CLIENT: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
PARTNERS: National Park Service; Ropeworks Inc
In addition to having one of the most scenic viewsheds in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area where the Golden Gate Bridge lands north, the Marin Headlands encompass the northern-most range of the Federal Endangered Mission Blue Butterfly (Icaricia icarioides missionensis). This species is dependent upon a handful of perennial lupine species-predominantly silver lupine (Lupinus albifrons)–on which to lay its eggs and feed while in larval form. Its already limited range has been negatively impacted by habitat loss due to human development, while the remaining open space is being qualitatively threatened by invasion of myriad exotic plants, foremost among them are purple pampas grass–Cortaderia jubata.
In line with protecting these threatened resources, Shelterbelt was contracted in 2006 by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service to control the invasive purple pampas grass (Cortaderia jubata) along the rocky coastal faces of the Headlands, starting from the Golden Gate Bridge heading north to just south of Stinson Beach. Given the inaccessibility of much of the work area, almost no previous control work had ever been attempted. Shelterbelt partnered with the Skala Inc (an industrial rope access firm) to access the steep rock faces above the Pacific Ocean where many of the pampas grass were established. While the entire site required off-trail hikes for access, many of the treatment zones necessitated that crews rappel down cliff faces to reach the plants where they were ultimately treated with herbicides.