We are at the north end of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area near the estuary of the Siuslaw River in Florence. The grass growing on and covering these dunes is European Beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria), an invasive plant that was introduced in the 1920s. It was an excellent example of the principle of unintended consequences. The apparent solution of one problem resulted in a number of others.
|Deflation basin in the south jetty area of the Siuslaw River|
Another problem with many invasive species is that they don't tend to stay where they are supposed to. The desired level of control was achieved in some places, but the grass continued to spread far beyond, invading areas like the Oregon Dunes where open dune environments were still desired. The beach grass is now found on coasts from Southern California to British Columbia. And it is extremely difficult to control or remove.
The grass can be pulled manually (by volunteers most of the time) but roots are always left deep in the sand and the grass soon sprouts again. The shoots have to be pulled seven or eight times before the grass is truly gone. It's hard work. Bulldozers and other mechanical means can be used, but the expenses are high. Some herbicides can be used as well, but the disruptions to the native species can be profound. All in all it is a sticky problem.
Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative which works to preserve and rehabilitate the dune system.