VENTURA : Volunteers Sought to Fight Stubborn Weed

The Ventura Audubon Society is organizing a volunteer brigade to clear out one of the most virulent weeds taking hold in the Ventura River estuary, the bamboo-like Arundo donax.

"It's a particularly pernicious kind of plant," said Bobbe Dorsey, who is helping organize the effort. "It will sprout from any joint or any part of the plant."

The thick reed, which grows along the riverbed and banks, must be cut low to the ground and painted with a herbicide. It must then be checked and repainted until it dies. The Audubon Society envisions an ongoing project through the summer to control the weed.

"The city is very pressed for funds and, of course, this is manpower-intensive," Dorsey said.

The volunteer effort would augment a push by public and private agencies to rid the estuary of non-native plants and replant the natural vegetation. The California Coastal Conservancy expects to provide $400,000 for the effort in June, with matching funds coming from city and state agencies.

Volunteers interested in working with the Audubon Society can call Dorsey at 643-1041.

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