The other day, my wife and I took a nature walk on the Battle Creek Wildlife Area. We headed downstream from the County Line Bridge, along the Tehama County side of Battle Creek. The sky was overcast and the ground was still wet from the previous day’s rain. We had the entire 582-acre wildlife area to ourselves. It was so quiet; you could have heard a pine needle drop, except there are no pines along lower Battle Creek. The riparian zone is vegetated with willows, blackberry thickets, Ailanthus and one of the oldest and tallest remaining stands of old growth cottonwoods and sycamores in California. I really don’t like mentioning Ailanthus (Chinese tree of heaven). Unfortunately, this incredibly invasive exotic is crowding out many of the native plant species.