Our March 27th Broom Buster Event to begin the process of removing Scotch Broom a highly flammable and invasive plant from St. Helena Creek in Middletown was very successful and we cleared approximately 3-acre feet. We had a total of 59 volunteers who did an outstanding job of participating in this event. We had two volunteers that came from out of County, one from San Jose and one from Ukiah.
Before actually working on removing the Broom, we had lofty goals of going from the small bridge on St. Helena Creek across from the Calpine Information Center to the Hwy 29 St. Helena Creek Bridge. At the end of the event, we had cleared a great portion of the area from Perry’s Deli to the small St. Helena Creek bridge.
We learned that Scotch Broom is not easy to remove. We learned that motorized equipment was effective in cutting the broom and more volunteers with this skill were needed and with an increase number of those with this skill, more volunteers are needed to carry the cut broom to the removal piles. We learned that rocks grow up into the middle of the plant and dull blades. We learned that the removing of the cut broom requires several trailers and multiple volunteers to load it, and we will need to make this effort an annual event.
We will be on the lookout for grants that would allow us to hire professionals to come in and completely clear from bridge to bridge and then it will be up to the community to be responsible for upkeep.
We would like to thank the following organizations for their support of this event:
Middletown Area Town Hall
BroomBusters.org, our partner in Vancouver Island, Canada (visit their website for more information)
Laurel Bard, Civicspark Fellow with Clear Lake Environmental Research Center
California Fire Safe Council for newsletters
South Lake Fire Safe Council (SLFSC), Marty Englander, Liz Black, Wendy Collins
South Lake County Fire Protection District
North Coast Opportunity EPIC Listos program for lunches and the Emergency Go Bags
Middletown Rancheria Environmental Dept. and Maintenance Dept.
Calpine Corporation for support of SLFSC and donating vests and gloves
We would like to also thank the following businesses for their volunteer contribution to making this a successful event:
Perry’s Deli for use of their parking lot for staging and collection of Scotch Broom and the use of their Restroom for the Volunteers
Justin Smith Construction – Various Hand Tools, Brush Saws, Chain Saws, Truck and Trailer
Slaight Heavy Haul for hauling Masticator
Helmer & Sons, Inc – Dennis Helmer for providing and Operating the Masticator
CryoAid for Easy Up, Table and Chairs for sign in area
We would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions:
Moke Simon, District 1 Supervisor and Josh Simon for Middletown Rancheria Maintenance Truck and Trailer
Lisa Kaplan for poster design
Team Captains: Ken Gonzales, Karen Jones, Tom Darms, Paul Baker and Jakob Diehl
Marlene Elder for Table and Chairs and manning the sign-in table
Andrea Rainey for Ice Chest Table and Chairs and manning the sign-in table
Tom and Susie Knowles for Water
Karen Jones, Middletown High School AG Department for volunteering and recruiting High School Student Volunteers for community service hours
Tom Darms for Truck and Flatbed Trailer
Aaron Bunch of the Middletown Rancheria for his Truck and Flatbed Trailer
Jim McElheran and Vanna Rowe for allowing staging across the creek and the Scotch Broom to be piled for destruction
Nance Simon for picking up lunches and distributing
All of the property owners from the little St. Helena Creek bridge across from Calpine Information Center to the Hwy 29 St. Helena Creek bridge who gave permission to be on their property that day
This event would not have been possible without each and every one of you!
Linda Diehl Darms, Middletown Area Town Hall, Coordinator Broom Removal
Cindy Leonard, Cobb Area Council, Mentor and Coordinator of lunch and Go-Bag preparedness distribution