CARLSBAD — City crews began applying herbicide on 120 trees in the Lake Calavera Preserve.
The ecological area, which is nestled on the border of Carlsbad and Oceanside, will have invasive plant species as the Mexican fan palm and Brazilian pepper trees removed through two projects, followed by habitat restoration with native trees and plants.
The plan, which received pushback from residents last month, will be a five-month long process.
The process of injecting herbicide into the trees began this week. Next month tree removal, bathroom site work and Lake Calavera dam vegetation removal will start.
In October, native plant restoration and restroom construction begins, while November includes the opening of the bathroom, temporary landscape irrigation and completed plant restoration with a 120-day establishment period.
The landscaping is expected to be finished in December, according to the city.
The restroom is a new, single-unit facility with drinking fountain and bike rack for visitors. According to the city, there will be temporary trail closures once work begins in September.
Removal of the trees and plants upset residents after they claimed the City Council did not offer sufficient notice, or a public hearing of the plan earlier this year.
The project was delayed to hold the public forum.
The situation began when the Carlsbad Municipal Water District obtained a permit from the state to remove native vegetation near the dam to allow for safety inspections.
The permit requires mitigation measures, which means the eradication of non-native vegetation in the preserve.
During the July meeting, residents questioned city staff and biologists about the application of the herbicide, how an estimated 120 trees will be removed, wildlife protections and other factors. The herbicide is the controversial Roundup Custom, which contains glyphosate as the active ingredient.
The trees will be injected with herbicide and cut down with chainsaws. However, numerous trees will not be pulled out of the preserve after being cut down as doing so would cause too much damage to the landscape, according to Biologist Mike Trotta of LSA Associates.
All trees, though, will be cut into sections to be either removed or spread throughout the preserve.
Those efforts will begin in September after bird nesting season, and will run from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. After the removal, native species such as western sycamore, western cottonwood, coast live oak, California blackberry, red willow and Mexican elderberry will be planted.