Caltrans has been in discussions with the Willits Bypass Mitigation contractor this past week over the plan to control non-native invasive Himalaya blackberry. It had been anticipated our contractor would include the herbicide option in order to ensure meeting mitigation timeline and performance goals for site preparation and establishing native wetland plants, but instead they recently submitted a plan to attempt to use mechanical/manual methods. As a result, the herbicide meeting scheduled in Willits on August 13 has been cancelled.
Mechanically removing the blackberry will require some areas to be excavated, which will result in soil disturbance. In these areas, Caltrans will follow established protocols while working with tribal monitors and ensuring our archeologists are on hand to spot and catalog any artifacts that might be uncovered.
While herbicides will not be used at this time, the progress of the blackberry removal will be reevaluated at a later date and the use of herbicides may be revisited.