Dry Creek Watershed Red Sesbania Control Program

Red Sesbania Overiew

Red sesbania (Sesbania punicea), also known as rattle box and scarlet wisteria, is a shrub native to South American that grows rapidly and produces beautiful red flowers.   This shrub was brought into our region as an ornamental for flower gardens but it escaped from the garden confines and began invading our riparian waterways.   The plant produces numerous pods full of seeds that float allowing for this plants successful distribution throughout our waterways.

The establishment and rapid proliferation of red sesbania dominates and displaces native riparian vegetation and mature plants limits shoreline access.  Not only is this plant toxic to animals but it affects flow patterns, which has the potential to increase bank erosion and may increases flood risks upstream.


Project Background

As part of a flood plain restoration project along Dry Creek SAFCA began the Lower Dry Creek Watershed Red Sesbania Control Project in 2004 with funds provided by a California Department of Water Resource Flood Protection Corridor Program grant. The Project area (view map) is defined as stream corridors within the Dry Creek Watershed, encompassing over 80 linear miles of shoreline, 40 linear miles of waterways within the Dry Creek Watershed and its tributaries (i.e. Antelope Creek, Linda Creek, Miner’s Ravine, Strap Ravine, Secret Ravine, and Cirby Creek in Placer County). The project terminates at the confluence of Dry Creek and Steelhead Creek (formerly known as Natomas East Main Drainage Canal).

The original objective of removing over 98% of all mature plants was achieved by the summer of 2006.  However, after this initial effort it became apparent that additional and on-going maintenance work was necessary to insure that the Dry Creek Watershed did not become re-infested with red sesbania. To continue this project financial contributions and support came from SAFCA, Placer Resource Conservation District, County of Sacramento, County of Placer, City of Sacramento, City of Roseville and the Water Forum, as well as some grants have allowed for the continuation of this project along Dry Creek.

Status & Reports

The ultimate goal of the project is to eradicate red sesbania from the Dry Creek Watershed by exhausting the remaining seed bank. At least two treatments of the entire waterway each year (during summer and fall) is necessary to control the thousands of seedlings that emerge through the summer months. It is not known how many years it will take to exhaust the seed bank from Dry Creek since it is unknown how long theses seeds remain viable.

Annual Reports - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011

Pictures & Presentations - 2004 - 2007 - 2008 Presentation - 2011 Presentation

Funding & Volunteering

Funding has been declining over the past several years and during 2012 there was only enough funds for one partial treatment of the watershed. The 2013 program will continue but again funds will be limited but there are volunteer programs in the area. To learn about volunteer opportunities in the Rio Linda area please visit the Sacramento Area Creeks Council website. If you have questions or are interested in helping to sponsor this program or would like to volunteer please contact: KC Sorgen.

Also, you can visit the Friends of Dry Creek Parkway Facebook Page to learn about upcoming volunteer events along Dry Creek in the Rio Linda area.