Sep 24, 2014 10:10 PM
Environmentalists are concerned about Chico's overgrown arundo weeds, especially in light of recent fires in the Lindo Channel, compounded by the extreme drought. According to Susan Mason with the California Native Plant Society, arundo was brought to the U.S. in the 1930's, and was planted in creeks and channels to help with erosion control. But it grew very quickly and has taken over Chico's many channels. It burns very hot, even when it's green, creating a very dangerous situation for the homes that flank Chico's channels. Mason points out that an added risk are the many homeless encampments, where people commonly burn campfires. She says Chico has been lucky so far, but there is a very serious risk involved with continuing to let it grow.