Acacia shrub removal announcement PVPLC Sept. 2019

Officials announcing the Acacia shrub removal project include (from left) Vic Nol (Southern California Edison), James O'Neill (Rancho Palos Verdes public works), Mayor Pro Tem John Cruikshank and Rancho Palos Verdes City Councilmembers Eric Alegria and Susan Brooks with Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy Executive Director Adrienne Mohan. (Photo by John Dickinson)

To reduce local fire risk, the city of Rancho Palos Verdes will spend up to $200,000 to remove invasive Acacia shrubs, a high-hazard plant, from some 38 acres inside the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, the city said.

“Safety is always the No.1 priority for us...and this is a very important project,” said Mayor Jerry Duhovic. “Fuel modification/remediation is the city’s responsibility - we’re talking about the potential loss of life and property.”

The project will address the larger-than expected amount of the invasive Acacia weeds -- a top concern to local fire agencies -- that are growing around the Peninsula due to heavy rainfall followed by warm weather.

The Acacia -- which is comprised of approximately 90 percent dry plant matter and volatile resins -- is highly combustive, which puts it on the list for priority removal, the city said, noting the plant is particularly problematic near power lines.

In partnership with the city, the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy will oversee the project to reduce the local fuel load vegetation using a specialized approach to remove the invasive plants over the next four to six weeks from areas including Portuguese Canyon, near Vanderlip and Narcissa Drives, as well as the San Ramon Reserve.

To ensure in the most effective and cost-efficient technique possible, volunteers and/or goats will be deployed to augment the work volume and control costs, according to the PVPLC.

“We are thrilled that the city council agrees this is a priority project and is willing to take important measures to ensure public safety and protection of our local natural environment,” said Adrienne Mohan, the PVPLC executive director.

Removal of the Acacia will also benefit efforts to preserve local habitat area for native plant species.

“I am pleased the Conservancy is partnering with us for the dual purpose that will result in protecting both our residents' homes and the natural areas we value that are so important to all of us,” said Councilwoman Susan Brooks. “It behooves us to have a peninsula-wide plan to explore fuel load reduction for the safety in all four of the Peninsula cities and the unincorporated area.”

Conservancy staff and interns are currently mapping Acacia throughout the preserve and coordinating with the L.A. Zoo to donate Acacia leaves to the zoo’s commissary for zebras, gorillas and giraffes.

Once the mapping is completed, the Conservancy will develop a plan to identify strategic priorities for the additional removal of Acacia and other combustible vegetation in the Preserve.

“The goal is to have an action plan that is comprehensive and to incorporate that into the budget each year,” said Councilman Eric Alegria.

The approval of the Acacia removal also comes as the city launched a disaster-readiness campaign, according to a statement.

Residents who prepare or purchase an emergency kit, complete the L.A. County Fire Department’s “Ready! Set! Go!” Personal Wildfire Action Plan and post a photo or video showing each completed part of the challenge on social media with the hashtag #ReadyRPV by Oct. 12 will be entered into a drawing.

The winner will receive a one-night stay in an Ocean-View King Guest Room at Terranea Resort with either golf or spa day passes for two; plus breakfast for two at Catalina Kitchen.

For contest details, visit https://www.rpvca.gov/1251/Ready-RPV-Challenge

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