The annual Lupine Bash returns to tackle invasive species

Now you won’t find any sandworms on these dunes, but you will find an invasive species known as the yellow lupine.

Friends of the Dune’s 43rd Annual Lupine Bash event is here for residents to take out and protect the dunes from the species.

“This plant is an extremely prolific spreader of seeds, so you might have seen yellow pone lupin driving by Clam Beach, and when you go by in the summer and springtime, you can see a beautiful field of yellow flowers. Each one of those flowers will make a seed pod that puts seed into our sand,” recreation management Justin Legge said.

Because of this, the mother plant needs to be bashed in to stop the spread.

Those heading to the bash will be given the proper materials to take out the pesky lupine horde.

“We are using hand tools, axe blades, and shovels to try and get some of the roots out. But most of our work is going out with axes, chop the bush down right at the ground, stick ’em in a pile, and those piles will be burned eventually,” Legge said.

While the focus remains on lupine, there are other invasive species on the prowl, ready to take over.

“Our other main invasive species is known as European beach grass. It stabilizes our four dunes, but it also takes over much of the habitat. The third invasive plant that we work on removing is the ice plant. This plant is a succulent species that also grows on our beaches,” Legge said.

These two fearsome foes take over open sand areas and make it hard for native plants to grow.

The Lupine Bash is more than plant removal. It is an opportunity to learn about the biodiversity of the dunes with others.

“Not only are you supporting our ecosystems, but when you’re out there with 30 to 40 people with like-minded interests in protecting native diversity and working together, it’s a great way to meet each other and meet friends,” Legge said. “You can see the diversity increase as you’re out there doing it. Actually, getting next to a native plant and feeling like you’re protecting one individual life form can be a powerful experience.”

And it’s an experience worth sharing to protect a piece of Humboldt’s natural wonder.

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