• El Rio Reyes

Landowners' request answered

Fresno County Controls Invasive Yellow Star Thistle in Kings River Greenbelt Park

The Kings River Greenbelt Park is located on Piedra Road near Frankwood Avenue.  It

Picture of the Greenbelt Park from 2017 showing the density of the yellow star thistle.

features both the Kings River main channel and the Byrd Slough.  These waterways support native riparian habitat and wildlife.  The park is used for fishing, hiking, equestrian trail rides and livestock grazing.  There are rare native plants as well as Indian granite mortar rocks present.  The park has recreational, environmental, agricultural and archeological resources.  The Fresno County Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for sustainable management of the Kings River Greenbelt Park.

For the past 25 years a noxious weed, Yellow Star Thistle, has become a serious threat to equine that graze in the county park and on neighboring ranches, in addition to restricting use by hikers and fishermen.  The invasive weed is known to be one of the most problematic introduced plants in the state of California.  Although it is often controlled by ranchers, Yellow

Star Thistle spreads along roadways and in poorly-managed rangeland properties.  Proper grazing of cattle can be beneficial, but once heavily established even cattle avoid the sharp, spiny seed heads that form a thicket where grasses would otherwise grow.

Thanks to the leadership of Fresno County District 5 supervisor, Nathan Magsig, the Kings River Greenbelt Park has been dramatically improved this year.   Fresno County has greatly reduced the density of Yellow Star Thistle through the combined use of grazing, mowing and weed-specific herbicide. In only one season at least ten acres have been treated.  Although for permanent eradication of the noxious weed, this treatment will need to be repeated each spring for at least five years as the residual seed crop remains viable for at least that long.   The work is well-worth the investment.

Both the Fresno County Parks and Recreation Department and the Ag Commissioner’s Office contributed to the implementation of this beneficial work.  Responding to the request of neighboring landowners Mr. Magsig listened and acted to resolve a problem.  Fresno County benefitted culturally and environmentally.  

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