques to keep invasive weeds from becoming established in new
SURVEY, INVENTORY AND MAPPING
A strategic and long-term approach to invasive weed management is based
a solid knowledge of the countywide distribution of the weeds.
includes low-resolution mapping where weeds are common and higher
mapping in areas where weeds are rare. Knowing the location of
priority weed species through mapping and weed inventory will allow for
appropriate implementation of management strategies. Mapping
weeds are not found is as important as recording where they are
It is important to classify non-surveyed lands as "non-surveyed" rather
1. The SFWMA will collect and synthesize existing
weed inventories and vegetation maps from the various public agencies
organizations in San Francisco with vegetation management
The objective is to develop a baseline inventory of existing invasive
within the county. Funding will be sought to create a countywide
Information System (GIS) that will compile data on target invasive
This database will collect all existing geographic data and form the
for ongoing data acquisition. If possible, one of the agency
of the SFWMA will be funded to expand its existing GIS invasive weed
to include new data from other agencies/organizations in the
This expanded file would be shared by all participants in order to
2. The SFWMA will coordinate a working group
of representatives of major land-managing organizations in the
The working group will develop consistent standards and protocols to
compatibility of data gathered by each organization.
3. The SFWMA will facilitate increased use of Global
System units by organization staff as well as the general public in
infestations. Other mapping methods will be explored as appropriate.
4. The SFWMA will generate GIS layers for each high
weed in the county.
AND PROJECT MONITORING
The fundamental means by which the biodiversity of San Francisco’s
ecosystems and heritage can be preserved and restored is through
weed management in natural areas. Integrated Weed Management
is a systems approach to management of undesirable plants. IWM is
in the Federal Noxious Weed Act as a "system for the planning and
of a program, using an interdisciplinary approach, to select a method
controlling undesirable plant species or group of species using all
available methods, including education, prevention, physical or
biological control agents, herbicide methods, cultural methods, and
land management practices." IWM, combined with revegetation
re-introduction efforts, will help ensure that invasive weeds are not
primary cause of degradation or demise of rare and/or endangered plant
animal species or geologic features within our unique native habitats.
Adaptive management is a flexible learning-based approach to natural
management. This approach recognizes that some uncertainty exists
natural systems and the processes that define them. Adaptive
is a continuous cycle of planning, implementation, monitoring and
used to evaluate successes and failures of management techniques.
Several Integrated Pest Management (IPM) laws and regulations apply to
management in San Francisco. IPM is a science- based,
process that coordinates knowledge of pest biology, the
and available technology to prevent unacceptable levels of pest
by cost-effective means, while posing the least possible risk to
resources and the environment.
The City and County of San Francisco’s IPM Ordinance is the legal
for decision-making on pest management practices occurring on
property. The IPM Ordinance requires department IPM plans, places
on pesticide use, requires posting of intent to apply pesticides prior
applications, and requires regular reporting of pesticide use.
pesticides included on the City’s “Reduced-Risk Pesticide List” (AKA
Pesticide List”) are allowed. The IPM Ordinance and the
Pesticide List can be viewed at www.sfgov.org/sfenvironment.
On National Park Service (NPS) lands, the NPS “implements a nationwide
Pest Management Program to reduce risks to the public, park resources,
the environment from pests and pest-related management strategies (http://www.nature.nps.gov/biology/ipm/)”.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation monitors pesticide
throughout the state.
Several SFWMA member groups have active weed management and habitat
programs. Some local, state and federal land management agencies
dedicated staff that manage weeds and restore natural areas. In
the Presidio Site Stewards, the San Francisco Recreation and Park
Natural Areas Program and the California Native Plant Society, among
have on-going community-based habitat restoration programs throughout
Francisco that involve thousands of volunteers each year. The
and on-going participation of these land stewards are critical to the
long-term survival of natural areas in San Francisco.
1. The SFWMA will work with CDFA to locate sites for
of A-rated weeds, share information and work together to eradicate
weeds, and share information with each other and CDFA about locations
impacts of newly discovered Q-rated weeds.
2. SFWMA members will share experience with weed
project monitoring, and revegetation strategies through presentations
group members at open meetings.
3. The SFWMA will develop an annual Integrated Weed
Plan, which will set forth additional priority activities for the
4. Using the GIS database described above (see
Inventory and Mapping above), the SFWMA will coordinate countywide
weed management activities among partner agencies and
Collaborative efforts will include prioritizing target species,
management activities, and where possible pooling labor, equipment,
and other resources.
5. Document the effectiveness of weed management
for priority weed species for dissemination to land managers and other
Funding for all phases of invasive weed management is chronically
Managing the current rate of spread of major weeds and the introduction
new species is challenging and requires additional funding and
beyond current levels.
1. The SFWMA is seeking a sponsoring agency to act as
agent and point of contact.
2. SFWMA is also seeking funding for:
• a paid Coordinator
• GIS database
• educational materials
• specific weed management projects
• documenting the effectiveness of weed management
3. Member groups of the SFWMA are obtaining grants
various foundations and agencies. Partnering with other SFWMA groups
the likelihood for success in obtaining grants.
4. Member groups will provide in-kind support for the
Weed Management Area and Projects.
List of Priority Weeds For Management Action
In San Francisco County (PDF file) - This is
a dynamic priority list, so if you have corrections or additions,
send an email message to the SFWMA Chair at: email@example.com.