Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


rundo donax is an invasive non-native perennial grass indigenous to the Mediterranean region. Arundo was introduced to California by Spanish settlers in the 1800's and today is invading riparian habitats of North America, specifically in California. In fact, the California Exotic Plant Pest Council (CalEPPC) has included Arundo donax as one of the top five species of concern because of the associated environmental problems such as flood-control, fire-hazard, critical habitat loss, water quality, and water conservation. This study aimed: 1) to discuss the most effective management methods of Arundo donax infestations and the appropriate methods for restoring native vegetation in riparian areas, 2) to answer whether Arundo can be differentiated from similar riparian vegetation using remote sensing, which is the first step in any assessment protocol for the Arundo invasion in the Salinas Valley Watershed, and 3) to develop a policy recommendation for the Arundo invasion of Monterey County, California that is primarily based on ethics and history. Overall, this study is an assessment and management protocol for Arundo donax in the Salinas Valley Watershed. This study found that the most effective methods in eradicating Arundo are the foliar 2-5% herbicide application method and the cut stump 100% herbicide application method. In developing a basis for an assessment protocol, this study found that Arundo can be differentiated from similar riparian vegetation on high-resolution digital Color-IR imagery. It appeared that after an unsupervised classification was completed on the Color-IR that Arundo was most similar to willow. Furthermore, from the supervised classification, this study found that Arundo is significantly different than willows in their designated reflectance properties. As such, remote sensing can be a useful tool in mapping the extent of the Arundo invasion in the Salinas Valley. The final result of this study concerning the policy recommendation is that before Monterey County can begin to deal with its Arundo environmental problems, there should be a complete understanding of why the county is even faced with Arundo. Also, there should be a collaborative effort, including the private and public sectors of Monterey County, in the management and eradication of Arundo. And finally, in determining the appropriate policy for Monterey County through collaborative action, look to examples as a guide where the implementation of Arundo policies have been successful. Since Monterey County has proposed a countywide Invasive Weed Management Plan, this study recommends that Arundo be included for immediate assessment and management before the Arundo invasion becomes problematic in the Salinas River and its Watershed.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Earth Systems Science & Policy Institute