Poison Free on the Point!

On Wednesday August 9th, representatives from California State Parks and members of the community gathered at the Headlands on Point Dume to begin the first efforts in a new volunteer program to remove poisonous weeds from the area without the use of pesticides.

The area, highly sensitive and requiring supervision by CA State Parks scientists and an archaeologist, is known as “CA Land 454”, a Chumash settlement site where artifacts and cultural resources have been collected over the years and continue to be found to this day and also the reason why tools of any kind cannot be used to remove invasive plants, hence the previous use of pesticides. A site review was conducted by State Parks previous to beginning the volunteer program on August 9th.

The effort was made possible after a 13-year battle in the name of preservation of the environment and local wildlife, largely spearheaded by Kian and Joel Schulman of Poison Free Malibu and local activists and the initiative finally passed on July 10th, when Malibu City Council  voted unanimously to ban all poisons and pesticides within the city limits.

Community members joined in the efforts to remove poisonous weeds from the Headlands on Point Dume on Wednesday, August 9th. Photo: 90265 Magazine/Malibu Daily News

December 9th, 2019, shortly after a protest by local environmentalists and supporters, Malibu City Council voted unanimously to amend the Malibu LCP to prohibit the use of pesticides, including anticoagulant rodenticide and herbicides like Round-Up. Two years later the amendment was approved by the City and the Coastal Commission. Unfortunately, it took an additional two years for the city pass the initiative.

Above: Residents and activists protested at City Hall and local shopping areas in December of 2019, in an effort to ban the use of pesticides in the city limits.

 

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The proposed (and passed!) initiative reads as follows:“The Council considers the use of pesticides, including insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides or any other similar toxic chemical substances to be “development” as used in LIP Section 13.3 where the application of such substances would have the potential to significantly degrade Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHA) or coastal water quality or harm wildlife. Such development is also not considered to be “maintenance” under LIP Section 13.4.2 and therefore, a Coastal Development Permit is required prior to such use. This policy does not apply to the indoor use of such substances.”

Our sister publication, Malibu Daily News spoke to Council member Steve Uhring regarding the newly passed initiative. Uhring explained “Putting poison on the ground is now considered “development” requiring a coastal development permit. Anyone using poison without a Coastal Development Permit will be considered in defiance of the ordinance and will be summoned and cited.”
Uhring also explained the details of crafting the ordinance itself, the language and enforcement, will be discussed in a future meeting with City Manager Steve McClary. At press time there are no new details on the new initiative and city wide enforcement have been released.
The weeds that were the focus of the volunteer efforts was the invasive euphorbia, a potentially toxic plant that is still in the flowering process and needs to be removed before it goes to seed.
CA Parks Scientist demonstrates the removal process of the poisonous, invasive euphorbia.
State Parks Archaeologist showing volunteers artifacts that were previously discovered on the sites dating back to the 1940s.
With Kian and Joel Schulman at the Headlands on August 9th, 2023.
The new volunteer efforts will be scheduled monthly, typically  on a Wednesday with the next weeding session planned for September 13th.
If you would like to participate, please email the following State Parks personnel to be included:

 

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