Save The Dunes

Volunteers Gabe Leon and Brelyn Dhenin work removing evasive European beach grass and Scotch broom Saturday during a work party hosted by the Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative off the John Dellenback Dunes Trail near Lakeside.

NORTH BEND — The Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative (ODRC) hosted a work party Saturday where dozens of volunteers from around the state gathered at the John Dellenback Dunes to help remove invasive plants.

Jeff Malik, the ODRC outreach coordinator, said the work party is part of its group’s ongoing efforts to restore the Oregon Dunes and raise public awareness of its vanishing ecosystem.  

U.S. Forest Service restoration botanist Armand Rebischke and volunteers Carolina Negron, left, and Sienna Fitpatrick look over a patch of Bri…

“This is our first work party in Coos County since the year started,” said Malik. “We are working on doing more events here and possibly areas south of the Dellenback Trail in the next several months.”

Invasive plants including European beach grass and Scotch broom have overtaken much of the dunes in areas between Coos Bay and Florence. According to Malik, Saturday’s work party focused primarily on removing Scotch broom found on a stretch of land near the Dellenback trailhead.

“One of our goals is to preserve the best and this area is one of the best spots in the dunes,” said Malik. “We want it to remain a healthy area and we’re hopeful that by working on it now it will help prevent Scotch broom from taking over.”

Save the Riders Dunes’ President Leo Cox, who was among the many volunteers who attended Saturday’s work party, said over the years he’s seen firsthand certain areas in the dunes disappear as non-native plants have settled in.

“You can see the decline in sand in areas like the Bull Run Trail and Signal Tree,” said Cox. “Personally I have kids who grew up in the sand dunes and we have great memories out here. I want to see that continue for my grandkids and other families.”

A volunteer uproots Scotch broom Saturday during a work party hosted by the Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative off the John Dellenback Dun…

The nonprofit organization, Save the Riders Dunes, has been around since 2011, said Cox. With a primary focus on preserving the dunes, Cox said the group has worked with the U.S. Forest Service and ODRC on a number of restoration projects.

Members of the University of Oregon’s Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) were also in attendance as well as number of other community partners throughout the South Coast.

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.