Save Trees! Become a Detection Detective!

The Coast Live Oaks in Topanga State Park were hit hard by the long drought that also made them susceptible to beetle infestations.

Concerned about the dead and dying trees throughout the Santa Monica Mountains?

While some have succumbed to the seven-year drought, others are further impacted by infestation of several beetles and the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains (RCDSMM) needs lots of eyes on the ground to help identify the extent of the problem.

You can help when you are hiking the trails, driving the mountain roads, pruning your trees, noticing the landscaping near your work, or even in shopping parking lots, basically any time you are paying attention to the trees in your daily environment.

Help us discover and document the full extent of infestation of the Invasive Shot Hole Borer Beetles (ISHB).

Join the RCDSMM Team at Sepulveda Basin on Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m.–Noon, for training as a Detection Detectives.

During this training session, you will learn how to identify different tree species, how the infestation manifests itself (which varies by tree species), learn about the natural history of these invaders, and how to identify other insects that are not of concern. These wood-boring beetles attack dozens of tree species here in California. They carry a fungal disease, which causes the trees to experience branch dieback, canopy loss and, in some cases, tree mortality.

We will use iNaturalist, an app you can add to your cell phone to document affected trees. Please have the iNaturalist app already loaded on your phone and begin following the projects, “PSHB of the Santa Monica Mountains,” and “Bad Beetles of the Santa Monica Mountains.”

Wear comfortable walking shoes and hats as we’ll be doing a short hike around the refuge to document tree conditions. This is a great opportunity to visit the wildlife refuge, so bring binoculars, and plan on some extra time to enjoy the birds, and maybe even hike over to see the Sepulveda Dam.

The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve is located at 6100 Woodley Avenue, off Burbank Blvd. We will meet at the amphitheater near the bathrooms at 10 a.m. and disperse from there to examine the trees. Parking is free.


Please RSVP to Allison:

Directions:  Driving on Woodley Ave. north from Burbank or south from Victory Blvd., go ½ mile and turn east at the sign for the Japanese Garden. Continue straight (don’t turn into the garden) and drive past the Cricket Fields and around the tree in the middle of the road, on to the parking lot at the end of the road.  


By Alison DellaBella


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